WTTC publishes ground-breaking report on how Travel & Tourism can reverse nature loss
A report published by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), shows how the Travel & Tourism sector can play a critical role in halting and reversing the destruction of nature.
The aim of the report is to help businesses understand and manage their impact on biodiversity. It is launched ahead of the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in December, where global governments will finalise actions to transform society’s relationship with nature, offers new hope for global nature conservation.
The report – ‘Nature Positive Travel & Tourism’ – was created by WTTC in partnership with ANIMONDIAL, an advisor on animal and nature protection, and in collaboration with global businesses within the sector, has also been endorsed by Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD).
Travel & Tourism businesses are uniquely placed to take positive actions to restore nature and, through nature-based solutions and decarbonization, achieve Net Zero.
With nature tourism representing 20% of global tourism, the report shows just how crucial nature is for destinations around the world. Wildlife, a primary motivator for nature tourism, contributes $343 billion (€352bn) to the global economy every year, and supports nearly 22 million jobs around the world.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “Human activity has resulted in a devastating loss of natural habitat and biodiversity, with one in four species now facing extinction. Travel & Tourism is uniquely placed to make a real difference. Eighty percent of Travel & Tourism is highly dependent on nature so it is crucial we take a proactive role in advancing nature conservation.
“Our report comes ahead of COP15, when governments will be creating targets to protect habitats, species, and the natural environment which in turn reduces carbon. Travel & Tourism is on the front line. We are all custodians of nature.”
Essential role for tourism in preserving nature
Biodiversity is also intricately tied to other critical issues, such as climate change and emerging diseases. Addressing the loss of biodiversity is not only crucial for the sector and its resilience, but also for the global economy and society.
Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity Executive Secretary, said: “Much of the Travel & Tourism sector relies on the beauty of nature and the resources it provides. Yet, we are losing biodiversity and natural resources at an unprecedented rate.
“Travel & Tourism is in a unique position to contribute to this reversal by implementing a number of measures such as educating and raising awareness; generating revenue streams that sustain the protection, management, and restoration of ecosystems; and reducing footprint activities, amongst others.”
Although global Travel & Tourism values nature and remains committed to protecting people and planet, WTTC believes more guidance is needed on the importance of biodiversity, the key drivers of biodiversity loss, and the key components to better protect and restore it. Readers of the report will find a roadmap based on a four-phase framework with practical steps to guide the sector in adopting a Nature Positive approach: assessing operational impact, setting out a strategy, identifying essential actions, rolling out and reviewing the programme, and harnessing communication opportunities.