Shaping a Greener Future

ATS Travel’s collaborative Sustainable efforts Explored

ATS Travel – Saleem Sharif

In a rapidly evolving world, sustainability has become more than just a buzzword; it’s a responsibility that businesses across industries are embracing. ATS Travel, an advocate of sustainable practices, recently organized the Climate Freak workshop, a collaborative effort with industry leaders like Amadeus, SAP Concur, Lufthansa, Goumbook, and Rotana Hotels. This workshop served as a platform to delve into crucial discussions about sustainability in the travel sector. Saleem Sharif, at the helm as the driving force behind ATS Travel, shares his insights and perspectives on the pivotal role collaborations play in steering the company’s sustainability journey forward.

Having organised the Climate Freak workshop today in association with other industry leaders like Amadeus, SAP Concur, Lufthansa, Goumbook, and Rotana Hotels, what are your key takeaways or insights that you plan to integrate into ATS Travel’s sustainability journey?

ATS Travel has been a strong advocate of sustainability over the last few years even before the inception of our ‘Go Green” initiative we launched. These collaborations and events that we are organizing with support of our partners is to bring awareness among our clients and to the travel industry.  Our journey is not one where we travel alone towards sustainability but rather as a cohesive and collaborative drive that we will be making along with all our stakeholders and industry partners. Today’s initiative is one we have mooted as part of our contribution towards the ongoing COP28 conference, being held in our fantastic city – Dubai, UAE.  

Could you share specific initiatives or strategies that ATS Travel has implemented or plans to implement as part of its commitment to sustainability? 

Apart from events such as this that we have been conducting over the last few years, we have conducted plantation drives in the region with our clients as guests. We do a plantation drive twice a year to offset our own carbon footprint and in fact currently have trees in plantations named after every employee in our organization. Internally our organization has ensured our new office space is eco-friendly and sustainable practices are put in place to ensure our staff practice and contribute in every way possible.

We as a TMC are also offering our clients monthly science-based carbon footprint report which includes data from not just Air travel but also land arrangements such as transfers, car rentals and Hotels. Unless you know what is your footprint you cannot really do anything about it, so this helps our clients in their sustainable journey. We also offer them with offsetting options across the globe that are verified by global authorities and in some cases even facilitate this process.

How have these initiatives been influenced by collaborations like the one at the Climate Fresk workshop?

A workshop like this is so crucial as we have come to realize that there are a lot of folks who want to do something about sustainability but lack the know-how and in-depth knowledge of the topic. 

This workshop helps them learn and also this will have a wider impact as they take their learning back to their respective organisations.

The workshop itself creates awareness in the market that we are there to help to guide and assist you in your journey to achieve your net-zero goals. We are all on the same path towards the same goal. This awareness increases the success rate of our initiatives and brings into the fold new entities and partners who benefit from such activities. 

In what ways do you see collaborations with entities like Amadeus, SAP Concur, Lufthansa, Goumbook, and Rotana Hotels enhancing ATS Travel’s approach to sustainability? 

These collaborations are so crucial in the market as we are showing a unified front in the industry to our clients. We are through this telling them that there are sustainable choices that can be made in your business travel program that will help you to reach your net zero or carbon reduction goals. 

With industry leaders like SAP concur in the online booking space or Amadeus the largest distribution system in the world along with airline giants Lufthansa coming together in the event reinstates and enhances the seriousness of the need for sustainable initiative’s to be adopted by each one of us in our everyday lives and organizations 

Are there any joint projects or initiatives arising from these partnerships?

Definitely, in offering an understanding of the cause and effect of climate change and sustainability knowledge the clients are now empowered to make sustainable choices. Every partner at the event showcased their sustainable solutions to the participants and we see a lot of partnerships already taking fruition as the end objective and goal here is reducing our carbon footprint and these solutions do just that. 

What are some of the unique challenges ATS Travel faces in its sustainability journey, especially in the travel and tourism sector? 

The main challenge is awareness, knowledge of solutions, misconceptions on the process & topic and the misunderstanding that being sustainable is expensive. We have learnt over the last few years that although there is a desire and inclination to be sustainable but people do not know how. 

The responsibility also lies with TMC’s and Tourism organizations like us to ensure we offer, guide and provide the choice for the client to choose sustainable travel or holidays. We also strongly feel that this will not happen unless there is a buy in from all the stakeholders within the organization firstly and with your value and supply chain as well.

How does the company plan to address these challenges, possibly using insights or solutions discussed in the workshop?

We are working towards clearing a lot of these misconceptions, providing factual data with clear examples on what is required. This workshop is a prime example of how we are working towards imparting the crucial and necessary understanding and knowledge to our partners, clients and market. 

Internally we have now partnered with various destinations and suppliers across the globe in industries such as Hotel, Transport and Air who are and offer sustainable options to our clients. We will also be continuing such activities and workshop to spread awareness with the kind support of all our partners.

Are there any specific goals or benchmarks that the company aims to achieve in the short and long term?

Yes, we are working towards ensuring every client of ours takes account of their carbon footprint and acts on it. We are there as their partner to help them with in this journey by providing information and choices in their everyday travel plan. Help them offset and reduce their carbon footprint. We hope to be a one stop solution to our clients where they look to us for guidance in procurement, partnerships, travel policy adherence and more all aimed towards a more sustainable travel program.

As a leader in the travel industry, how does ATS Travel envision influencing or inspiring other companies in the sector towards greater sustainability practices?

Well, I am sure our partners in this sector are all doing something about this and as I have already mentioned, this journey is not one to be taken alone but as a cohesive and collaborative effort from all the stakeholders in the industry. 

I am sure we will soon see a lot more initiatives from partners and we also are confident that this workshop empowers clients in the market to seek these choices and solutions from their respective partners. 

As the travel industry navigates the path towards sustainability, ATS Travel stands at the forefront, championing collaborative efforts and initiatives. Saleem Sharif emphasizes the significance of collective action and partnership, emphasizing that sustainability isn’t a solitary journey but a collective endeavor involving stakeholders, clients, and partners. Through workshops like Climate Freak and ongoing collaborations, ATS Travel continues to pave the way, not just for their own sustainability goals, but to inspire and drive the industry towards a future where eco-conscious practices are at the heart of every travel endeavor.

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