The United Nations declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Development for Tourism in a resolution adopted on December 4, 2015.

THE CHALLENGES

“Tourism presently accounts for 5% of global emissions – approximately 4% from transportation (40% of those from air travel and 32% from car travel) and almost 1% from the accommodation sector. Demand for air travel is forecast to double by 2050.”

The Guardian

Given the growth of tourism at about 5% globally, the pressure on the social and economic aspects of the industry is also expected to be significant.

THE ROAD AHEAD

“Tourists are demanding the greening of tourism. More than a third of travellers are found to favor environmentally-friendly tourism and be willing to pay between 2 and 40% more for this experience. Traditional mass tourism has reached a stage of steady growth. In contrast, ecotourism, nature, heritage, cultural and “soft adventure” tourism are taking the lead and are predicted to grow rapidly over the next two decades. It is estimated that global spending on ecotourism is increasing at a higher rate than the industry-wide average growth.”

Tourism in the Green Economy by UNWTO/UNEP 




Recently, the UNTWO also announced its intention of devising and implementing policies by 2030 “to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”

 

“Issues such as climate change, effective resource management, poverty reduction and inclusive growth need to be at the center of tourism development. Now that the Goals have been approved, it is time to step up our action, time to advance policies and business strategies that monitor and minimize the negative effects of tourism development and maximize its positive impacts, namely through the distribution of its benefits among host communities.”

UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai

 

Many of the world’s biggest travel and tourism companies are:

  • 20% more carbon efficient today than they were in 2005
  • On course to cut CO2 emissions by 50% from 2005 to 2035
  • On course to reach the target of 25% reduction by 2020

World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), 2015