Tourism sector responsible for 10.3% greenhouse gas emissions in APAC

Julia Simpson, President and Chief Executive Officer of WTTC

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Saudi-based Sustainable Tourism Global Center have unveiled new data detailing the climate footprint of the Travel & Tourism sector in the Asia Pacific region (APAC). According to the data, between 2010 and 2019, the APAC’s Travel & Tourism sector decoupled its economic growth from its greenhouse gas emissions.

What were the findings of the survey?

The new data for reveals the total contribution to APAC’s GDP grew on average 7.3% annually, whilst greenhouse gas emissions increased by just 4% during the same period. The data also shows how the sector’s emissions intensity continues to decrease. In 2010, for every $1 USD of the region’s Travel & Tourism GDP, the sector emitted 0.94kg of greenhouse gas emissions.

But in 2019, when travel & tourism was at its peak, this figure had dropped by more than 26% to 0.69kg, hence demonstrating the progress of changes implemented by governments and business leaders across the Asia-Pacific region to create a generally more sustainable sector.

The new data by WTTC shows that in 2019, the tourism sector was responsible for an average of just 10.3% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the Asia Pacific region. For the first time ever, this ground-breaking research can accurately report and track the impact industries within the sector have on the environment. This world first research covers 185 countries across all regions around the world and will be updated each year with the latest figures.

What were the executive remarks of the research data?

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “We are now able to give governments across the Asia-Pacific region the insights they need to make significant steps towards the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals to alter the nature of their climate footprint. The Travel & Tourism sector in the region has decoupled its economic growth from its greenhouse gas emissions and reduced its emissions intensity by an incredible 26%.”

“But while this shows progress, a lot more needs to be done. To reach our goals, we must make bigger and bolder steps to reduce our absolute emissions. Government support will be crucial in accelerating production of Sustainable Aviation Fuels which will have a significant impact on our footprint, as well as bringing more renewable energy to our national grids.”

The global findings were launched at the global tourism body’s 22nd Global Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in November this year. This research was made possible thanks to the partnership between WTTC and the Saudi-based Sustainable Tourism Global Center. Under the Saudi green Initiative, a whooping more than 60 initiatives have been launched in the past year, representing more than $186bn USD of investment in the green economy for sustainability.


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