This session explored the role of sustainable transport in sustainable tourism growth. Today, there are over one billion international tourist arrivals worldwide per year, forecast to rise to 1.5 billion per year by 2020. Growth will come especially from developing economies with the increase in disposable incomes of their populations. Transport is an essential component of tourism by definition, providing connections between regions, domestically and internationally, and connecting attractions, accommodation and commercial services at destinations. Tourism is a key element in promoting national and regional economies but it can put pressure on existing transport services and infrastructure. Cities and regions are faced with absorbing seasonal tourist flows while delivering adequate transport network performance.
The location, capacity, efficiency and connectivity of transport can therefore play a significant role in how a destination develops. At the same time the growing number of travellers creates numerous challenges in terms of transport infrastructure and capacity, border crossing, intermodality, information for travellers and inter-operability of technologies with tourism service providers.
This growth will require close coordination between the different sectors involved in the tourism activities. Making public transport easier to use by tourists and encouraging them to walk or cycle more frequently can help to mitigate negative environmental impacts and manage seasonal peaks. However, the environmental impact of long distance transport remains a significant challenge.
The nature of tourism has been evolving lately, moving from simply recreation to “self-fulfilment”. This has an impact on the type of destinations sought and the activities engaged in, often involving more travel. Transport systems and services themselves can be at the heart of tourist activities. This includes sustainable tourism based around walking and cycling. In this context, Switzerland and Germany have become international references for promoting cycling and hiking. This rediscovered form of tourism is growing significantly and shifting tourism from traditional urban locations to natural sites. The promotion of this new form of tourism requires close collaboration between local and regional authorities to provide infrastructure, services and information. Ensuring good linkage (information and physical connections) with traditional transport services for intercity travel is fundamental to encouraging a sustainable and also a pleasant experience.
Travel management companies, especially in the business sector, are trying to bring forward the concept of smart travel in order to reconcile sustainability and customer satisfaction. This concept includes, for example, trip avoidance through the promotion of video-conferencing solutions or reducing the stress of travelling when not strictly required. It also includes awareness and information provision of sustainable transport solutions in both ends for business travellers.
44% of hikers in Switzerland use public transport to get to their walks (Lukas Stadtherr)
The Swiss are the world champions of federalism but communities do cooperate to co-finance green infrastructure (Lukas Stadtherr) the Germans are the vice-champions of federalism but municipalities are left to finance cycle ways etc. alone, which is not sustainable (Raimund Jennert)
5 million Germans took cycling holidays last year (Raimund Jennert)
There is no alternative to being sustainable (Dirk Glaesser)
And its not just about your carbon footprint
Local engagement in sustainable jobs and safe and environmentally sustainable transport is the key to resilient tourism (Dirk Glaesser)
Transport and tourism are Siamese twins (World Bank representative)
The biggest threat to tourists is death or injury as a result of a road crash (Andrew McKellar FIA)
In looking after road safety for toursits “Kiwis” do things pretty well (Andrew McKellar)
Don’t “educate” tourists to be environmentally responsible, make concrete green business options to be green (Lukas Stadtherr)
Walking is central to all tourism experience (Andrew McKellar)