Earlier in the summer, we discussed the travellers’ evolving expectations when it comes to the
way they travel and awareness around sustainable travel including climate impact. And the
awareness is growing but there are still deep-rooted challenges around behaviours that
need to be solved. And on the other side of the coin, let’s look at how the industry is
reacting and overall Net-Zero aspiration.
The travel & tourism industry is currently contributing to about 8% of global emissions and it
is estimated that this will be ramping up to 13% or more by 2025 as it bounces back from
the pandemic. This is by no means something to be ignored, especially as the industry itself
is highly susceptible to the impact of climate change.
The industry is starting to respond…
Thus, it is evident that the industry recognises the need for climate action and tangible
actions start to mushroom but perhaps not felt yet. Nonetheless, in recent years, there have
been more public and private initiatives with Net Zero goals being a clear focus.
The sector has committed to halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050. To help
meet the target, the Glasgow Declaration was launched at COP26 UN Climate Change
conference last year, where it aims to coordinate tangible commitment and approaches in
the sector. Decarbonisation is not a choice anymore and it’s not a ‘greenwashing’ operation.
Climate issues and initiatives have also been given centre stage in the recent World Travel
Market London. It is not a new emerging topic, but the conversations have matured over
the last few years. It has evolved from a theoretical analysis to debates around more
practical steps. The Sustainability Stage rallied around the delivery confidence of the travel
industry meeting the net zero ambition.
What is clear is the need to go beyond commitment and have a plan – a decarbonisation
roadmap. Major incumbents in the sector have woken up to the crisis and one can see some
key trends when it comes to decarbonisation approaches. Many are still in the early stages
of discovery – with large financing needs and the technologies still to be proven scalable.
Even so, is the roadmap robust enough to weather the different scenarios, mitigate key risks
and create enough impact to meet the said net zero commitment. What are the success
criteria and step-change milestones that can be tracked?
And what about the rest of the value chain? How can they embark on the journey and
define their own roadmap? Especially the smaller players with their focus on operating
margin and recovery. How can they participate in the Glasgow Declaration with confidence
We will share more details around the trends and opportunities in the next article on Travel
Climate Action, and some insights into how to start framing a decarbonisation roadmap.
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