WTTC urges greater collaboration on climate change policies


LONDON, UK – The world’s leading private-sector travel and tourism businesses have urged climate change policymakers at all levels to consult more widely with them. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) believes that governments continue to mistakenly disparage the industry over greenhouse gas emissions. And yet have made little attempt to consult with it in drawing up climate change policies.

WTTC has, therefore, published a series of recommendations following consultation with industry and other stakeholders. It provides a framework for true partnership in the creation of policies that address climate change, while allowing travel and tourism to prosper.

The recommendations in “Climate Change: A Joint Approach to Addressing the Challenge” highlight the need for a policy framework conducive to the sustainable development of the industry while decoupling growth from increased greenhouse gas emissions.

“The travel and tourism industry needs to grow as it is a major generator of jobs and global GDP; and this growth must be sustainable. However, the industry needs strong leadership and support from governments to address climate change. This document was developed through a concerted collaborative effort by leaders in travel and tourism, experts, and WTTC environment initiative partners including the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO),” said Jean-Claude Baumgarten, President and CEO for WTTC.

The recommendations outline the need for:

• Industry dialogue and increased private public partnerships to develop cost-effective mitigation and adaptation strategies

• A level playing field free from restrictions on trade and intellectual property rights’ infringements – essential for green investments to be valued positively and deployed effectively

• Policies which harness the power of the market and its agents to drive innovation in climate change mitigation and adaptation measures

• Financing and investment in measures to encourage low-carbon travel and tourism operations

• Clear messages to consumers communicating the scale of the global threat while at the same time empowering citizens to effect change

“This publication is timely with the impending United Nations Climate Change Conference COP16 kicking off at the end of the month in Cancun. It is an added message to governments that the travel and tourism industry and WTTC are ready and willing to work with them on shaping policies and measures beneficial for sustainable growth,” Baumgarten continued.

The guidelines were developed around the five central themes of WTTC’s “Leading the Challenge on Climate Change” report launched in 2009. The report listed ten key action items for the industry. One of the main commitments in “Leading the Challenge on Climate Change” was an aspiration to reduce 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2035 over 2005 levels. Endorsed by a large number of WTTC members, this commitment to action was an unprecedented step for the industry.