The number of signatories to the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism has passed the 500-mark, just four months after the landmark initiative was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26, November 2021). Coinciding with International Mother Earth Day, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has announced that Expedia Group, Booking Holdings and Condé Nast have become the latest signatories, joining stakeholders of all sizes and from every part of the diverse sector.
The signatures of three of the sector’s biggest names underscores tourism’s determination to accelerating climate action at every level and reflects the shared commitment of both big businesses and small stakeholders to work towards a common goal. All signatories of the Glasgow Declaration commit to the decarbonization of tourism operations and to restore and protect ecosystems, helping visitors and host communities experience better balance with nature. “Rebalancing our relationship with nature is critical to regenerating both its ecological health and our personal, social and economic well-being”, the Declaration states.
The 538 signatories of the Glasgow Declaration include all types of stakeholders, among them DRV German Travel Association, Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, PATA and Hostelling International; tour operators as EXO Travel, and Europa Mundo Vacaciones; accommodation providers such as The Cayuga Collection; DMOs such as Turismo de Portugal, Turisme de Barcelona, West Sweden Tourist Board, London & Partners, Destination Québec Cité and many more. All adhere to the guiding principle of restoring nature as a “key to our sector’s recovery from the pandemic, as well as its future prosperity and resilience”.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “It is time to act. Tourism must prosper in harmony with nature, and the number and variety of businesses, destinations and other organizations signing up to the ambitious Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action shows our sector is committed to doing better. I am delighted to welcome Expedia Group, Booking Holdings and Condé Nast as the newest signatories.”
Collaboration across stakeholders is key to ensure that the necessary skills, tools and knowledge are available among service providers, host communities and tourists so that they can deliver change. Among the priorities of the Glasgow Declaration for 2022 is to deliver guidance on measurement of emissions and climate action planning with support from working groups.
“The need to address the damaging effects of climate change has become more urgent than ever before, which is why our Climate Action Plan includes ambitious targets, based on the latest scientific guidance, to achieve near-zero emissions for our own operations by 2030, and net-zero by 2040,” said Glenn Fogel, Chief Executive Officer of Booking Holdings. “Committing to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and Net Zero Standard, and now signing the Glasgow Declaration, is critical to ensure that climate action is supporting science and the Paris Agreement to change the trajectory of the current crisis.”
“We are proud to become a signatory of the Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism as part of a concerted effort with our partners and peers to progress a more sustainable travel industry,” said Peter Kern, CEO and Vice Chairman, Expedia Group. “As a travel company, we have the privilege of bringing people all around the world together every day. And as more people travel, we also have a responsibility to shift towards more sustainable operations to lessen our overall footprint and equip our travelers with sustainable options that match their values. We’re enhancing the visibility travelers have into their impact and offering more responsible choices. The industry must work together to help safeguard the future of travel for generations to come.”
The Glasgow Declaration was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26. It is a voluntary commitment which requests organizations to support halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2050 at the latest; to deliver climate action plans (or update existing plans) within 12 months from becoming signatories and implement them; to align their plans with five pathways, namely: measure, decarbonize, regenerate, collaborate and finance; to report publicly on progress made implementing those commitments; and to work on a collaborative spirit.
The Glasgow Declaration is led by UNWTO in collaboration with the Travel Foundation and within the framework of the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme. A full list of Signatories can be found here.
The One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme aims to accelerate sustainable consumption and production (SCP) in tourism policies and practices to address the challenges of pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change. It promotes knowledge sharing and networking opportunities to define collective priorities and identify solutions. Under its umbrella, initiatives such as the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative and the Global Roadmap on Food Waste Reduction in Tourism are implemented. The One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme is led by UNWTO, with the governments of France and Spain as co-leads and in collaboration with UNEP.