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Responsible tourism key to luxury travel future.
Friday, 14th December 2007
Source : International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM)
Over 3000 luxury travel industry leaders convened at the sixth International Luxury Travel Market, which took place in Cannes early this month.

An unprecedented 750 delegates attended Monday's opening Conference on climate change, which highlighted the need for the luxury travel industry to embrace the challenge of responsible tourism in order to survive and progress.

Brad Monaghan, Marketing Manager at ILTM said, "The issues of climate change and the impact of global warming are pertinent to the travel industry and there was passionate feedback from delegates last year for it to be addressed. That's one of the main reasons we made it the key focus of the opening Conference for 2007. As a leader in the luxury travel market, ILTM offers the perfect platform from which to facilitate debate on the topic."

With the size of the travel industry set to double in the next 15 years, keynote speaker Costas Christ, founder of The International Ecotourism Society, highlighted that the issue of climate change is only going to get bigger and luxury travel companies must acknowledge this. "We're on the frontier of something new - responsible tourism is not a possibility but a reality and is a sound business approach," he commented.

Sponsored by Departures magazine, the Conference illustrated that a growing number of luxury travel companies are making progress in the realms of responsible tourism, be it through carbon offsetting policies or other environmental projects.

However, it was evident that there is still scepticism surrounding the issue and many companies are yet to implement their own policies. The 60% increase in Conference delegate numbers on last year indicated that the industry is conscientious and eager to address the challenge.

New research by ILTM was also revealed, indicating that the luxury travel industry as a whole is booming, with huge growth in developing markets such as India, Russia and China. The global luxury travel industry now comprises an estimated 25 million annual arrivals accounting for 25% of international tourism spend.

ILTM 2007 welcomed over 3,500 attendees from an increased 110 countries worldwide, who partook in 47,000 pre-matched appointments. Newcomers at the event included The Valencia Tourism Convention Bureau, Slovenian Tourist Board and the Luxury Train Club, plus a number of new exhibitors from Japan.

Hiroki Fukunaga, president of luxury Japanese company The Ryokan Collection, felt that their first year at ILTM has been a huge success. "There is a lack of awareness of Japan as a luxury destination and so this was a great opportunity to highlight and profile the range of top end product we have to offer. It is time to open the door for us and raise awareness of Japan as a tourism destination for discerning travellers."

As well as working hard, over 1,500 ILTM delegates enjoyed free flowing saki and champagne, delicious sushi and authentic Japanese entertainment at the welcome party on Tuesday night, supported by the Japan Luxury Consortium. The show continues until Thursday 6 December.

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