Below are my thoughts on Katherine Ervasti’s questions about the environment and the travel industry.
Why do you believe changes in the environment will influence the international Travel Industry?
I think the industry is already being impacted. Many companies are choosing more environmentally friendly materials and processes, which in some cases costs more money. If you look at it from purely a bottom line perspective, why would a company buy more expensive light bulbs if they didn’t have to? There is certainly pressure from the media, society, guests and employees to make these changes, which means it is no longer just a “bottom line” issue. Now it is a question of, “what’s the right thing to do?” With this mindset, we will see more and more companies taking steps to ensure that they are meeting the needs of their employees and guests, as well as the planet. With the increased costs, companies will have to weigh the pros and cons of “going green” and the financial impact of those actions. Like any other business decision, the question after “what’s the right things to do?” is “does this make sense?”. If you can’t pay the power bill, it doesn’t matter what kind of light bulbs you have.
How do you think the industry should adapt?
I think we all (tourism industry included) should find what makes sense for us. At a theme park, does it make sense to collect plastic bottles separately from other trash? We can all probably agree in theory that it’s the right thing to do. But what about needing separate containers and the cost and time of two collections? How much is disposal and what if regular trash gets into the recycle containers and visa versa. Is it worth paying someone to separate it? Thinking about all that now we can ask ourselves, does this make sense? In general, I would say that the industry adapts the way the people within the industry adapt. This means it starts small. Think of your particular work area. Do you use a Styrofoam cup when you could use a mug? Do you print on both sides of the paper? It’s small habits like this that get us to think more globally.