Published on Tuesday, October 8, 2019
The travel industry was given a stark warning at this week's ABTA Convention: we need to fly less.
Tim Williamson, customer director for Responsible Travel, said the only way to tackle climate change is to reduce the growth of the aviation industry.
"There's no way around it. I can't sugar coat this in any way that makes it more palatable," he said.
"We need to fly less and we need to encourage our customers to fly less. If you're going to stop the planet heating above 2 degrees, I can't see how you can do that without stopping flying."
He said the travel industry should 'get on the front foot' because regulation is coming.
"We're in denial that offsets are the answer but they're not," he said.
"The longer we put it off the more trouble we are going to be in. Legislation will come and you might not like it."
He said consumers might also be the ones driving the changes, through a rising feeling of 'flight shame'.
"Customers might get there ahead of us. In fact, a survey by UBS Bank found 16% of Brits have already changed their flying habits because of environmental concerns."
He said the industry should encourage a move back to the traditional annual two-week holiday, reducing the number of flights taken each year.
Customers should also be encouraged to travel to places where tourism is welcomed and crucial to the local communities.