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To better understand the current state of climate action within the adventure travel industry, The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and responsible tour operator Intrepid Travel have released a new research report.
In 2019, ATTA distributed a survey to adventure travel businesses, receiving 177 responses. The survey focused on the barriers to climate action efforts and opportunities for collective action and education.
“We felt it was important to establish a baseline understanding of industry attitudes and initiatives related to climate change mitigation and the current state of climate action within the adventure travel industry,” said Christina Beckmann, Vice President, Global Strategy for the Adventure Travel Trade Association.
Through the surveys, adventure businesses from all regions of the world shared how climate change is affecting their organization. Common themes include less predictable weather patterns, more extreme weather events, wildfires, drought and rising temperatures. Key findings from the survey also indicated that while adventure travel businesses are witnessing the impacts of climate change first-hand and feel the need to take action, they are struggling with what to do about it and where to start. In fact, almost half of all respondents do not have a climate action strategy and many don’t measure their carbon footprint.
For responding organizations with a partial or full climate action strategy in place, restructuring itineraries to rely less on fossil fuels is a top priority.
Intrepid Travel is the perfect partner for this report as a founding signatory of the Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency initiative and sharing its seven-point climate commitment with other travel companies, which is just one more step in the tour operator’s work and advocacy in the climate space. The adventure travel company has been carbon neutral since 2010 and in 2018 was recognized as the world’s largest travel B Corporation. In 2020, Intrepid Travel will become a climate-positive business, creating greater environmental benefits by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while decarbonizing through reductions in emissions from its trips and operations.
“It is the responsibility, and obligation, of businesses within the tourism industry to do whatever we can to preserve this earth for our future generations,” said James Thornton, CEO of Intrepid Travel. “If we don’t act now, there will be no travel in the decades and centuries to come. It is our hope that this report will act as a catalyst for businesses to make considered changes in the way they operate and help those in our sector realize how imperative it is to focus our efforts on carbon reduction and action amidst the climate emergency we’re now facing.”
In order to fulfill its mission to educate and professionalize the adventure travel industry, the ATTA actively engages in original research and collaborative research projects with partners. As an organization that manages global events; education and training; and destination promotion – all of which require significant worldwide travel by staff and industry members – the ATTA recognizes both the need to offset the impact on the environment, and the opportunity to lead through example. As part of its commitment to Climate Action, ATTA offsets its own staff travel and event emissions through its partnership with South Pole, a company that realizes deep decarbonisation pathways across industries based on the highest emission reduction standards.
“What this survey shows us is that ATTA has an opportunity to lead the way on education for both operators and consumers, which is something we have already started doing with our Climate Action Leadership Studio, and Neutral Together and Tomorrow’s Air programs,” said Beckmann.