The travel industry faces huge change as demands to tackle the effects of climate change and environmental impact grow. Susan Hooper, who has headed several travel companies and now sits on the board of others, says the speed of change in how people are thinking of the environment is a key factor. “There’s no two ways about it, travel is going to receive a lot of that change,” she says. “Luckily it’s an incredibly resilient industry used to change coming all the time, be it 9/11 or a volcano, strikes or recession, or even the falling value of currency. This is an industry that knows how to deal with change. But this change needs to happen even quicker than what we are seeing now happen. And all of us in it have to sort it together. The pressure on reducing the carbon footprint is so great that everyone who has got a considerable one has to look at every opportunity to reduce it.”

People also need to change their travel habits and the way they travel to help make a difference, by choosing the greenest airlines or reconsidering if they really need to make a trip, she believes. Experimentation into biofuels, alternative fuels and hybrids is under way and even using electric aircraft “has to happen”. Some destinations might become off-limits because of the effects on their environments. “Most people who travel really care about the environment, because it’s what you go to see,” Hooper continues. “They don’t want it to be polluted. They don’t want to leave that for their kids. I am from a generation that benefited from a lifestyle that is no longer tenable and I feel guilty. My kids are going to have to pick up the pieces of my wonderful lifestyle. Basically, what has been normal has to become the exception and what was the exception now has to be normal.”

Article appeared in Brand USA Travel Today, October 2019