WTTC launches Net Zero Roadmap for Travel & Tourism

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has launched what it calls ‘an ambitious and groundbreaking’ Net Zero Roadmap, to guide the global travel and tourism sector in its battle against the climate crisis.

The roadmap – developed in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and Accenture – provides concrete guidelines and recommendations to help guide the travel industry on its journey towards net zero.

By providing milestones for meaningful climate action and emissions reduction for different industries within the sector, the roadmap sets out the challenges ahead and how the sector can decarbonise and reach net zero by 2050.

This sector is greatly impacted by climate change as it affects destinations around the world, but as with many other sectors, it is also responsible greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) – in this case, an estimated 8-10% of global GHG.

The sector therefore has a key role to play in fighting climate change, which will require heightened ambitions and differentiated decarbonisation approaches, as outlined in the roadmap.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said:

I am delighted to announce our pioneering Net Zero Roadmap for Travel & Tourism. It helps travel industries reach individual targets to reduce our carbon footprint.

The travel and tourism sector is taking this opportunity to be a catalyst for change. We have a responsibility towards our people and planet. It is absolutely critical that the private and public sector work collectively to achieve the Paris Agreement and prevent the global rise in temperatures. Our sector can be part of the change that is urgently required to mitigate impacts and adapt to the threats posed by climate change.

Emily Weiss, Managing Director and Head of Accenture’s Travel Industry Group globally, said:

As the travel industry resets after a tough few years, there is an incredible opportunity to rebuild responsibly and accelerate the shift towards a net-zero future for the sector. The Net Zero Roadmap offers a pragmatic but ambitious course of action that will help the industry create real and visible targets to reduce its carbon impact, providing the transparency that consumers demand. Crucially, it identifies the big levers where travel can turn a corner on emissions and provides the building blocks to create meaningful change.

The detailed roadmap includes key decarbonisation levers and corresponding actions for five key industries of the travel and tourism sector: accommodation, tour operators, aviation, cruise, and tourism intermediaries such as online travel agents and metasearch engines.

Acknowledging that different industries face different challenges to decarbonise, the roadmap calls on businesses to increase their ambitions where possible and provides detailed recommendations for five areas:

  1. Set baselines and emission targets now to achieve individual and sector goals
  2. Monitor and report progress regularly
  3. Collaborate within and across industries and government
  4. Provide finance and investment required for the transition
  5. Raise awareness and build knowledge and capabilities on climate change.

This roadmap calls upon world leaders to give travel and tourism the same level of support offered to other sectors and gives recommendations to governments on how they can support the sector, which before the pandemic represented 10.4% of the global GDP (US$9.2 trillion), in addressing climate challenges and its goals to achieve a net zero future.

The collaborative process included key organisations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), International Air Transport Association (IATA), Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Travalyst, and SHA (Sustainable Hospitality Alliance), among others.

You can see the report in full, here.