UAE: Demand for sustainable travel growing post pandemic, experts say


Abu Dhabi - Travellers are seeking privacy and isolated places as demand for eco-tourism picks up.


Ashwani Kumar

Published: Tue 26 Oct 2021, 5:44 PM

There has been an increased demand for sustainable travel as activities return amid the pandemic, experts said during an event held in Abu Dhabi.

Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, executive director of tourism and marketing, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, noted that people are seeking privacy and isolated places and demand for eco-tourism is picking up.

“People are looking at staying in a more sustainable environments. We are also looking to adapt to these new trends by introducing new products,” Al Shaiba said during the Abu Dhabi Business Events Week.

Julien Munoz, senior vice-president, sales, EMEA, Radisson Hotel Group, noted healthy growth in business as travellers are eager to get out of their homes. “There is an increasing, fast-tracking trend for sustainable stay,” Munoz said and added the group has taken several conservation measures in this regard.

Travellers and clients, he said, are showing great interest in sustainability and carbon footprints.

Terence Daly, executive director guest experience, brand and marketing, Etihad, said that the airline is serious about sustainable air travel and it operated an eco-friendly service this month.

“We aim to improve the performance of aviation overall. With this particular flight, compared to a flight in 2019, we were able to generate 70 per cent less carbon emissions,” he said and noted it as a “major step” forward.

“We have big ambitions in this area. These are not just words but we truly believe that we can make a sizeable difference,” Daly said while speaking on the topic: ‘Future of Travel and Tourism’.

Gerald Lawless, ambassador, World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), added that global carbon emissions from commercial aviation is only 2.7 per cent. “It’s not as bad as people say.”

Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), hoped the Abu Dhabi Business Events Week will serve as a platform to brainstorm new ideas. “Now it is the time to embrace new ideas of doing business,” he said in a video message.

Anita Mendiratta, adviser to secretary general, UNWTO, stressed that sustainability is not just single-dimensional focus on environment preservation but includes “economic, social, cultural and spiritual” sustainability.

Mendiratta added that the world had 18 months to “find solutions” and now it was time for action.

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