The UNWTO has held an event in Kazakhstan to discuss ways the tourism industry can help combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions.
Industry leaders and policy-makers convened in the Kazakh capital Astana during the World Expo for the “Tourism and Future Energy” event, which included discussions on how to reduce and mitigate CO2 emissions in areas such as transport, accommodation and destination management. This is in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“One of the fastest-growing economic sectors nowadays, tourism represents 10% of the world’s GDP, 7% of global exports and one in every 10 jobs. But with growth comes responsibility as we work towards building a better future for a people and planet of prosperity and peace,” said UNWTO secretary general, Taleb Rifai.
“Tourism is estimated to account for 5% of global atmospheric CO2 emissions. We need to move towards a truly green tourism economy where growth is decoupled from environmental or cultural degradation,” he added.
The event was organised in partnership with Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Culture & Sports.
“Tourism is a priority for Kazakhstan. Tourism is a driver of socio-economic development and we plan to increase the share of GDP from 1% to 8% by 2025,” said Askar Mamin, first Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, who has requested UNWTO’s support to develop a sustainable tourism sector.
Curbing emissions, improving energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy and sustainable practices were underlined as key elements to ensuring tourism’s contribution to the Paris Agreement.