Corporate travel managers in Asia can move the needle faster towards sustainable tourism goals – only if they opt for eco-friendly itineraries, opined Tom Kershaw, chief product & technology officer at Travelport.
Explaining his belief, Kershaw said travel makes up eight per cent of global emissions, while 80 per cent of travel emissions are attributed to air travel. Due to the vastness and geographical diversity of Asia, air travel is usually the most viable option for residents to traverse the region.
“Ultimately, the impact that Asia is going to have (on sustainable achievements) is going to be more important than the rest of the world combined because of the practicality of air travel in this region,” he told TTGmice.
Kershaw, who led a session at ITB Asia 2022 on how travel technology can contribute to a smarter and greener global tourism industry, also noted that Asia is home to conglomerates and large firms with global footprints. These companies have to be mindful of their global environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings, or risk not being allowed to sell their products to US and Europe due to poor ESG scores.
Apart from meeting corporate commitments and obligations to the environment, Kershaw believes that companies can reap economies of scale while cutting their carbon footprint.
To help travel managers make greener travel procurement decisions, search functions can be improved to prioritise sustainable options, he suggested.
Another way is to incentivise business travellers to go green, by providing them with proper documentation of their responsible travel outcomes which they can then use to report to their management and obtain tax credits where possible.
Kershaw opined that the environmental awareness of travel in Asia and the US is currently lower than in Europe.
There is also a lack of standardised measurement of sustainable options, which can lead to confusion and frustration.