The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) recently unveiled new data detailing the climate footprint of the global Travel & Tourism sector.
Previous estimates have suggested that the global Travel & Tourism sector was responsible for up to 11 percent of all emissions.
However, WTTC revealed new research that shows that the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions totalled just 8.1 percent globally in 2019.
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, says the research that covered 185 countries across all regions.
Announcing the findings of the research at WTTC’s 22nd Global Summit in Riyadh, Julia Simpson, the global tourism body’s president, said the 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.
According to Simpson, between 2010 and 2019 the sector’s GDP has grown on average 4.3 percent annually whilst its environmental footprint has only increased by 2.4 percent.
“This data will give governments the detailed information they need to make progress against the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” she said, adding that 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.”
Simpson said the WTTC will continue to announce new data on how the sector fares against these indicators throughout 2023.
“The key is to become more efficient and decoupling the rate at which we grow from the amount of energy we consume from today, every decision, every change, will lead to a better and brighter future for all,” she said.
The research is the result of a joint initiative of the WTTC and the Saudi-based Sustainable Global Tourism Centre.