Simon is the Sustainable Tourism Manager for ABTA Ltd – the travel association. Currently 28 years old he started working in tourism in 2005 when he took a job with the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) providing administrative support to the health and safety and sustainable tourism teams. Simon openly admits that for him, this was intended to be a stop job whilst he thought about his future direction. A few months in and having been bitten by the tourism bug, he knew he’d inadvertently made a smart move. In 2007 he was offered the chance to specialise in sustainable tourism which back then, was a relatively new area of tourism engagement and was promoted to Operations and Services Coordinator and took a leading role in helping to ensure that the industry’s activities in this area ran smoothly from project conception to delivery. Simon started working on a number of European Commission funded projects including one which saw the creation of the Travelife Sustainability System which today is the preferred system of choice amongst UK, Dutch, Belgian and German tour operators enabling them to work with hotels all around the world on environmental and social principles.
In 2008 FTO and ABTA Ltd merged to form one organisation representing the UK travel and tourism industry. Following the merger and office relocation, Simon was offered the chance to start shaping a wider sustainability agenda for the UK travel and tourism sector and move activities into new areas outside of hotel sustainability. In 2010, Simon was promoted to Sustainable Tourism Manager for ABTA and is now responsible for delivering initiatives with a sustainability focus designed to reach ABTA’s 850 tour operator and 5000 travel agency members. More recently he has also started to work with a number of tourist destination governments to identify the role that they must play in ensuring the sustainability of tourism in their countries.
Having witnessed first-hand the impacts tourism has on destinations and the growth in the importance afforded to sustainability issues, Simon firmly believes that the future for travel and tourism has to be a sustainable one. He is convinced that sustainability in tourism will continue to expand in coming years and that for future tourism employees, it will simply be part of day-to-day business activities.