Global luxury travel network Virtuoso says its time sustainability initiatives had a price tag.
Speaking with trade media, including LATTE, at Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas, CEO Matthew Upchurch said Virtuoso was keen to amplify the projects that eco-conscious companies in the travel and tourism space were making, but all with little fanfare. He wants to give those businesses greater voice, and to also put a cost on those initiatives.
“I know it can easily be misconstrued, but the other thing that’s important to Virtuoso is we have to make doing good profitable.”
“If doing good becomes enlightened self-interest and profitable, that’s going to be the ultimate sustainable story,” Upchurch said.
Upchurch said that based on collected data from Virtuoso’s Impact Report “we think there’s a massive psychographic market opportunity around people who want a great experience, but they also want to give their money to somebody they feel good about”.
He said a lot of wealthy people do understand that they’re in a position of privilege.
“A lot of them, they want to do the right thing, and they want their dollars to do that, so I think there is a huge opportunity.”
A similar message was repeated by Virtuoso’s senior executive team across the week. David Kolner, Executive VP, flagged a sales focus for sustainability will see it align with Virtuoso’s six other Communities, which from 2024 on, will have marketing and professional development behind it for the first time.
Misty Belles, Vice President, Global Public Relations said the Impact Report on Sustainable Travel 2023 identified over 3,000 sustainability initiatives are taking place around the world from the 215 participants in 60 countries that took part in the study. Half of those efforts are centred around protecting the planet, 30% around celebrating and honouring cultures and 20% focused on supporting local economies.
Upchurch explained that in line with Virtuoso’s membership in the World Travel & Tourism Council, the group is steadfast on making sustainability part of its sales program.
“We want to prove that we can get high net worth travellers and luxury travellers to actually choose places that are doing amazing things, that also will have an amazing experience, so that we can really start focusing on that opportunity,” he said.
“The more and more and more we can prove that being sustainable and regenerative is also a profitable endeavour, then that’s when it really starts to take off.”
Lead image: Virtuoso’s David Kolnar, Executive Vice President, Misty Belles, VP Global Communications and Matthew Upchurch, CEO/Chairman.