Anne Majumdar

With sustainable tourism fast climbing the travel and tourism agenda, we’re discussing the topic with travel industry leaders and change makers and asking them how they think we can #Traveltochangetheworld.

In our latest ‘Travel to change the world’ interview, Gloria Guevara Manzo, president of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), shares her thoughts and ideas on how we can all do our bit to sustain the industry and leave a legacy of goodness.

 

What was it that inspired you to join the travel industry?

Gloria Guevara Manzo WTTC summit KarryOn

Since I was very little, I travelled. My family loves travelling, and I learnt that from my home.

As it is my passion, I know the industry quite well.

My degree is in Computer Science and I love to apply technology for the benefit of the traveller.

 

What concerns you about the industry today in terms of its long-term viability?

Biometrics eye retina Pixabay KarryOn

Biometrics are seen as an important tool to increase security

The only concern that I have is how we will keep up with the growth.

For sure this industry will keep growing, so we just need to make sure that we take the necessary actions right now to manage that it growth in a sustainable way, as well as spreading the benefits.

The more we spread the benefits and the more people see the value, the better. We need to engage in that conversation to make sure that happens and facilitate the tools.

For instance, the use of biometrics to increase security, to rise the travel arrivals numbers and to create more jobs. My concern is just how we manage the growth and maximise the opportunities that benefits more people.

 

Do you think travel can change the world?

Image credit: Planeterra.org

Image credit: Planeterra.org

Absolutely, in many ways.

Travel can provide opportunities, reduce poverty, bring lots of social and economic benefits.

Furthermore, travel provides empathy. And when you have empathy, you have a better understanding for each other and we have more peace.

Travel has multiple benefits not only on the social and economic aspect, but also for the communities. Many times, the communities don’t have a lot of opportunities and travel provides that single one opportunity for them to grow.

 

Are you seeing positive change happening in the industry that you really admire? 

The Goðafoss waterfall in Iceland. A tourism boom in Iceland helped economic growth and unemployment reduction

The Goðafoss waterfall in Iceland.
A tourism boom in Iceland helped economic growth and unemployment reduction

Yes, there are many examples.

Thanks to tourism, many countries have been able to recover from economic crisis, many cities have been able to use travel as the only opportunity to bring prosperity to their citizens and many citizens have been able to reduce poverty because of the opportunities that travel have provided.

We have many examples in small destinations, rural areas, small locations, all the way to big cities where travel is the most important activity that provide the benefits to their families.

 

What projects is the WTTC undertaking in this space?

Venice has famously struggled in recent years as a result of overtourism

Venice has famously struggled in recent years as a result of overtourism

WTTC is the organisation that represents the Travel & Tourism private sector globally. We have three priorities.

One is security and travel facilitation. We are going to be working with important organisations such as IATA, WEF, WTO, CLIA, ICAO and PATA to make sure that we can move forward and use biometrics to increase security, provide a better experience to the travellers and create more jobs.

At the same time, we will continue to work with visa facilitation and crisis management. We need to be proactive and engaged in the preparation. The private sector must be involved in the preparedness point of view, not only in the recovery and crisis management. Managing crisis overall is a top priority.

The third one is sustainable growth, and that has to do with overcrowding, sustainability and our agenda to make sure that there are more quality jobs for the people and opportunities within our sector.

 

What do you think is the biggest challenge the industry faces in terms of the issue of ’sustaining’ itself?

Question-Mark-Sky-Shutterstock

The biggest challenge is long-term growth, how we manage that sustainable growth, so we can protect the natural resources, have a sustainable agenda, and then maximise the opportunities without impacting the destinations.

 

Do you think travel can change the world? Share your comments below!