We have no choice but to create sustainable travel solutions. The ultimate product that the tourism industry promotes is the earth. Therefore, new, creative ways must be found to inspire travel in a responsible way. This was clarified by Sharry Sun, Global Head of Brand of Travelzoo® (NASDAQ: TZOO), a global publisher of exclusive offers and experiences for members, at the Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism (PHIST) Forum 2019. Organized by the Phuket Hotels Association, C9 Hotelworks and Greenview, PHIST is Asia’s largest sustainability forum for the tourism industry.
During a panel session, in which Sharry was interviewed by Skift’s Asia Editor Raini Hamdi, an award-winning journalist with an in-depth understanding of the tourism industry, Ms. Sun said: “Maybe in some industries, choosing between sustainability and growth is a tough decision, but this is absolutely not true for the tourism industry. The tourism industry will only exist and prosper if we can achieve sustainable growth without harming the planet. Without a beautiful, dynamic and clean earth, what experiences will be out there for us to promote to consumers?”
While some consumers and industry peers believe that green travel offers must come at higher prices, Sharry explained that the opposite is frequently true. “Travelzoo negotiates and publishes special offers with hotels, airlines and local businesses that allow our members to enjoy quality travel at unbeatable prices—by exploring popular places during less busy seasons or visiting new and exotic destinations or local attractions. Not only do offers like this allow members to make significant savings, they also contribute to the local economy at a time when destinations would otherwise see fewer visitors. This way, unequal demand throughout the year for popular destinations can be smoothed out.”
During the interview, Raini also asked about the general perception that Asian consumers are less concerned about sustainability or environmental protection.
“I believe that in every country there are consumers who are more environmentally aware and passionate about green travel,” replied Sharry. “Travelzoo is very lucky to have more than three million high-quality members in Asia who are well-educated, frequent travelers that recognize the importance of sustainable tourism. It takes time to raise public awareness, of course, but we are confident that our open-minded Travelzoo members will be the advocate group to support exploring our planet in a way that is both sustainable and life-enhancing.”
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