The tourism sector is highly vulnerable to climate change, and at the same time contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases, which cause global warming. According to UNWTO/ITF latest research, emissions from tourism are forecasted to increase by 25% by 2030 from 2016 levels. Therefore, the need to scale up climate action in tourism remains urgent and of utmost importance for the resilience of the sector.
Over the last two years, the tourism sector has increasingly come together to deliver the action necessary to address the shared challenge of climate change. As the voice of European Regions committed to sustainability, it is essential NECSTouR plays a key role.
Climate Action offers a huge strategic opportunity for the regions to show leadership, highlight existing good practices across our network and build on them to help address climate change in tourism and ensure our sector plays a key role in this journey. The solutions are good for our visitors, communities, destinations and our planet. Delivering them supports and can help drive our mission of destination competitiveness and sustainability.
In November 2021, NECSTouR was a founding signatory of the Glasgow Declaration for a Decade of Climate Action in Tourism. Launched at the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow, this initiative is now the largest and most representative coalition of stakeholders across tourism working together on climate action. All signatories support the global commitment to halve emissions by 2030 and reach Net Zero as soon as possible before 2050. They commit to delivering a Climate Action Plan within 12 months, focussed on five pathways for action - Measure, Decarbonise, Regenerate, Collaborate and Finance.
Earlier in 2021, NECSTouR joined the Tourism Declares community, recognising the urgent need to address climate change if we are to ensure the long-term survival of our industry and the many benefits it brings for businesses, visitors and communities. The same day, June 14 2021, the European Commission adopted a series of legislative proposals entitled ‘Fit for 55’, setting out how it intends to achieve climate neutrality in the EU by 2050, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared with 1990.
Climate Action describes the efforts to measure and reduce GHG emissions and strengthen adaptive capacity to climate induced impacts, and these efforts are strategically embodied by the delivery of detailed Climate Action Plans.
This Climate Action Plan delivers on NECSTouR’s commitments as a signatory of the Glasgow Declaration, and aligns our actions with the EU Transition Pathway for Tourism* and ‘Fit for 55’.
The purpose of this Climate Action Plan is to support and accelerate climate action by European regional destinations.
*NECSTouR will officially commit to the TTP online survey on topics numbers 6, 8 and 12, directly in connection with the climate action plan presented in this document.
In order to achieve our three objectives, the actions developed and implemented by NECSTouR will be focused on:
- Support NECSTouR members engaging in climate action at a regional level through an online Knowledge Hub.
- Promote members’ good practice.
- Facilitate NECSTouR and members’ advocacy and fundraising in EU Institutions.
- Enhance collaboration with partners, experts and within - and between - EU regions.
- Position NECSTouR as a connector between the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism and the implementation of the relevant EU Pathways.
- Publish commitments for NECSTouR at an organisational level.
- Track and report NECSTouR organisational and member progress in developing climate action aligned to the commitments of the Glasgow Declaration.
- Deliver on NECSTouR’s commitments made as a signatory of the Glasgow Declaration and Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency
As this is NECSTouR’s first Climate Action Plan, we have prioritised two initial Key Actions to be taken in year one, in order to get started on a multiyear strategy towards targets for 2030 and 2050.
KEY ACTION 1: LAUNCH CLIMATE ACTION KNOWLEDGE HUB
Our main focus for 2022-2023 is to support member efforts through the launch of an online Knowledge Hub at the NECSTouR.eu website (OBJECTIVE 1 and OBJECTIVE 2). This data-supported platform will support regional destination management and climate action by building a database of regularly updated / up to date guidance and information, including:
- Climate literacy and basic knowledge about climate change, biodiversity and regenerative practices as applicable to tourism.
- EU environmental regulations to increase understanding and support the implementation of the Pathway.
- Environmental data and indicators in coordination with ToT Lab to support the implementation of Climate Action Plans.
- Links to members’ published Climate Action Plans, as well as other relevant plans, to serve as a research tool and for promotion of member best practice.
- Green procurement implementation in tourism.
- Destination focussed, and Glasgow Declaration aligned, methodologies and tools for: - Assessing climate-related risks and issues - Measuring emissions of all greenhouse gases - Measuring resilience, regeneration and adaptation
- Green procurement implementation in tourism.
- Regular webinars featuring members, representatives of other destinations, global and regional experts in climate and tourism.
- Best practice database, with examples of regional climate action across Europe and the rest of the world as relevant to European regions.
To support the delivery of the Knowledge Hub and to ensure members are fully aware of how they can benefit, we will run a series of webinars across the year bringing in relevant sector experts to explore different thematic areas.
We will work with our members, and leverage our relationships across the EU and with the UNWTO, CPMR, Travel Foundation, ETOA and European institutions to source and present relevant and useful content.
KEY ACTION 2: PUBLISH ORGANISATIONAL EMISSIONS POLICIES
As a Supporter Organisation signatory to the Glasgow Declaration, our core focus is on supporting our members to engage in climate action. However, it is important that we lead by example and we also are committed to aligning our own organisational emissions.
In order to achieve this within the time frame of the Declaration’s commitments, and in order to support the delivery of OBJECTIVE 3, we will develop a policy over the following 12 months for measuring, reducing, compensating for and reporting our own operational emissions and those related to any events that we organise.
This policy will prioritise green procurement for all NECSTouR official activities, and will address compensation for residual emissions by financing Nature based Solutions in member regions,