Reducing flights isn't the sustainable answer to fighting emissions: Travel agent lobby
The reduction in air traffic and the tourism industry is not the answer in order to cut down on environmental impact, said ANVR president Arjan Kers at the travel agent association's New Year's reception. "The government and the industry need to work together to accelerate sustainability," Kers explained, adding that the government should "not fall in love with its own solutions."
According to Kers, the government should remain open to interpreting the emissions reduction goal in a different way than shrinking. Because fewer flights at Schiphol Airport could lead to airlines switching to other destinations with cleaner aircraft, the ANVR president warned.
"The Netherlands must continue to have a good national airport," Kers said. “To meet the needs of Dutch travelers, the opening of Lelystad Airport in 2024 is "urgently needed," he explained.
In Kers’ opinion, sustainability played a big role in the aviation sector as well as the travel industry in recent years and thinks that it is often portrayed differently in The Hague. "Many millions have already been invested to make aircraft, hotels, and destinations more sustainable. We don't have to be ashamed at all as an industry, because I would even dare to say that we are ahead of other industries in many areas."
In addition, the travel industry can also bring about real change, the AVNR president mentioned. "However, we all have a responsibility to help our customers make the best and most sustainable choice. Because we have that responsibility, too. Only if the masses change their behavior will it have a big impact.”
Shrinking Schiphol to its planned 440,000 flights per year is not yet a done deal, Kers argued, and if The Hague only looks at nitrogen issues here, it will also have negative consequences such as less sustainability investment from the Dutch travel industry. "The contribution of tourism worldwide is bigger and more important than solving a nitrogen problem in the Netherlands."
Reporting by ANP