THE World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled world-first data on the global climate footprint of the travel and tourism sector.
Between 2010 and 2019, the sector’s climate footprint grew by just 2.4% annually, while its GDP increased by 4.3% each year.
The findings were revealed at the global tourism body’s 22nd Global Summit in Riyadh by the World Travel & Tourism Council and the Saudi-based Sustainable Global Tourism Centre.
The inaugural Environmental & Social Research, launched in partnership with Saudi-based Sustainable Global Tourism Center, includes 185 countries across all regions and will be updated every year with the latest figures.
Previous estimates indicated that the global travel and tourism sector was responsible for up to 11% of all emissions, however the new research from WTTC shows that in 2019, the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions totalled just 8.1% globally.
These figures show that the sector’s economic growth is not tied to its greenhouse gas emissions, which have been consistently shrinking since 2010 due to technological developments plus new energy efficient measures across industries within the sector.
The broader Environmental & Social Research (ESR) will help measure 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 and tourism related employment.
WTTC said it would continue to reveal new data on how the sector fares against these indictors throughout 2023.
“Until now we did not have a sector-wide way to accurately measure our climate footprint,” WTTC President & CEO Julia Simpson said.
“This data will give governments the detailed information they need to make progress against the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
Simpson went on to say that governments need to set the framework when it comes to decarbonisation, as well as incentivise the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuels and increase the use of renewable energy in national grids.
Meanwhile, WTTC also announced that it will host next year’s Global Summit in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, marking the first time the event will be held Africa.