Bringing together more than 20,000 participants from 197 countries, COP26 was not only a key moment in the international consensus on the fight against climate change, but also a landmark meeting for global tourism.
Faced with the prospects of two billion tourists in 2030 – the democratization of travel and the arrival of emerging countries increasing the risk of overtourism -, often accused of being one of the main responsible for pollution and CO2 emissions, 300 actors in the sector were brought together in Glasgow by the World Tourism Organization to discuss concrete measures and immediate action plans.
The “Glascow declaration” recalls first of all that the signatories believe that fossil fuels, unsustainable agriculture and uncontrolled consumption patterns contribute to climate change, pollution and a reduction in biological diversity. Rebalancing the relationship with nature is essential not only for the health of ecosystems and for the personal, social and economic well-being of everyone, but also for the sustainable recovery and the very future of the sector. The declaration also recalls that the actions chosen should contribute to a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 and 100% by 2050, and fit in with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
Professionals refuse to blame the industry, and they believe tourism can be at the forefront of a low-carbon future. The sector – its companies and its jobs – will be able to grow in this way, preserving its activities, its infrastructure, the ecosystems where they are located, as well as the well-being of the residents and populations affected. The strength of the commitments assumed by the OMT and its 300 members was clear, both in the transparency of the process initiated -already foreseeing the publication of annual reports-, and in the measures announced, grouped into five axes of work and initiated in the next twelve months.
Measure : Measure and publish all emissions related to travel and tourism, with methodologies following the Conference directives for measurement, reporting and controls, all being transparent and accessible.
Decarbonize : Define and achieve goals in line with updated knowledge to accelerate the transition in tourism, including transport, infrastructure, accommodation, activities, restaurants, and waste management. Compensation can play a subsidiary role but only as a complement to proven achievements.
Regenerate : Protect ecosystems, favor nature’s carbon absorption capacities. Preserve biodiversity, food security and water supply. In regions where the climatic impact is strongest, inform visitors and help residents adapt to changes.
Collaborate : Communicate data on risks and precautions to everyone involved, work so that emergency plans are as complete and efficient. Strengthen the capacity for action with authorities, associations, businesses, residents and visitors.
Funding : Obtaining sufficient resources and operational capabilities to achieve the objectives, especially in training, research, and actions announced in the plans presented.
Logical and necessary due to the existential impact that sustainability will have on its future, the “Glascow declaration” has already been signed by the OMT, the UNDP and the participants included in this list (still with few Brazilians apart from the ACCOR group). The declaration has yet to be completed, especially with regard to the impacts of these measures on the costs for millions of tourists from the middle classes of developed countries as well as the emerging classes of developing countries. As Gilbert Trigano, founder of Club Mediterranée, recalled, tourism is a formidable factor in happiness and moments of social equality. Sustainable tourism should grow with tranquility and security, keeping these characteristics.