A new initiative set to launch in early 2023 aims to help the
travel tech community take action on climate change. The Travel
Foundation will introduce TravelTech4Transformation (TT4T) this week
Phocuswright Conference in Phoenix.
Who better to tackle the challenge than travel tech innovators - “disruptors of the
status quo” - who will “create the systems and
solutions that will underpin new models of tourism?” says Jeremy
of the Travel Foundation and chair of the Future of Tourism Coalition.
The announcement coincides with the United Nations’ annual climate change conference, COP 27. World leaders and activists have gathered in Egypt this week to address a range of topics including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and financing climate action in developing countries.
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Sampson says, “We urge governments at COP and beyond to coordinate globally and consider what is fair in terms of who pays for this huge investment, and what is equitable in terms of optimizing global travel distribution.”
The global TT4T initiative aims to engage the travel tech
community in developing new solutions, which will be pilot-tested and refined through destination-level partners.
“We see huge opportunities for those who can offer new solutions that support the drive towards more resilient, future-proofed businesses and destinations,” Sampson adds.
The Travel Foundation is building on the findings of its upcoming report, “Envisioning Tourism in 2030,” to be released in the new year. The research reveals that halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2050 would take “a global coordinated response,” and it would require policymakers to make “trillion-dollar investments” in the greenest forms of transportation and limit most pollution.
If the will is there, I believe the complexity can be overcome, and the money can be found. Unfortunately, we are fighting against the status quo.
Jeremy Sampson - the Travel Foundation
With global tourism set to double from 2019 to 2050, “current strategies that rely solely on carbon offsetting, technological efficiencies and biofuels are woefully inadequate,” according to the fundings. “Such measures alone will fail to meet the Paris Agreement-aligned goals to halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.”
The report “sets out the stark realities but also the opportunities,” Sampson says.
“We need to go from a steep increase in greenhouse gas emissions to a steep decline, and from doubling emissions by 2050 (business as usual) to net zero by 2050,” Sampson continues. “This requires nothing short of a transformation, with new systems, incentives and tourism products.
“If the will is there, I believe the complexity can be overcome,
and the money can be found. Unfortunately, we are fighting against the status
quo,” Sampson continues.
“However, I’m optimistic that even those who are fully ‘part of
the system’ are now realizing the level of change required to operate
successfully in a future where weather patterns and growth patterns are facing
uncertainty. And if we build a better system, we can make that transition
easier, build in more resilience and leave status quo in the dust.”
The Travel Foundation is a global nonprofit that works with
governments, businesses and communities to manage tourism in a way that benefits
communities and the environment. Founded in 2003, the foundation has since worked
in more than 30 countries.
The report will be published by the Travel Foundation in
collaboration with Centre of Expertise
Leisure, Tourism & Hospitality (CELTH), Breda University of Applied
Sciences, the European Tourism Futures Institute and the Netherlands Board of
Tourism and Conventions, and with input from businesses, tourism destinations
and other stakeholders.
The team behind the report used “systems modelling” to explore
future scenarios for global travel and tourism. They found only one decarbonization
scenario could match current growth forecasts.
“The scenario is achieved through trillion-dollar investments in all
available decarbonization measures and by prioritizing trips which can reduce
emissions most readily – for instance those by road and rail,” the study reveals.
“Some limits must also be applied to aviation growth until it is fully able to
decarbonize, in particular capping the longest-distance trips to 2019 levels.”
comprised just 2% of all trips in 2019 but are the most polluting by far, according to the report. If
left unchecked, long-distance trips will account for 41% of tourism’s total
emissions (up from 19% in 2019) yet still just 4% of all trips.
“It’s clear that business as usual for tourism is neither desirable nor
viable,” says Menno Stokman, director at CELTH.
“Current decarbonization strategies will reach net zero far too late,” Stokman
says. “So we must reshape the system. … Huge investment will get us there
within a decade for shorter-distance trips. But for long-haul we need more time,
and we should take this into account as tourism plans its future.”
Susanne Etti, global environmental impact manager
at adventure tour company Intrepid Travel, says the research “clearly shows the
need to plan now for a resilient low-carbon tourism sector.”