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Press Information 12th November 2003

NEW TRAVELWATCH CONSULTANCY SETS ENVIRONMENTAL AGENDA:
"Future Tourism" not "Green Tax" is best for the environment and for travellers

Travel is now the largest industry in the world and still growing, with resorts, hotels, airports, cruise ships, coaches and rental cars all jostling for space and resources, often in the world's most beautiful locations.

Issues such as environmental impact, natural resource utilization and waste management are now such hot topics they have put the industry on the radar of the "demand management" lobby, wanting to impose "green taxation" on travel, as happened some time ago on petrol. Plans to increase APD next year, and to impose "green taxation" on aviation fuel, are just two examples. If the same level of "green tax" (80%) was imposed on the travel and tourism as on the gallon of fuel you put in your car's petrol tank, British consumers could end up paying up to five times as much for their holidays in years to come.

Meeting these challenges head on, Travelwatch is a heavyweight environmental management consultancy, launched this week on Environmental Awareness Day at World Travel Market. The aim of Travelwatch is to support 'Future Tourism' planning and infrastructure development instead of the current 'green lobby' focus on simply raising yet more indirect taxation from travellers.

Sharing a common commitment to sustainable tourism as the win-win way forward for the future, eight high profile experts in tourism, science and sustainability have come together to launch Travelwatch. Former director of Thomson and most recently, managing director of WEXAS International, Simon Beeching, is founding director along with Dr. James Blanchard and, most recently, Courtney Peyton. Also in the Travelwatch armoury are eminent associate consultants Martin Brackenbury, Dr. Harold Goodwin, Roger Heape, Dr. Hugh Somerville and Dr. Rebecca Hawkins (see company profile for individual consultant details).

Travelwatch provides comprehensive expertise in tourism planning and infrastructure development, including:
  • Resource inventory/surveys
  • Development policy and strategy
  • Integrated business planning
  • Risk assessment and analysis
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment
  • Environmental and Social Impact Assessment
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Health and Safety
  • Government relations and The Law
  • Environmental Audit
  • Built Environment Sustainability
  • Business Systems
  • Project Management and Execution
  • Consultation and Facilitation
  • Benchmarking
  • Market Research
  • Marketing Solutions
  • Communication, Training and Crisis Management

One industry partner already set to benefit from Travelwatch consultancy services is the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA). Chief Executive Officer of the QTA, Fred van Eijk commented: "From setting up Heritage Sites and managing National Parks, to referencing government policies and regulatory frameworks, Travelwatch is providing invaluable strategic advice to develop a balanced tourism infrastructure for Qatar with environmental needs and sustainability at the very core".

On behalf of Travelwatch, Simon Beeching comments, "After 25 years in the travel business, I have an absolute conviction that the environment will be the number one agenda item for us by the end of this decade. Whether approaching tourism from an industry, scientific or consumer perspective, the environment is one uniting factor that we ignore at our peril. Kill the environment and we'll kill the traveller's desire to go there at all, killing off the industry along the way. I'm very proud to be launching Travelwatch, with so many respected experts in their fields, to help ensure that sustainable development becomes the top priority for tourism now and into the future."

Ends

For further information:
Website: http://www.travelwatch.org.uk
Simon Beeching: Mobile tel: +44 (0)7973 384496
Stephen Tuckwell, Brighter PR: +44 (0)207 6032168

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