Greater cooperation between private sector businesses and climate change policy makers is the only solution to global concerns over climate change the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has argued.
The industry body believes governments continue to mistakenly disparage the industry over greenhouse gas emissions, while making little attempt to consult when drawing up climate change policies.
WTTC has therefore published a series of recommendations following consultation with industry and other stakeholders.
It provides a framework for true partnership in the creation of policies that address climate change, while allowing tourism to prosper.
The recommendations in Climate Change: A Joint Approach to Addressing the Challenge highlight the need for a policy framework conducive to the sustainable development of the industry while decoupling growth from increased greenhouse gas emissions.
“The tourism industry needs to grow as it is a major generator of jobs and global GDP; and this growth must be sustainable,” said WTTC president Jean-Claude Baumgarten.
“However, the industry needs strong leadership and support from governments to address climate change.
“This document was developed through a concerted collaborative effort by leaders in travel and tourism, experts and WTTC Environment Initiative partners including the World Tourism Organisation.”
A Joint Approach
The recommendations outline the need for industry dialogue and increased private public partnerships to develop cost-effective mitigation and adaptation strategies.
A level playing field free from restrictions on trade and intellectual property rights’ infringements is also sought by the WTTC, which argues changes are essential for green investments to be valued positively and deployed effectively.
Policies which harness the power of the market and its agents to drive innovation in climate change mitigation and adaptation measures are also high on the agenda, alongside financing and investment measures to encourage low-carbon tourism operations.
Finally, a clear message to needs to be transmitted to consumers communicating the scale of the global threat while at the same time empowering citizens to effect change.
“This publication is timely with the impending United Nations Climate Change Conference COP16 kicking off at the end of the month in Cancun,” added Mr Baumgarten.
“It is an added message to governments that the tourism industry and WTTC are ready and willing to work with them on shaping policies and measures beneficial for sustainable growth.”
The guidelines were developed around the five central themes of WTTC’s Leading the Challenge on Climate Change report launched in 2009.
The report listed ten key action items for the industry.
One of the main commitments in the publication was an aspiration to a 50 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2035 over 2005 levels.
Endorsed by a large number of WTTC Members, this commitment to action was an unprecedented step for the industry.