Overtourism is a growing problem, so it's heartening to see Booking.com taking on the problem of sustainability in an innovative way. That said, it's still too early to tell if this is a genuine commitment to sustainability, or just a "feel-good" move to create PR headlines.
Despite recent signs for pessimism, the world is still in the midst of a global tourism boom. The World Travel Tourism Council predicted a growth rate of 3.1% for 2016, and as Skift has highlighted, destinations like Iceland, Spain, and Italy are increasingly overrun with more visitors than they can handle.
How should destination organizations manage this insatiable urge to travel while still preserving the environment and addressing the needs of local residents?
One sign of a shift in sustainable tourism strategy is a new startup accelerator program by Booking.com. The tech-savvy OTA plans to use its digital expertise and funding power to bankroll new approaches to local tourism development, partnering with sustainable-minded startups and local NGOs. It’s just one sign of growing focus on innovation, funding and interest in solving this increasingly pressing question for the travel industry. In fact, the very future of the industry depends on it.
Booking.com Announces New Accelerator Focused on Sustainable Tourism
Booking.com just announced plans to help mentor and fund travel startups focused on projects related to tourism development and sustainability. The approach seems like a win-win strategy, allowing Booking.com cultivate new markets to sell hotel rooms while simultaneously earning the company PR for promoting responsible tourism development. Read more
Luxury Travel Companies Give Live-Streaming a Try in China
China is experiencing a surge in the use of live-streaming technology, with more than 24 million daily active users of these personal broadcasting tools. That surge is encouraging more travel brands to give the format a try, with players like Hilton experimenting with live-streaming campaigns to court Chinese travelers. Read more
Marriott Relaunches Mobile App with More Personalization Features
“Personalization” is the hotel industry’s newest buzzword, as more organizations seek to use mobile technology to better understand consumers and customize product offerings to meet their needs. Marriott is the newest hospitality brand to focus on personalization, launching a new series of customized travel content guides and guest features for users. Read more
JetBlue’s Head of Branding and Advertising Talks about “Trusting Your Gut”
Elizabeth Windram may have started her career in finance, but she seems to have found her stride running branding and ad campaigns for New York-based carrier JetBlue. This podcast interview with the executive offers insights into how to “trust your gut,” building internal consensus and making tough marketing decisions. Read more
Etihad Tweaks Loyalty Program to Cater to the Fashion Industry
Gulf-based carrier Etihad Airways is increasing its efforts to cater to globe-trotting fashion industry executives. The company recently announced a series of fashion-focused loyalty program upgrades including access to fashion shows and events, upgraded lounge access and checked baggage perks and partnerships with fashion companies like Jimmy Choo. Read more
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Photo Credit: More travel brands and tourism organizations are rethinking their approach to sustainable tourism. Kyle MacKenzie / Flickr
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