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European Tourism Association declares climate emergency

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European Tourism Association declares climate emergency
Written by Harry S. Johnson

The European Tourism Association (ETOA) and its partners are planning for a sustainable future and have declared a Climate Emergency.

ETOA’s Board has accepted IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) advice and the emissions reduction targets based on it and are pledging to examine the organization’s environmental footprint and encouraging members to develop their own climate action plans.

While managing the Covid-19 crisis and ensuring that tourism remains central to recovery plans are ETOA’s top priority for its members, right now, ETOA believes that the largest long-term challenge for the tourism sector is sustainability and climate-imposed adaptation across the industry is unavoidable.

Tourism is based on discretionary spend, driven by demand as much as opportunity and consumers want to know what impact their choices have.

Regulation and resources designed to achieve 2030/50 targets will bring new business conditions as well as investment.

ETOA will work with partners including Tourism Declares to promote awareness and ensure that resources are available to support a commercially successful transition.

The association believes that much of climate and environmental action is within industry control, from product development and supply chain management to energy and water efficiency. Social sustainability requires effective public-private sector collaboration for destinations to remain viable and appealing places to live, work and visit.

Tom Jenkins, CEO of ETOA said: “We are making this declaration to ensure our industry is thriving in Europe in 2030 and beyond. Long-term success will always require change, but we will continue to argue that tourism must be part of the plan, and not only seen as part of the problem. Europe needs tourism, for its job-generation, its cultural diversity, and its value-adding creativity. It promotes international collaboration and mutual understanding.

“ETOA and its partners continue to fight to ensure that tourism has a valued place at the heart of policy making. Just as safe and seamless travel is possible thanks to industry initiative during the Covid19 pandemic, so is climate-friendly tourism.

“Unprecedented levels of strategic funding are needed. Tourism can be an engine for sustainable development that supports jobs in rural and urban communities, in travel and retail, hospitality and professional services. If we act together, it will be. Tourism is a positive force. ETOA’s members represent a diverse range of organisations across Europe and its source markets.

“To support recovery, we are offering membership on a voluntary-payment basis to suitable buyers who can deliver demand to Europe’s tourism ecosystem.”

Jeremy Smith, Co-Founder of Tourism Declares said: “With the EU’s recent commitment to a 55% reduction in emissions across the continent by 2030, we are delighted to welcome this declaration from such an influential European voice as ETOA. Their partnership can help hugely as we continue developing our work with destinations and the private sector in the months leading up to COP26. Likewise, we look forward to supporting ETOA and their over 1,100 members in delivering on Europe’s commitments and their respective Climate Action Plans.”