Addressing climate change is now a must for any sustainable tourism programme

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The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has launched a new report that explores recent trends in sustainable tourism, as reflected by the finalists and winners of its Tourism for Tomorrow Awards programme. Analysis of the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards’ 156 finalists and 52 category winners over the past 13 years, identifies seven trends:

  • Addressing climate change is now a must for any credible sustainable tourism programme
  • There is an emerging prioritisation of sustainable tourism by urban destinations
  • More social enterprises are engaging in tourism activities
  • There is increasing recognition that people are critical for a sustainable future
  • Biodiversity conservation and protection are still top priorities
  • Standards continue to rise, backed up by measurement and monitoring

The parameters of sustainability are widening to include accessibility, consumer awareness and more technological innovation.

David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC said “For 13 years WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards programme has showcased the very best in sustainable tourism around the world.  This report shows how the landscape has evolved over this time, with standards getting higher, climate change now integral and a definition of sustainability broadening. Measurement, monitoring and reporting are now fundamental to sustainability best practice. This will become increasingly important as the sector aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

The report also identifies what is needed for a step change in sustainable tourism impact, and calls for:

  • More innovative initiatives being driven at scale.
  • Projects that cross the different tourism industries, and use the expertise of those outside of Travel & Tourism to deal with issues that companies themselves cannot solve alone
  • Sustainability that is an intrinsic part of a company’s modus operandi, not part of a separate philanthropic effort.
  • Media engagement in and coverage of sustainable tourism issues and initiatives, to push for improvements, share success stories and promote best practice.

Scowsill continued “The designation by the United Nations of 2017 as International Year of Sustainable Tourism for – Development is a unique opportunity for our sector to highlight its economic and social benefits. We need to use this opportunity to ensure that we scale up, invest in and integrate sustainability across the board. I look forward to recognising the 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Award finalists and winners at our Global Summit in Bangkok, Thailand on 26-27 April.”

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