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% by 2030 from 2016 levels, against the current ambition scenario. Therefore, accelerating climate action in tourism is of utmost importance. Climate action is understood as the efforts to measure and reduce GHG emissions and strengthen the capacity to adapt to climate induced impacts. Key elements in this process are awareness and optimization- the first can be achieved through measurement and disclosure of emissions related to tourism activities and the latter through instruments and strategies to scale up mitigation and adaptation.
Developing monitoring mechanisms that allow destinations to understand CO2 emissions across the value chain and the CO2 implications of investments can trigger a shift towards climate-aware tourism development. It furthermore can help to accelerate the decarbonization of tourism operations, including the development of low carbon transportation options and greener infrastructure.
However, measuring and monitoring climate action in tourism, at a global level, is still in its early stages. For the tourism sector to meaningfully engage in climate action, better qualitative and quantitative data is needed. Such will not only help to better understand the actual situation and impacts of tourism on climate change, but will also be of competitive advantage in the long run, as it will help to mitigate the climate change impacts on a destination and be of increasing interest to tourists, who are choosing more and more sustainable and respectful travel options.
|Climate Change and Tourism, Excerpt from Indicators of Sustainable Development of Tourism Destinations, A Guidebook, World Tourism Organization (2004), pp.155–164.
|Method for Quantifying Environmental Indicators of Selected Leisure Activities in the United States, United States Environmental Protection Agency (2000).
|Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism (MST), UNWTO
|System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA), United Nations
RELEVANT AGREEMENTS SUPPORTING THE SHARING OF DATA
|Action Plan for Integrated Water and Climate Agenda, Water and Climate Coalition Leaders.
|Water and Climate Action, Water and Climate Coalition Leaders.