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Trowers & Hamlins and Beco hosted a conference looking at the challenges facing sustainable tourism businesses in the South West.

Generational shifts mean that sustainable consumption is becoming big business. Switched on customers expect more when they travel, and this creates challenges for the sector. Some business have already started, but the objective to achieve 'Net Zero' by 2050 means that things need to accelerate.

The challenge for any business is to know where to start. We can't expect everything to change overnight, but forward-thinking businesses will want to understand the implications, build this into their long-term business plan and start delivering.

Understanding the challenge is the first step. To help with this, we asked each of our speakers to outline the key experiences in their sector - with their recommendations for businesses looking to a more sustainable future.

Our first insight is from Pod Point's Rob Hughes:

It was fantastic to present to such a varied business audience at the recent Sustainable Tourism Event. Moments such as this really do demonstrate the momentum and growth in interest for green technologies, solutions and consumer behaviour. Pod Point had a slow start by most measures; installing a single chargepoint was for many of our first 11 years a great challenge. Our dream that ‘travel shouldn’t damage the earth’ whilst still very ambitious was for many almost absurdly ambitious in scale.

Fast forward and here we are standing at the cusp of mass adoption. The Electric Vehicle industry is the Cinderella of government green policy with charging grants, vehicle discounts, low emission zones, tax cuts and manufacturer targets all aligning under the sole purpose of electrifying our journeys. Thankfully the progress hasn’t simply been the preserve of the Whitehall meeting agenda. Electric Vehicles have captured the imagination of the public. Drivers are less nervous about vehicle range and better understand the fantastic performance and safety ratings of these vehicles. Furthermore, manufacturer volume and competition is driving down purchase costs with great advancements in battery technology at the core of our journey towards EV’s being cheaper than their equivalent combustion models. The reasons to not buy an electric vehicle are quickly evaporating.

The last remaining barrier? Infrastructure.

At our homes, businesses, gyms, supermarkets, holiday accommodation and service stations infrastructure is springing up to meet this demand. With this growth is coming better energy usage data and engagement from our energy network providers. And with this engagement are coming new and innovative grid management technologies and flexible solutions to allow us to accelerate our growth and meet demand. From battery storage to demand-side management to local on-site generation the green energy revolution is really picking up pace.

Pod Point’s advice; stay tuned, stay engaged and enjoy the journey towards a future in which travel doesn’t damage the earth. We thought we’d leave you with an amusing graphic that we created two years ago. To date, our predictions look like they are holding true.