a lake in the shape of human footprints in the middle of a lush forest

LONDON — The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Saudi-based Sustainable Tourism Global Centre have revealed the climate footprint of North America’s travel-and-tourism sector.

Between 2010 and 2019, the sector decoupled its economic growth from its greenhouse-gas emissions. The new data for the region, which covers the U.S., Canada and Mexico, reveals the total contribution to North America’s GDP grew roughly 3.1 per cent annually, while greenhouse-gas emissions increased by just 1.2 per cent during the same period.

In 2010, for every USD$1 of the region’s GDP, the sector emitted 0.53kg of greenhouse-gas emissions. But in 2019, this figure dropped by 15 per cent to 0.45kg, demonstrating the progress of changes implemented by governments and business leaders to create a more sustainable sector. Overall, the data shows that the sector was responsible for just 9.3 per cent of total greenhouse-gas emissions in North America.

“We are now able to give governments across North America the comprehensive information they need to make significant steps towards the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” says Julia Simpson, president & CEO, WTTC. “The travel-and-tourism sector in the region has decoupled its economic growth from its greenhouse-gas emissions and reduced its emissions intensity by 15 per cent. But while this shows progress, a lot more needs to be done. To reach our goals and ambitions, we must make bigger and bolder steps to reduce our absolute emissions. And for this we need government support in accelerating the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuels, which will have a significant impact on our footprint, as well as bringing in more renewable energy to our national grids.”


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