Global tourism unites behind climate declaration

Liberia’s beautiful Blue Lake, a tourist attraction
Photo: Liberia National Tourism Association

The ‘Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism’ was launched earlier this month at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Scotland.

Some of tourism’s biggest businesses joined governments and destinations in committing to cut emissions in half by 2030 and achieve Net Zero by 2050 at the latest.

The Glasgow Declaration recognizes the urgent need for a globally consistent plan for climate action in tourism.

Signatories commit to measure, decarbonize, regenerate and unlock finance. Additionally, each signatory commits to deliver a concrete climate action plan, or updated plan, within 12 months of signing.

Speaking at COP26, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili stressed that “while many private businesses have led the way in advancing climate action, a more ambitious sector-wide approach is needed to ensure tourism accelerates climate action in a meaningful way”.

He added that “the Glasgow Declaration is a tool to help bridge the gap between good intentions and meaningful climate action”.

Already, more than 300 tourism stakeholders have signed up to the Declaration, including leading industry players to destinations, countries and other tourism stakeholders ranging from large to small.

The Glasgow Declaration was developed through the collaboration of UNWTO, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Visit Scotland, the Travel Foundation and Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency, within the framework of the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme committed to accelerate sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Julia Simpson, President and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said “WTTC is delighted to be a supporter and launch partner to the Glasgow Declaration and thereby add our voice, the voice of the global private sector, to this important collective call for heightened ambition in the travel and tourism sector.

“The Glasgow Declaration is a real opportunity for travel and tourism to unite and show true leadership as we strive towards Net Zero.”

Jorge Laguna-Celis, head of the One Planet Network Secretariat, noted that “Through the Glasgow Declaration, the One Planet Network‘s Sustainable Tourism Programme offers a common platform to catalyze climate action in tourism.

“This Initiative is fundamental to create the right momentum to accelerate climate action in tourism through sustainable consumption and production.”

High-Level Climate Champion Gonzalo Muñoz posited: “As UN High-Level Climate Action Champions, we warmly welcome the Glasgow Declaration and recognise the efforts of the over 300 Launch Partners.

“This is a pivotal step, aligning the tourism sector on our Race to Zero campaign’s goal of halving emissions by 2030 and achieving Net Zero by 2050 at the latest.”

The launch event at COP26 featured a panel discussion underscoring the importance of increased climate action and ambition in the tourism sector.