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Published on Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Responsible travel is key to driving travel industry recovery in a post lockdown world reveals FINN Partners webinar

Key findings:

  • Governments and trade bodies need to start to measure tourism post crisis in terms other than purely economic and consider environmental and social impacts
  • Travel brands will need to be more transparent; data will be key to consumer confidence in travel
  • Amidst the trauma of coronavirus, there are green shoots and 'green swans' innovating their way out of the crisis
  • 'Sustainable tourism' needs to be simply, 'tourism' done well, carbon offsetting is a 'band aid', not the solution

A recent FINN Partners webinar on Responsible Travel featuring Jane Madden, Managing Partner, Global Sustainability and Social Impact, and Fiona Jeffery OBE, Senior Partner, Finn Partners Global Responsibility Tourism Practice, and Founder and Chairman of Just A Drop, was hosted on Wednesday 29 April 2020 and is now available to view online. The first in a series of planned webinars from FINN, it discussed the importance of responsible tourism in a post-lockdown world and how travel brands and destinations that embrace sustainable practices as part of their recovery process will reap the rewards in years to come.


With many sources identifying that post-lockdown travellers will be more thoughtful with their travel spend and will travel with purpose and sensitivity towards the health of people and planet, it was within this context that Madden and Jeffery provided long-term strategic insights and practical tips for travel companies and DMOs keen to develop sustainable offerings for these conscientious travellers of the future.


Amy Skelding, Senior Partner, Finn Partners Travel Practice UK, fielded questions from the 150 live participants ranging from how brands should promote their sustainable aims and what initial steps can be taken on the responsible tourism journey. 


The panellists discussed the need for destinations to move away from acting as marketing organisations and focus on being responsible management companies with an environmental and social emphasis which will in turn, reap economic benefits.


Madden and Jeffery also identified traveller trends including how people will take fewer, but longer trips and will have a desire for more experiential travel that is seen to benefit local communities directly. They will also be looking for greater transparency from travel brands and as a result, robust data on their sustainable measures, as a key driver of consumer confidence.


Health and safety will also be embedded into travellers' decisions and the panellists stressed the importance of destinations working closely with the health ministries, banks, investors, insurance companies and the private sector to achieve this moving forward in a well-coordinated, informed and transparent way. Carbon offsetting also needs to be looked at more closely by all travel brands to ensure their schemes are ethically driven.


There was an optimistic outlook from both panellists who highlighted brands and destinations that were already leading the way as well as so called 'green swans', the innovators who are devising and creating positive developments such as airline uniforms that also act as PPE, and utilising mobile technology to manage tourism flows.


Jane Madden, Managing Partner of Global Sustainability and Social Impact, Finn Partners, commented, "The traveller of the future will be much more mindful and for the tourism sector to recover and thrive post-lockdown, it's important, now more than ever, that brands and destinations prioritise responsible travel as the cornerstone of all recovery plans. In the midst of Covid-19, we can't lose sight of the Paris Agreement, out of this tragedy will come green shoots that the travel industry must act on."


Fiona Jeffery OBE, Senior Partner, Finn Partners Global Responsible Tourism Practice, Founder and Chairman of Just A Drop said: "In recent years the travel industry has been impacted by environmental disasters including Day Zero in Cape Town and the bushfires in Australia, which has awakened our business and personal consciousness. The industry has arguably been running out of control and we are now at our own ground zero. This is a unique moment in time to take a pause, right the wrongs, and move away from viewing responsible travel as a 'nice to do'. There should be no such thing as 'sustainable tourism', simply 'tourism' where acting ethically and responsibly sits in the DNA of every travel brand."


Amy Skelding, Senior Partner, Finn Partners Travel Practice UK commented: "As Brighter Group we were the first UK agency to set up a responsible tourism division and upon joining Finn Partners in 2018, we established a global responsible tourism division. Our hope for this webinar is that it will inform travel leaders about the vast possibilities and rewards that exist by engaging with a more sustainable approach to tourism.  In this strange time, where much of the world has stopped travelling we have the opportunity to take stock of the situation and set ourselves on a new, more responsibly sound path that will benefit both people and planet - both Jane and Fiona have so many tangible and practical ways brands can make great strides in responsible tourism and I urge anyone who wasn't able to dial in live, to listen to it online."


The Finn Partners Responsible Travel webinar can be viewed here:

For more information on Finn Partners' Responsible Tourism Practice or to sign up to our global travel newsletter, please contact: [email protected]


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About FINN Partners, Inc.  

Founded in 2011 on the core principles of innovation and collaborative partnership, FINN Partners has more than quadrupled in size in eight years, becoming one of the fastest growing independent public relations agencies in the world. The full-service marketing and communications company's record setting pace is a result of organic growth and integrating new companies and new people into the FINN world through a common philosophy. With almost 800 professionals, FINN provides clients with global access and capabilities in the U.S., Europe and Asia. In addition, FINN provides its clients with access to top tier agencies around the world through its membership in the global network PROI. Headquartered in New York, FINN's other offices are located in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Hong Kong, Fort Lauderdale, Frankfurt, Jerusalem, London, Los Angeles, Munich, Nashville, Paris, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Shanghai, Singapore and Washington D.C. Find us at and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @finnpartners.


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