In brief

In brief

  • Travel is back and bookings are on the rise, but regulations and customer expectations have evolved and going back to ‘normal’ is not an option.
  • The pressure is on companies to build back sustainably, responsibly and accountably – but they must balance investment with a return to profit.
  • Leading companies are taking the opportunity to evolve their strategies now to keep up with changing targets and regulations.
  • Accenture’s research into Sustainability DNA provides a framework to identify priorities for action and guide firms through the challenges ahead.

Hitting rewind is not an option

The pandemic has been an extended crisis for travel, and recovery will be a prolonged process. But of all the challenges facing the sector, sustainability is one of the biggest. From carbon emissions to social impact, the industry risks being seen by consumers and policy-makers as part of the problem.

Sustainability actually has the potential to be a significant driver of positive change—if businesses seize the opportunity. Now is the time for travel companies to reinvigorate their efforts and build the right strategy for their future.

The challenge for the travel industry

Leadership teams need to convert their organizations’ sustainability goals and values into behavioral change at all levels. The five elements of sustainable leadership:

Stakeholder inclusion

  • Trust
  • Accountability
  • Impact

Emotion & intuition

  • Instinct
  • Humility
  • Compassion

Mission & purpose

  • Integrity
  • System thinking
  • Sensemaking

Technology & innovation

  • Tech vision
  • Responsible innovation
  • Creativity

Intellect & insight

  • Data-to-knowledge
  • Critical thinking
  • Continuous learning

View All

RELATED: Explore travel’s changing realities in The Guide digital travel magazine

As change accelerates, businesses must keep up

These five elements guide businesses across all dimensions of sustainability, including environmental and social challenges.

With a shifting market across both leisure and business travelers—as well as a raft of other powerful influences, from new government regulations to risk management concerns—now is not the time to be left behind.

There is ample opportunity for businesses to impress and make the right impact if they step up today.


More on sustainability in travel

Back to growth sustainably for hospitality

As hospitality companies journey back to growth, they need to understand the importance of sustainability for leisure and business travelers. Learn more.

How aviation can meet the sustainable travel demand

The aviation industry cannot ignore the importance of sustainability as passenger volumes begin to rise. Learn more.

View All

About the Authors

Dr. Jesko-Philipp Neuenburg

Managing Director – Global Travel & Aviation Sustainability Lead

Philipp Möller

Senior Manager – Accenture Strategy & Consulting, Travel

Daniel Kowalewski

Managing Director – Travel Industry, North America

Andrew Maliszewski

Senior Manager – Strategy & Consulting, Travel

Anshul Gupta

Associate Director – Accenture Technology

David Walfisch

Principal Director – Strategy & Consulting, Travel


Shaping the sustainable organization
The Guide: Travel industry magazine
Delivering responsible travel

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