Together, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and UN Climate Change showcased how travel and tourism can contribute to a carbon-neutral environment and help reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
During the first travel and tourism event to take place at the UN Climate Conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, both organizations addressed the links between travel and tourism and climate change and presented a pathway for the sector to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
“Travel and tourism has an important role to play around the world in economic development, presently accounting for 10.4 percent of global GDP and supporting one in 10 of all jobs, which is more than comparative sectors, such as automotive, chemicals manufacturing, banking and financial services,” said Gloria Guevara, president and CEO, WTTC.
“Given our sector’s contribution to social and economic development, it is important that travel and tourism plays its part in the drive toward climate neutrality, under the auspices of the UN Climate Change body,” added Guevara.
The steps that the WTTC will take were further outlined by Guevara.
“Today, we are announcing that we will continue to work with UN Climate Change to highlight to consumers the positive contribution Travel & Tourism can make to building climate resilience; the establishment of an industry recognition scheme; and the creation of an annual “State of the Climate” event and report to evaluate, monitor and share progress towards climate neutrality. As a major world sector, Travel & Tourism stands ready to play its part in this bright future,” she said.
UN Climate Change executive secretary Patricia Espinosa provided encouragement for the travel and tourism sector to continue to find new, innovative and sustainable ways to reduce its carbon footprint.
“On a basic level, doing so is simply a question of survival,” said Espinosa. “But on another level, it’s about capturing the opportunity. It’s about transforming your businesses to be part of a global economic shift—one marked by sustainable growth and powered by renewable energy.”
H.E. Inia Seruiratu, Fiji’s minister for defense and national security noted that the island nation is already experiencing the effects of climate change.
“The travel and tourism sector is a major revenue earner for our country,” Seruiratu said. “Unfortunately, the attractions that drive this sector–our reefs, sandy beaches, clear seas, and forest biodiversity–are under threat from the impacts of climate change. Innovative financing where the travel and tourism sector can support our small island economies to respond to these threats is needed and I am very encouraged that the sector is eager to engage in such initiatives and strengthen public-private partnerships in the fight against climate change.”
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