Tourism is one of the most important and largest industries on the planet. Before the current covid pandemic global tourism was a 7 trillion-dollar industry . it was continuing to out-grow the global economy. Its carbon footprint accounts for nearly 8% of global emissions. If its annual growth rate returns to pre-pandemic rates, tourism-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will reach 6.5 gigatons per year by 2025.
We at Volunteering journeys recognise that tourism can have either a profoundly positive or negative impact on the planet, it’s ecosystems, it’s wildlife, and it’s people, depending on whether sustainability is put ahead of profit and short-term gains. When done right, sustainable tourism (which includes volunteer tourism) raises the profile of natural and cultural heritage, ensuring governments remain under pressure to protect it. It gives economic and political value to important wildlife habitats. It can offer an alternative income stream to local people as it employs more people worldwide than any other, with millions of families relying on tourism for their daily needs.
Rather than not travelling altogether, if we can make travelling better with more conscious and responsible ways by improving, reducing, measuring and compensating through certain practices within the travel sector we can have a direct positive impact on our planet. In-country for instance, it is relatively easy to have a low carbon impact simply by adhering to good sustainable tourism practice and prioritising small, locally-owned businesses– which also give a more enriching travel experience. Tourism can infact support economic development, protect our environment, sustain local communities and contribute to meaningful cultural exchange across the planet.
So accepting the climate crisis becoming increasingly obvious and immediate in its threat, we wanted to state publicly that we recognise the emergency, and pledge to work with the wider travel industry in tackling the need for carbon reform. That is why we are joining a growing movement to Declare A Climate Emergency.
We’ve signed up to Tourism Declares, an initiative that supports tourism businesses, organisations and individuals in declaring a climate emergency and taking purposeful action to reduce their carbon emissions as per the advice from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030.
Like all signatories, we have committed to the following five actions:
- Develop a ‘Climate Emergency Plan’ within the next 12 months, which sets out our intentions to reduce carbon emissions over the next decade.
- Share an initial public declaration of our ‘Climate Emergency Plan’, and update on progress each year.
- Accept current IPCC advice stating the need to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030 in order to keep the planet within 1.5 degrees of warming. We’ll ensure our ‘Climate Emergency Plan’ represents actions designed to achieve this as a minimum, through delivering transparent, measurable and increasing reductions in the total carbon emissions per customer arising from our operations and the travel services sold by us.
- Encourage our suppliers and partners to make the same declaration; sharing best practice amongst peers; and actively participate in the Tourism Declares community
- Advocate for change. We recognise the need for system change across the industry, and call for urgent regulatory action to accelerate the transition towards zero carbon air travel.
Please consider also declaring at www.tourismdeclares.com, and follow on @tourismdeclares on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin
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