In light of the Covid-19 health crisis, it is more necessary than ever to ensure that the tourism industry and travellers view a sustainable future with a greater sense of responsibility.
Les Maisons du Voyage, a French tour operator, has partnered with the French pavilion at Expo 2020 to put ecology and solidarity at the heart of their travels. By doing so, the travel agency will echo the expo's themes of sustainability and eco-friendliness: preserving and restoring biodiversity, designing cities of tomorrow by promoting a resilient infrastructure, acting against global warming and establishing sustainable consumption patterns.
The French pavilion team sees Expo 2020 as an opportunity to showcase the country's transition to a sustainable future. An important part of this is how a global climate and environmental solidarity can also be a tool for the development of international companies, including the travel sector.
France's Pavilion will be covered with photoelectric-energy-producing solar tiles that will be completely removable and reusable.
Jean-Emmanuel Chometon, general manager of Les Maisons du Voyage, says the pavilion offers the operator an international platform to demonstrate its actions and innovations in terms of new forms of mobility, while being mindful of the planet.
Les Maisons du Voyage has always shown a strong ecological commitment and created tourism experiences that respect people, cultures and nature, says Chometon.
This commitment is recognised through the award of a 2020 certification for "Acting for Responsible Tourism” from EcoCert Environment and a partnership with the GoodPlanet Foundation, which is chaired by renowned photographer and activist Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Together, the pair work on projects to help disadvantaged populations and the environment in Ecuador (2018), Ethiopia (2019) and Peru (2020).
Chometon adds that Les Maisons du Voyage plans trips by putting in place specific measures that respect the people and places visited.
These include a limited number of participants on tours and sufficient time allocated, given the carbon footprint of air travel. There are incentives for carbon offsetting, as well as a strong focus on awareness of local customs and traditions, rational consumption of water, waste management and recycling, and collaboration with trusted partners. Suitable working conditions for local guides and service providers are also ensured.
"In the UAE, Les Maisons du Voyage avoids shows in desert camps conducive to mass tourism and favours visits to small-scale private camps, to provide a more authentic experience of the local culture and traditions," says Chometon.
The tour operator also includes in its programmes a tour of Masdar City in an autonomous electric vehicle to showcase the first city in the world to be built for a “zero carbon and zero waste” life.
Mobility and the France Pavilion at Expo 2020
Erik Linquier, commissioner general for France at Expo 2020 Dubai and chairman of Cofrex (Compagnie Française des Expositions), comments: “I am delighted to have Les Maisons du Voyage alongside the France pavilion and thank them for their confidence during these uncertain times.
"I am convinced that the success of Expo 2020, and of the France Pavilion in particular, will also depend on tourism: this is why Cofrex is committed to making France's participation at Expo 2020 a unique experience for its visitors."
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