The World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 22nd Annual Global Summit, held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, kicked off on November 28 and released the world’s first global Travel and Tourism Climate Track.
The research program is one of the largest of its kind, allowing the WTTC to monitor and update the impact of the travel and tourism industry on the environment in 185 countries each year.
According to previous data, the travel industry was estimated to produce about 11 percent of all emissions, but new data suggests that in 2019, the industry contributed to 8.1 percent of global emissions.
The data also indicated that while the travel industry’s GDP grew by an average of 4.3 percent annually between 2010 and 2019, its environmental footprint grew by 2.4 percent, a much slower pace. This is a sign that more sustainable and climate-friendly projects are making a difference.
Environmental and social research will measure the impact of the travel industry on social data, including pollutants, energy resources, water use, and wage and gender profiles of workers in the industry.
WTTC President and CEO Julia Simpson said: “Until now we have not had a sector-wide way to accurately measure our climate footprint. This data is based on the Paris Agreement and the UN. It will provide governments with the detailed information they need to make progress against the Sustainable Development Goals. It is important to be more efficient and decouple the rate at which we grow from the amount of energy we consume. Starting today, every decision, every change, will lead to a better and brighter future for all.
The 22nd Global Summit is the largest in WTTC history, with 3,000 attendees expected. Its theme, “Journey to a Better Future,” will focus on topics ranging from social issues to climate and sustainability-focused initiatives.
The summit offers in-person and online viewing options. Speakers include former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, former UK Prime Minister Theresa May, actor, filmmaker and Golden Globe winner Edward Norton and others.
WTTC members are expected to invest $10.5 billion over the next five years to support Saudi Arabia’s sustainable tourism development efforts.
His Excellency Ahmad Al Khatib, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, said: “The Kingdom is proud to welcome the 22nd WTTC Global Summit in Riyadh. With more government ministers and world-leading CEOs than ever before, this will be a true reflection of the future we want to create. A future founded on public-private sector partnerships, with sustainability and innovation at its core.
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