For tourism destinations and companies who have been following COP 26 – the annual meeting of world governments coordinate a global response to the climate emergency – and the recent introduction of the Glasgow Agreement by the One Planet network, ATTA provides access to knowledge to advance best practices along with simple tools that can be used today to help mitigate unavoidable carbon dioxide emissions.
Available now to businesses are two Climate Action Tools, one which supports carbon offsetting at affordable rates; a second, focused on carbon removal with permanent storage to help clean up legacy emissions:
- Neutral Together is a carbon offsetting bulk purchase program for Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) members (learn more). Participants pool their emissions along with those of others in the industry and receive a lower per ton price than they would individually. Participants can use the carbon calculator developed by South Pole in collaboration with the ATTA or any carbon calculator of their choice, and gain access to helpful marketing tools and the Neutral Together badge.
- Tomorrow’s Air encourages travelers, travel companies, and destinations to join together to advance carbon removal with permanent storage. Individuals purchase affordable monthly memberships that help clean up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere via direct air capture provided by Climeworks and store it permanently. Company and destination partnerships fund carbon removal and permanent storage alongside inspiring education campaigns to help raise awareness for the cause and company commitments. Unlike conventional carbon offsetting tools that tie a company’s commitment to calculated emissions, Tomorrow’s Air invites all travel stakeholders to chip in at an affordable flat fee against stored, legacy emissions.
The combination of Neutral Together and Tomorrow’s Air helps companies to affordably offset new emissions and showcase their leadership in understanding the need to tackle the trillions of tons of legacy emissions stored in our atmosphere.
Tourism professionals gathering in person November 16 – 18, 2021 in Sedona, Arizona, for the ATTA’s AdventureELEVATE event, will also be able to hear first-hand the results of a new global climate study in a special session led by Dr. Paige Viren of California State University at Monterey Bay. In the session, Dr. Viren will share a sneak preview of the results of the first Global Study of Climate Action in Tourism. The study, led by the UNWTO in partnership with the Adventure Travel Trade Association and the group Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency, provides a baseline from which to accelerate climate action in tourism.
Dr. Viren and her colleague Dan Pilgreen guided the creation of the survey and quantitative analysis. The survey was completed by 1171 representatives from destinations, accommodation, transport and tour experience providers in 131 countries and is expected to be released later this year.
In the interactive session at AdventureELEVATE, Dr. Viren will be joined by Ivan Eskildsen, the Minister of Tourism of Panama. Panama is a country whose adoption of a sustainable tourism Master Plan policy and commitment to climate action sets a benchmark for others to follow. Mr. Eskildsen commented recently, “We are utilizing our five-year Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism as a roadmap for the decentralized development of the industry, and to reach the discerning traveler, a segment that has been quantified at over 500 million travelers worldwide, and growing at a fast pace. We’re reimagining our approach to sustainability through tourism by investing in our country’s vibrant and unique attributes, while empowering local communities to help sustain our carbon-negative status. Panama is one of only three countries in the world to have reached this standing.”
The findings reveal that a large percentage of travel businesses lack a climate action strategy and are not measuring their emissions. This signals an important opportunity for businesses to advance their climate strategies, especially as signs of tourism’s strong recovery are clear: Skyscanner, a travel booking site, reported an 800 percent spike in bookings the day after President Biden’s announcement that vaccinated foreign travelers would be allowed to enter the United States. Looking past the immediate future, the aviation industry predicts that by 2050, over 10 billion passengers will be carried by air some 22 trillion kilometres.
While the uptick in bookings and flights represents needed revenue for tourism businesses and destinations, it also signals an increase in dangerous carbon dioxide emissions is on the horizon. Join the conversation at AdventureELEVATE and access ATTA tools to help as you consider your company’s way forward.