Travel and tourism is increasingly making an impact in developing countries and influencing the lives of millions of people. However, the economic benefits of tourism can only last if the underlying business is sustainable.
I addressed the important topic of sustainability recently at the 59th Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa meeting in Ethiopia. I have been working in Amadeus for almost 25 years and I must say that I love what Amadeus does, as it links the world of Tourism with Technology and Innovation. Today, we are talking about Sustainable Tourism for Development, and in Amadeus, we care about Sustainability and believe that ‘Technology can make a difference’.
Looking at the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, I recognised six goals where I feel Amadeus made a significant difference:
Amadeus’ Knowledge and Skills Transfer programme seeks to close the gap between mainstream education curricula and the travel sector’s requirements of new graduates. We aim to do this by educating the future workforce on career opportunities in the sector and by providing relevant training and skills.
In 2016, no less than 2,710 youngsters benefited from training and mentoring in tourism and travel through Amadeus initiatives, preparing them for living in a digital world.
2. Decent work and economic growth
Multiculturalism is the backbone of our organisation, which today has 14,500 employees all around the world, creating an environment of respect, tolerance and openness, where everyone fits in, contributes and thrives. Altogether our employees speak over 56 languages and our workforce represents 123 nationalities.
Amadeus also invested in specific projects for community development.
3. Industry innovation and infrastructure
Amadeus provides the technology that keeps the travel sector connected and moving. Innovation is at the heart of all we do. We invested over €4 billion in Research and Development since 2004.
In Social Responsibility, the “Amadeus Technology for Good” programme drives sustainable development initiatives using technology. One such initiative is the Amadeus Donation Engine, launched in 2012.
The Amadeus Donation Engine works simply and effectively ‘behind the scenes’ of online travel selling platforms. It enables online travel providers and sellers, such as airlines and travel agencies, to solicit micro-donations securely and easily from people around the world when they buy travel online. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) pools these micro-donations together for impact and uses them to fund large-scale children’s projects in countries where there is critical need. A good example; donations made on Iberia’s website funded life-saving vaccines for 850,000 children in Angola and Chad, through UNICEF’s – Let’s Vaccinate Every Child campaign
4. Reduced inequalities
As I mentioned, at Amadeus, Multiculturalism is the backbone of our organisation. Creating an environment of respect, tolerance and openness, where everyone fits in and contributes. We firmly believe that a diverse and inclusive workforce is critical to the success of our company, our customers, our employees, our shareholders, our suppliers and more generally, for all the communities in which we operate.
5. Climate action
Amadeus acknowledges its responsibility to contribute to the fight against climate change. After the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Paris in December 2015, many countries have introduced or are about to introduce climate change related regulation.
In the specific sector of transport, travel providers are requested to inform travellers about emissions produced on their trips. Amadeus can help corporations gather the data required for this kind of reporting. Thanks to our strategy and clear position on key environmental topics, Amadeus has been a part of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) for five consecutive years.
6. Partnerships and goals
Amadeus has partnered with numerous companies, administrations, non-profit organisations and education institutions in 58 countries to contribute to its goals.
One example is our partnership with the UNWTO and the Ministry of Tourism of Kenya to provide youth and women of underprivileged communities with access to employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in travel and tourism. The pilot programme, to be launched in Kenya before the end of 2017, will include training for local communities through Amadeus customers. The initiative will be replicated in countries around the world.
At Amadeus, we are committed to equipping local communities with new technologies in line with our commitment to sustainable development. Education, decent work and economic growth, innovation, climate action are some of our goals. However, to really make a difference, this has to be an industry-wide effort. Technology can make a difference but cannot do it alone. Partner with us!