Thu 5 June 2008 – To coincide with World Environment Day, the UN’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) today published its 2008 report ‘Climate Change and Tourism, Responding to Global Challenges’, which it developed in cooperation with the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). UNWTO is also to collaborate with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to promote ICAO’s new air travel carbon calculator.
The 268-page report, says UNWTO, is to provide a basis for the tourism sector to address global climate change and suggests ways to develop practical tools that can be used by tourism policy-makers and managers to foster the sustainable growth of the industry.
It has a technical section that analyzes the relationship between tourism and climate change, the impact of climate change at destinations, the adaptation options and strategies, as well as the implications for tourism demand patterns. The economic section contains the first detailed assessment ever made of GHG emissions from tourism-related activities, together with an analysis of mitigation policies and measures.
“The evidence is clear that the time is now for the tourism community to advance its strategy to address what must be considered the greatest challenge to the sustainability of tourism in the 21st century,” states the report.
UNWTO Assistant Secretary-General Professor Geoffrey Lipman said: “Our report underscores the threats and the opportunities. It confirms the fact that tourism contributes some 5% of greenhouse gasses – in line with its global impact and way below its development contribution in poor countries. It identifies institutional change directions for transport, accommodation and all tourism service providers, as well as the users – business and leisure.”
Lipman reaffirmed UNWTO’s Davos Declaration Process, made last year, which undertakes to support the UN’s Bali Roadmap and provided, he said, a broad direction for all tourism stakeholders. “Now it’s all about implementation,” he added. “We will increase our collaboration within the UN family and our efforts to bring the public and private sector’s full capacity to bear on this issue. Innovation is the big opportunity.
“In this regard, UNWTO is pleased to announce a collaborative arrangement with ICAO, whereby UNWTO will promote the application of the new ICAO Carbon Emissions Calculator, a tool for calculating CO2 emissions from air travel. The Calculator is unbiased, transparent and was vetted by the international aviation community.”
UNWTO’s Secretary-General, Francesco Frangialli, said: “We are confident of our sector’s ability to play its part in the establishment of an effective and comprehensive global climate response network. We have been working in close collaboration with UNEP and WMO for many years to analyze the impacts, the stress points and the lines for an effective response in both the long and the immediate term.
“We also know that climate change cannot be addressed without losing sight of other humanitarian and development priorities, particularly tourism’s overall contribution to economic growth and to the UN Millennium Development Goals. We are making all efforts to ensure that tourism will manage to reduce its contribution to GHG emissions at a faster rate than the growth rate of international and domestic tourist movements, thus continuing to play a key role in the fight against poverty and serve as a tool for developing countries’ economic and social growth.”
ICAO is currently in the process of developing a methodology for its Carbon Calculator. It is intended that the calculator should be used as the primary tool for calculating aviation emissions for use in the UN’s Climate Neutral Initiative. It will also be a source of data for use in carbon offset programmes.