Earth Day 2016: Thoughts from the ICTP President Geoffrey Lipman

HAWAII, USA; BRUSSELS, Belgium; VICTORIA, Seychelles; BALI, Indonesia – The first Earth Day back in 1970 had a famous slogan, “We have caught sight of the Enemy and he is Us.” Four decades later, we finally have a global 2030 Sustainability Plan (the SDGs) and 2050 Climate Resilience framework in the making. Make no mistake, this is the start of an incredibly massive measuring, regulating, and market making process that stretches into every aspect of human activity.

But in all of the 17 SDGs with 169 Targets and 304 Indicators (already) only 1 is existential – repeat existential – Climate Change. If we don’t fix that our grandchildren get battered by weather and planetary upheavals that are so savage, unpredictable and continuous that nothing else really matters. The IPCC scientists say that we need to get to a stabilized temperature of no more than 20 C by 2050 but the smart money says 1.50.

This is not yet on the global action radar screen and the Travel & Tourism world is behind the sustainability leadership curve – despite the fact that our core products are so exposed and vulnerable to extreme weather, natural disasters and resource debilitation. These are the very patterns that Climate Change is increasingly delivering, with much of the pain focused on prime tourism locations.

ICTP intends to play its part in the industry response by refocusing its Green Growth and Quality activity on Climate Resilience. Working with the SUN Program, we will create national chapters of interested stakeholders to help deliver model climate resilience programs at the local level. Green Growth will remain at the heart of our activity but the vector will be through Travel & Tourism impacts, in a climate resilient way.

Our main points of focus will be on Full balance sheet numbers – linking Environment and Satellite Tourism Accounting, Local level transformation – bringing global best practice into play and a No carbon 2050 Aviation Moon-shot – to ensure that air transport, our core supply system has adequate supplies of biofuels to reduce its fossil fuel demand to zero.

Our message is simply Travel & Tourism is essential – Climate Change is existential.

ICTP (International Coalition of Tourism Partners) is a grassroots travel and tourism coalition of global destinations committed to quality service and green growth. ICTP engages communities and their stakeholders to share quality and green opportunities including tools and resources, access to funding, education, and marketing support. The coalition advocates sustainable aviation growth, streamlined travel formalities, fair coherent taxation, and investments for jobs. ICTP supports the UN Millennium Development Goals, the UN World Tourism Organization’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, and a range of programs that underpin them. For more information go to or contact email

Council members include Brand USA, the Seychelles Tourism Board, Reunion Island Tourism, Rwanda Tourism Development Board, and Johannesburg Tourism. ICTP has more than 90 destination members around the globe.