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  • Writer's pictureJoAnna Haugen

Tourism Declares, Future of Tourism Coalition Prepare for COP26

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

by JoAnna Haugen

Wildfires were ripping across Turkey and Greece when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its most recent report, Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis, on 9 August. This report is a “code red for humanity,” said the UN’s Secretary-General, António Guterres.

The “code red” crisis has been top of mind for both Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency and the Future of Tourism Coalition since being established separately in early 2020. The two organisations recently joined forces to help travel companies and destinations measure their carbon footprints and prepare action plans while also laying the groundwork to amplify the tourism industry’s collective voice at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), which will be hosted in Glasgow 31 October-12 November 2021.

“We have been working really closely together centrally since the outset to create full alignment on our efforts and, most importantly, I think, to reduce noise for industry stakeholders,” said Jeremy Sampson, chair of the Future of Tourism, on a recent webinar about the collaboration leading up to COP26. Depending on the COVID-19 situation, the Future of Tourism Coalition and Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency teams hope to have representation at the event.

A coalition of six non-governmental organisations that have come together

to stand united in an appeal for change

This collaboration underscores the fact that no single entity can tackle this problem alone, and working together across the industry is essential for mitigating tourism’s climate impact. “There are so many inspiring individual examples of what our industry can do, and how we can be a leader in climate action,” said Jeremy Smith, co-founder of Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency, “but we are still a long way from this being anything like standard practice.”

A global community of organisations, companies and professionals

working together to plan a better future for tourism

Nearly 300 organisations, companies, and professionals have declared a climate emergency, including several from the United Kingdom. Adventure Travel Networking was amongst the first few UK companies to declare, and Visit Scotland was the first national tourist board to declare and put a climate action plan in place.

“It seems to be a ‘no brainer’ in the face of an existential threat to humanity, for individuals, businesses, and countries, to not just declare an emergency, but to scale up action,” said Karina Moreton, co-founder and managing director of Panoramic Journeys, which has declared a climate emergency. “Being in the travel and documentary sector, we have an opportunity to bring the stories of the front line into front rooms, to empower change makers, and to inspire local action.”

About the Author

JoAnna Haugen is an award winning writer, speaker, and solutions advocate who has worked in the travel and tourism industry for almost 15 years.

She is also founder of Rooted, a solutions platform at the intersection of sustainable tourism, social impact, and storytelling.

A returned U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, international election observer, and intrepid traveler, JoAnna is always on the hunt for her next great adventure.

Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


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