Figures remembered from the report of the World Tourism Organization

In its latest report, the organization reviews the pro-environmental initiatives put in place by players in the sector. If there is effort, there is still progress.

The numbers are in: tourism accounts for about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Worse: In 2019, emissions related to leisure travel were expected to increase by at least 25% by 2030. the status quo. To help the sector determine what urgently needs to be addressed, the World Tourism Organization (WTO), an arm of the United Nations, has conducted the first global survey of travel stakeholders’ climate action efforts.

A few days ago, he published his findings in a report (which you can download here). To do this, 1139 companies (mainly accommodation and tour operators), destinations and organizations from 131 countries were surveyed between June and August 2021. Measurement of greenhouse gas emissions, compensation and reduction of these emissions, planning of climate measures… UNWTO initiatives to reduce their impact on the environment. We have gone through this rich report for you.

75% of tourism professionals say they are “committed to the climate”.

Three quarters of travel professionals claim to be climate committed. AdobeStock – Rico Loeb

Good news opens this report: 75% of tourism professionals claim to be “climate committed”. The engine of such a commitment? The fact that their professional activities and environment are “impacted” by climate change. The UNWTO survey lists multiple impacts of global warming on tourism destinations regardless of region of the world. These results can be in the form of droughts, fires, floods or episodes of lack of snow. The tourism players interviewed also lamented the increase in the cost of their activities associated with the increase in the price of scarce resources such as water. They also note the difficulty of planning activities, combining the threat of temperature and climate changes. Despite everything, 47.3% of gamers admit that there is no defined action plan to combat global warming (versus 27.8% who say the opposite).

75% of tourism players do not measure greenhouse gas emissions

Several countries have suffered from floods due to global warming. France too. Adobe Stock – Sebastien Rabany

The World Tourism Organization makes a less encouraging observation: more than three-quarters (75.4%) of respondents do not measure greenhouse gas emissions. A large part of them (38.7%) explains that they do not know how to calculate such a cost. Conversely, 20.7% of tourism professionals are committed to measuring their emissions. Among them are both tourism companies (26.8% do so) and destinations (10%). For informational purposes, “greenhouse gas balance” means an assessment of the total volume of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere during a year as a result of the activity of an enterprise (company or destination).

68% of respondents do not offset greenhouse gas emissions

Only 10% of tourism players claim to offset their greenhouse gas emissions. AdobeStock – Dynamoland

Another pitfall highlighted by the World Tourism Organization: the lack of many compensations for their greenhouse gas emissions. This term includes all measures that allow to offset the emissions produced by the enterprise. For this, the enterprise usually goes through a company that acts as an intermediary with representatives of the emissions offsetting project. This project may involve, for example, reforestation as well as improving waste management. As with the measurement of greenhouse gas emissions, tourism professionals have room for improvement in this regard. Indeed, 68.7% of respondents do not provide compensation. 10.7% of respondents do so in the form of reforestation projects, coral restoration or even mangrove conservation.

A brief message from UNWTO: in many aspects, tourism professionals still need to improve and participate more actively in the fight against global warming. During the survey, most tourism stakeholders said they needed more support to take effective and consistent action. UNWTO agrees to emphasize the need to jointly develop tools and training to support tourism professionals in this endeavour.

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