Council Post: Globalized Reality: A Call For Responsible Tourism And Travel To Achieve Net-Zero Emissions
By Travis Pittman, Co-Founder & CEO of TourRadar.
Traveling can have a unique influence on people’s lives. It not only has the power to change people’s minds, lifestyles and values, but it can also benefit communities by strengthening their local economy and generating jobs.
Meeting local tourism leaders, whether they be hoteliers or rickshaw drivers, enhances cultural connections. Seeing wild animals in their natural habitat or trying certain dishes in their birthplace creates a truly life-enriching experience.
But as life-changing as traveling can be, and as important as it is to us within the industry, we still have to be mindful to champion responsible travel for the sake of the planet.
Today’s Globalized Reality: Responsible Tourism And Travel
Most of us in the industry are familiar with the overarching goal of the Paris Agreement: to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The headlines like “Travel Is Picking Up To Pre-Pandemic Levels” should concern us all as we need to act immediately so we don’t go down the same path as in 2019 when overtourism was commonplace.
We are living in a globalized world, with very complex, intersectoral connections between all industries and the 8 billion people on the planet. People are used to traveling, for business or holidays, and changing how we view travel and its impact on wildlife and the environment won’t happen overnight. We need to realize that people won’t stop traveling and they won’t stop flying.
Yet, we have to look at the impact of travel so that we can have a brighter, greener and more sustainable future for the industry we all love, and create an industry that thrives and breaks revenue numbers but not CO2 emission numbers. This is actually possible, based on the latest Envisioning Tourism in 2030 and Beyond report.
The report outlines how we in the industry can do things like focus on short-haul customers, recognize that some destinations are more ready for sustainable tourism than others and adopt and promote greener forms of transportation.
We can also help drive more awareness around climate change and its irreversible effects. More travelers are demanding sustainable, responsible travel options. Electric cars are becoming the norm, and people are choosing the train or bus to get around. More hoteliers are ditching plastic for sustainable alternatives, and most important, innovative carbon removal solutions are becoming more widely available.
Collective Efforts: Coming Together In The Tourism Industry
The Envisioning Tourism in 2030 and Beyond report is a call for the entire tourism industry to coordinate our efforts. I believe that we should come together as an industry to decarbonize our operations and educate customers about more sustainable ways to travel and about their travel carbon footprint.
We can leverage already existing data technologies to identify market gaps, manage crowds by analyzing high traffic areas and guide much-needed investments.
We need to invest collectively in hybrid- and technology-based carbon removal solutions, as these have long-term impact and are able to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for decades to come. The latest IPCC report states that CO2 reduction alone won’t be enough to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and should go hand in hand with carbon dioxide removal (CDR) solutions. We need to reduce the emissions of our operations as much as possible and to invest in permanent CDR solutions.
Together with partners, you can help foster multilevel partnerships and define strategies for collective climate action. Ultimately, in line with the Glasgow Declaration, your goal should be to accelerate the decarbonization of the industry and to achieve net-zero before 2050. By doing this, you can be a part of enriching the world and the lives of all in it, one organized adventure at a time.
Next Steps: Carbon Labeling And Emissions
I believe that carbon labeling will play an even bigger role when it comes to accelerating the decarbonization process of our industry and educating our customers. Currently, our sector has no centralized, standardized hub, tool or guidelines to measure or report CO2 emissions.
I believe that by collecting available data on carbon emissions in the tourism sector we can build an impact measurement tool (IMT) that can provide a simple and centralized way of carbon measurement for operators and their suppliers. This is a tool that my company is actively working on with other partners.
The IMT would have two main purposes: to measure and identify the CO2 footprint of every organized tourist trip and create positive stories around sustainability.
The first relies on the need to reduce the carbon footprint of travel. By knowing the most polluting aspects, we can work with operators on decarbonization solutions and demand investments in more sustainable options.
The second part of the tool can focus on the analysis of organized travel itineraries to emphasize the positive impact of travel on destinations. Through collecting this type of data and organizing it, we can highlight economic and social benefits such as how much money is staying in the local communities to generate new jobs and opportunities. In the end, accelerating the development of sustainable tourism practices not only benefits businesses but local communities too.
I believe working on and investing in carbon measurement tools is a necessary step toward the decarbonization of our industry. It can help us to concentrate on actual issues that need improvement and shift people’s mindsets toward more sustainable, low-carbon travel options.
Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?
Images are for reference only.Images and contents gathered automatic from google or 3rd party sources.All rights on the images and contents are with their legal original owners.