The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) launched today “A Net Zero Roadmap For Travel & Tourism,” a new report providing guidelines and recommendations aimed at decarbonizing the sector as quickly as possible, with the goal of reaching reach net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. WTTC is a global body representing the travel and tourism sector and its numerous industries.

The roadmap, developed in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and Accenture, is targeted primarily at private sector stakeholders, in industries including accommodations, tour operators, aviation, cruise, and online travel agencies (OTAs) & travel agencies (TAs).

According to WTTC, the travel & tourism sector is greatly impacted by climate change as it affects destinations around the world, but it is also responsible for an estimated 8-10% of global GHG emissions. WTTC stated that the sector, therefore, has a key role to play in fighting climate change, which will require heightened ambitions and differentiated decarbonization 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. Many destinations are affected by the impacts of climate change with rising sea levels, deforestation, and the loss of animal and plant species. Communities that rely on tourism are first in line to see the impact and wanting to do something about it.”

The new roadmap presents a new target framework with decarbonization corridors, which groups travel & tourism businesses into three clusters, depending on their emission profiles and the difficulty of abating their GHG emissions. The roadmap includes key decarbonization levers for five key industries, including accommodation, tour operators, aviation, cruise, and tourism intermediaries such as online travel agents (OTAs) and metasearch engines.

WTTC outlined several recommendations for businesses, including setting baselines and emission targets to achieve individual and sector goals, monitor and report progress regularly, collaborate within and across industries and government, provide finance and investment required for the transition, and Raise awareness and build knowledge and capabilities on climate change.

Simpson, added:

“The Travel & 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 we 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.”

The roadmap also calls upon world leaders to give travel & tourism the same level of support offered to other sectors, providing 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.

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.”

Click here to view the WTTC roadmap.