The World Travel & Tourism Council unveiled new data detailing the climate footprint of the global travel & tourism sector. WTTC’s research shows that in 2019 the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions totalled just 8.1% globally. Previous estimates have suggested that the global Travel & Tourism sector was responsible for up to 11% of all emissions.
The divergence of the sector’s economic growth from its climate footprint between 2010 and 2019 is evidence that Travel & Tourism’s economic growth is decoupling from its greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions have been falling consistently since 2010 as the result of technological developments, as well as the introduction of a number of energy efficiency measures across industries within the sector.
Between 2010 and 2019 our sector’s GDP has grown on average 4.3% annually whilst its environmental footprint has only increased by 2.4%.
The broader Environmental & Social Research (ESR) will include measures of the sector’s impact against a range of indicators, including pollutants, energy sources, water use, as well as social data, including age, wage and gender profiles of Travel & Tourism related employment.
Governments around the world now have a tool to inform their decision-making and accelerate environmental change more accurately.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “Until now we did not have a sector-wide way to accurately measure our climate footprint. This data will give governments the detailed information they need to make progress against the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“Travel & Tourism is making huge strides to decarbonise, but Governments must set the framework. We need a steely focus on increasing the production of Sustainable Aviation fuels with Government incentives. The technology exists. We also need greater use of renewable energy in our national grids – so when we turn on a light in a hotel room, it is using a sustainable energy source. From today, every decision, every change, will lead to a better and brighter future for all.”
Simpson pointed out that the key is to become more efficient and decoupling the rate at which the travel and tourism sector grows from the amount of energy it consumes.
The findings, shared at the recent WTTC global summit in Riyadh, covers 185 countries across all regions and will be updated each year with the latest figures. WTTC can for the first time accurately report and track the impact industries within the sector have on the environment.