World tourism: “we must reduce the carbon emissions”

During the event “Transform tourism for the climate action” hosted yesterday at the COP25 in Madrid, representatives of the governments of Spain, France, Argentina and the Seychelles, leader by the World Organization of Tourism, have presented the report “Transport and emissions of CO2 on the tourist sector”.

Ovais Sarmad, who is part of the organization of the summit, has said that tourism sector “is an economical locomotive” that in 2018 represented the 10% of the global GDP. Although tourism has positive aspects such as the generation of millions of jobs, in terms of climate change the sector is causing serious effects since it represents 8% of the emissions of greenhouse gases.

The executive director of the WTO (World Trade Organization), Manuel Butler, has wanted to remark the words of Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, during the open ceremony of the COP25, when he empathized that what the summit need is “no more speeches of climate about climate change, but plans to change it”. The specialist says that the challenge is that, whiòe carbon emissions need to be reduced, the tourism sector keeps growing.

According to Brigitte Collet, French ambassador for climate change, in a sector that represents one out of ten jobs in the world, it is necessary to integrate tourism with national strategies. France is the first touristic country in the world since 1980, and her representative said that hosting more people shouldn’t mean avoiding to apply the Paris Agreement. For her, initiatives like One Planet, represent an example of how to implement social and environmental tourism practices; “These practices want to revert what we have done until now and to turn from measuring the economics to valuing the sustainability of the sector”, she commented.

The archipelago that forms the Seychelles, situated in the Indian Ocean, is an example of the beauty of nature and culture. It is visited by 350.000 tourists every year who would like to enjoy the coral reef and clean seas. However, as the representatives said, the beautiful islands could disappear if they we don’t take resilient initiatives and if we don’t incentive sustainable practices.

In Spain, the tourism industry represents the main economic area. For this reason, according to what the Secretary of tourism of Spain said, it is necessary that this sector keeps growing in a way as to protect the environment, reduce the emissions of CO2 and promote sustainability. Governments affirm that since now they want to work to develop rules which are in accordance with to the Agenda 2030, hence rules that will inevitably be influenced by economic, social and environmental sustainability. States intend to shift to “a new tourism that doesn’t compromise the world for the future generations”. The report presented at the side event with the help of the International Forum of Transports, reveals the need to increase the efforts to transform the current tourism system. According to Butler, the COP25 represents the chance to demonstrate the effective engagement of the tourism industry in the promotion of sustainability.

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