“We have delayed action for too long, and as a result, our options have narrowed. This assessment should act both as wakeup call and motivation to act. There is huge opportunity for travel and tourism in a decarbonising world, but we must act with urgency and unite in our vision for a “good” transition.”
An essential read — be interested to hear what others in the industry think.
👇 Direct link to the PDF report:
Thank you for sharing!
Welcome. It’s a very interesting read. Should have come out twenty years ago!
I read this (ironically) on a short-haul flight today. My first flight in ~12 months to attend my first Travel Massive event in 3 years. I live on an island and although I have sailed and ferried the 250km stretch of sea between Tasmania and Melbourne, an Airbus A320 does the job better. Sorry, planet!
A few initial thoughts:
1. This report is a fantastic read and it's undeniable that the tourism industry needs to take ownership of its impact on climate change. The problem is: there's not really a "tourism industry". There's a hotel industry. There's an aviation industry. There's a train industry. There's a tours industry. And so on. There's no single organisational body of what we call the "travel / tourism industry", and even if an organisation claims to be that thing, it is not. We're an ecosystem of many inter-related industries. This is problematic when it comes to tackling an existential threat, because nobody can truly be in charge.
2. I found it interesting that the report doesn't mention the relationship with commercial aviation and freight. A big part of airline's business is what goes underneath the passengers. Some things like Tulips and live lobsters probably don't need to be airlifted across the globe, so that should end. But other things, like life-saving parts of medicine (such as special eggs to make vaccines) need to fly. Bottom line: if commercial aviation is curbed, it will have an impact on supply chains that we don't know about. To accurately model aviation and climate change, we need to factor both freight and passengers in a coupled model. Without passengers, freight gets a lot more expensive (as we learned during the pandemic) and could have unindented consequences for many parts of our lives.
3. This report is a decade late, and we should have been on to this years ago. Kicking the can down the road with more reports is not going to end well for anyone living in 2100. I would expect that if we have any chance of making real changes to carbon emissions, tourism is going to have to undergo some unpopular changes. For example, in the aviation industry: hard limits on checked-in luggage (do you really need 5 pairs of shoes), a ban on mileage runs, and removing the system that forces airlines to fly empty flights to preserve their slots at airports. Antarctic travel could be banned entirely, or other kinds of elite sight-seeing.
4. Tourism should not be the scapegoat for taking climate action. It's easy to point at airplanes in the sky and blame us all for climate change. But what about the hundreds of millions of cars (even electric) that are being produced, the buildings and concrete of urban and city expansion, and growing consumption of meat and seafood? These are demands we're putting on the planet without travelling — and there's a big chance that even if we can't travel we'll spend our money on something else just as damaging that has been greenwashed.
5. AR and VR. Yes I'm going here but we're only a few years from some revolutionary changes in how we use computers and interact with people. If I can put on my Apple glasses and kick back in my couch and hang out with my friends in different cities as if they are sitting right there in my living room, then that's a lot of physical travel that just got made redundant. Virtual travel will reduce the frequency of physical travel.
Thanks again for sharing, Stuart!
Thank you for sharing a report!