Making a positive impact on travel: challenges and opportunities

Brigitte Loehl

Marketing Director, travel audience & Amadeus for Destinations

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The travel sector today employs 1 in 10 people and accounts for 10.4% of the global GDP. As travel and tourism continue to grow, with greater numbers of people on the move, companies, governments, and citizens are having to consider what new economic, environmental, and societal challenges this growth brings.

With this in mind, Amadeus, in conjunction with Palladium, has undertaken a research initiative to examine some of the most challenging areas the travel industry is facing. This report identifies potential areas of collaboration, reaffirms the value of an ongoing dialogue between stakeholders and outlines the opportunities technology can bring with the aim of making a positive impact through travel.

Four key areas are explored in this paper:

Managing overcrowded destinations

While destinations want to seize the international opportunity to grow traveler demand, it’s important for them to do so without exceeding their capacity and overwhelming local infrastructure and resources. The capacity challenge is tough and has interconnected issues such as rising pressure on local resources, lower visitor satisfaction and conflicting priorities for public institutions between economic growth and social cohesion. 

With overcrowding having a detrimental impact on the world’s most popular destinations, our study draws from the knowledge of the experts interviewed for this paper to look at examples of best practices in this arena. Additionally, at Amadeus we work with local governments and other travel companies to help optimize travel inflows. With our digital advertising capabilities, we can help destinations to specifically promote places off the beaten track.


Engaging and creating opportunities for local communities

The increasing demand for authentic and independent local experiences and attractions brings opportunities for sustainable economic and social development. However, small hotels, restaurants, and tour operators can be overlooked because they lack the technological skills to connect with travelers. Working to close those skills gaps is one powerful way to drive lasting participation.


Embracing diversity

According to the World Bank, with over 1.5 billion people traveling internationally, there is a wider variety of tourists exploring the globe. Responding to diverse cultural context, making the most of the accessibility market, and meeting traveler needs are the main challenges. More inclusive travel experiences are required, together with more personalization, to meet this demand. 

This research has identified several trends that could help the sector to embrace diversity in travel, notably the enabling role of digital technology. For example, digital technology can help reach, inform, and inspire travelers while providing customized recommendations and seamless end-to-end experience.


Putting the environment at the heart of travel

One of the main issues the industry faces is to minimize and manage the environmental impact of travel growth around the world, with tourism currentlyaccounting forabout 5% of global CO2 emissions and 4.6% of global warming. 

The move to bring environmental considerations into the heart of travel creates complex challenges, such as improving energy efficiency, preserving local culture and communities and looking after natural resources and habitats.

What are the economic benefits of being environmentally friendly? How can new technologies help reduce the environmental impact of travel?

To find out more, download the report here.