As one of the world’s largest industries, generating more than 9 percent of global GDP and accounting for some 260 million jobs worldwide, the continued growth of the travel and tourism industry is critical to the economic and social wellbeing of millions of people, and is, therefore, a key driver of economic recovery. As such, travel and tourism has an immense role to play in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
To help governments expand on the sustainable policy structure needed, WTTC is calling for: supportive and progressive policy frameworks; programs which foster innovation; investment in transparent reporting, measuring, and verification systems; incentives to promote efficiency improvements; empowerment of citizens to purchase and consume responsibly; and inclusion of travel and tourism in mitigation and adaptation programs.
David Scowsill, President and CEO, WTTC, said: “The travel and tourism industry recognizes that everyone has a part to play in combating climate change. Leaders in the industry have already made a commitment to halve carbon emissions by 2035 (on 2005 levels), as set out in WTTC’s Leading the Challenge on Climate Change report published in 2009, and there are many examples across the industry of how this is being achieved. Furthermore, the industry is also keen to be not only a partner to government but also a resource for policy development and implementation. Together, we can achieve a low-carbon, climate resilient world economy.”
A concerted effort is needed to develop a common solution that can be embraced by the travel and tourism industry, governments, and consumers worldwide to tackle this global problem in a coordinated fashion. While progress in Durban would go a long way in providing clarity internationally, the responsibility still remains on national governments to develop the policies needed to ensure that the industry achieves low-carbon growth.