Skift Take

This is good news for America's travel businesses that their largest industry body will lead on sustainability and push for the right policies to be in place to green the future of U.S. travel.

The travel industry must be at the forefront of the push for sustainability and the U.S. Travel Association said on Thursday that it plans to lead that effort through five key priorities moving forward, and the organization will also be forming a new working group focused on sustainable travel to encourage members to have a voice in the future of greening the industry.

That was the gist of the message from the U.S. travel group’s first series of conversations this season on the future of travel mobility, which aim to galvanize action on sustainability in the U.S. travel space.

It’s an encouraging move for a group that has had considerable influence in leading on governmental policies since the pandemic as far as demonstrating the critical role that the industry plays in the U.S. economy.

The five priorities for sustainability that U.S. Travel has adopted were identified after receiving feedback in a member survey:

  1. Spotlighting industry progress, and telling stories on the ongoing actions travel is taking, including innovations
  2. Amplifying industry goals and leadership, to reinforce that travel has to lead in this
  3. Highlighting why sustainability matters through events and research 
  4. Identifying the right policies to drive this change
  5. Defending against harmful policies that slow progress towards sustainability

“The travel industry is committed to supporting our national and global climate goals and becoming a recognized leader on sustainability practices and innovations and initiatives,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and policy at U.S. Travel. “Our collective commitment and industry leadership will ensure that travel’s future is even more vibrant, prosperous and sustainable.” 

From a policy standpoint, the first focus will revolve around transportation — ensuring the travel industry has a voice in the planned expansion of EV infrastructure and the development of sustainable aviation fuels.

“Last month, the Biden administration announced the first chunk of funding $615 million in 2022, which will be distributed to states by formula and a total of $5 billion will be distributed over the next five years,” said Erik Hansen, vice president of government relations at U.S. Travel. “So we’re urging any state tourism office destination marketing organization or others on the call to reach out to their state Department of Transportation and to work with them on planning for where these electric vehicle charging investments will be located.”

A new Sustainability Working Group will also be announced in the coming weeks, Barnes said, which will consist of a cross-section of U.S. Travel’s membership.

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Tags: climate change, dmos, sustainability, US Travel Association

Photo credit: America's leading travel group announces its big push for sustainability ahead Frank McKenna / Unsplash

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