Over two dozen ministers and government officials who met last week at the first A World for Travel forum have agreed five urgent steps towards making travel more sustainable, including offering reliable carbon offset schemes.
Acknowledging that existing carbon offset schemes – offered by just 10% of airlines – have poor credibility, they said they plan to introduce a ‘unique’ carbon footprint calculator, tax incentives and public investment in cleaner plans.
They also pointed to the need for all travel companies to set net zero targets following a 60% rise in tourism-related CO2 emissions between 2005 and 2015.
Governments will invest in sustainable tourism, and communities will also be given incentives and best practice plans to co-design tourism solutions, they said.
And businesses will be encouraged to use local suppliers, even if more expensive, to ensure that the majority of visitor spend doesn’t continue to leave the local area.
The AWFT21 forum, which attracted thousands of travel industry professionals from around the world – who appeared in person or online – heard that travel is lagging behind other industries such as fashion, food and energy in sustainable development.
A World for Travel General Secretary Christian Delom said: “COVID has revealed and acceleratedall the crises we had to face before.”
But he said teenage environmentalist Geta Thunberg couldn’t be the only voice talking about green issues.
“Greta is right, what is not right that we cannot avoid humanity and human beings, we are homo sapiens, we want to see, we want to move, we want to travel, we are to travel, we are to discover, we want to have the ability and freedom to do it.
“We must save the travel industry.”