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The Glasgow Declaration: Global Tourism Industry Urged to Accelerate Climate Action

Photo source: UNWTO

Photo source: UNWTO

“We need to work urgently together… I encourage tourism stakeholders to subscribe to the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism.” – UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili

A collaborative group of leading travel and tourism organizations on Tuesday unveiled the Glasgow Declaration, which defines a clear and consistent sector-wide approach to climate action in the coming decade.

Announced ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) that will be held in Glasgow during October 31-November 12, the declaration is a call to the industry’s businesses and associations to commit to a decade of climate action in tourism.

According to an announcement by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the “Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism” brings together the latest research and global expertise to galvanise climate action. It aims to act as a catalyst for increased urgency about the need to accelerate climate action in tourism and to secure strong actions and commitment to cut tourism emissions at least in half over the next decade and reach Net Zero emissions as soon as possible before 2050.

Talks on the declaration were held on Tuesday among leading organizations including the UNWTO, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), VisitScotland, the Travel Foundation and Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency.

Tourism businesses, associations invited to sign up

The declaration will be officially launched at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November. The text is available from September 21. Interested signatories can express their wish to join as launch partners from the beginning of October.

Each signatory will commit to deliver a concrete climate action plan, or updated plan, within 12 months of signing. Plans will be aligned with the proposed pathways of measurement, decarbonisation, regeneration, collaboration and financing that will accelerate tourism’s ability to transform.

Highlighting that tourism is highly vulnerable to climate change and contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili stressed that no one organisation can tackle the issue alone.

“That’s why we need to work urgently together within a consistent sector-wide approach to accelerate change and therefore I encourage tourism stakeholders to subscribe to the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism,” Pololikashvili said.

The need for a globally consistent approach for climate action in tourism has been made clear, notably through research into CO2 emissions carried out by UNWTO/ITF and released at the UNFCCC COP25 in December 2019. This showed that transport-related emissions from tourism were forecast to increase by 25 percent by 2030 from 2016 levels, against the current ambition scenario.

Interested parties can find the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism here.

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