The teams at the World for Travel and the Resilience Council assessed the current state of the travel industry in terms of sustainable measures and goals. This data was used to develop the most urgent actions that represent a commitment to sustainability and regenerative travel.
The first goal is to provide reliable carbon offset options. With only 10 percent of airlines offering voluntary carbon offsets and very low consumer confidence in the credibility of many schemes, the introduction of a unique carbon footprint calculator by the industry, as well as tax incentives and public investment in greener plans, will play a major role in this effort.
Another goal is to commit to a carbon reduction plan for each sector: tourism industry-related CO2 emissions increased by 60 percent between 2005 and 2015, and are expected to increase further in 2030 if decarbonization is not accelerated; therefore, it is critical to reducing carbon emissions in all sectors. Many companies and tour operators already have net-zero targets, but it is now critical that each organization achieves this goal and is assessed by international certification companies.
Another important sustainable measure is to make investments to develop sustainable tourism: The average investment in the travel and tourism sector as a percentage of GDP is 17 percent, and this spending must be increased to develop sustainable tourism. Many countries are not investing enough in tourism. Soon it will become more difficult to invest without a sustainable tourism plan, as banks give preference to investments with a strong ESG record.
Shaping tourism solutions together with local communities is also essential. This engagement is based on the most important issue raised at the Evora Forum. It is critical that tourism benefits the places and people it affects/impacts. Seventy percent of tourists want to positively impact the economy and environment they travel to, and so this commitment is very much in line with consumer demand. Incentives and best practice plans need to be put in place to show the world how tourism and community can be mutually beneficial.
Another goal is to strengthen local supply chains and ecosystems: In line with the fourth point, companies should always choose a local supplier, even if it is more expensive. 83 percent believe it is right for companies and brands to also focus on positive impacts and not just on doing less harm to the planet and its people.