In November last year at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, or COP26, influential leaders in travel and tourism signed the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, a commitment to cut emissions in half by 2030 (and reach net zero by 2050). It’s a big deal involving some big names (including VisitScotland, Norway, and Skyscanner). Intrepid Travel’s cofounder and chairman Darrell Wade—who participated in a recent AFAR Live conversation devoted to sustainability—told the New York Times: “It’s the first time I’ve seen real concrete commitments from industry and governments.”
So what are those commitments? How will the industry show up at this crucial time? We posed follow-up questions to our AFAR Live panelists and their partner organizations, all thought leaders, to explore what it will take to move from idea to action.
Darrell Wade, cofounder and chairman of Intrepid Travel; vice chairman at World Travel and Tourism Council overseeing all of its sustainability efforts
Gavin Landry, the EVP of the Americas for VisitBritain, committed to responsible travel to the United Kingdom
Patrick O’Meara, interim CEO of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance
Denise Naguib, VP of Sustainability and Supplier Diversity, Marriott International (featured in the AFAR Live panel)
These interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.
In the aftermath of the Glasgow Declaration, how will your organization respond?
Darrell Wade: For Intrepid, the Glasgow Declaration is seriously important. For too long our industry has not been taking its responsibility seriously enough. As an industry, travel and tourism accounts for more than 8 percent of global emissions. Sure, we talk and say fine words, but what is actually needed is solid commitments and actions that can be verified through measurement. The Glasgow Declaration provides such a platform. Specifically, Intrepid will help our industry colleagues understand what’s involved and how to enact carbon reduction plans. We’ve got a lot of experience and expertise in this space.
Gavin Landry: Environmental policy is a key priority for the U.K. government, as outlined in its Green Industrial Revolution 10-point plan and the U.K.’s targets to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. Hosting the recent COP26 in Glasgow provided an opportunity to reaffirm the U.K.’s commitments to climate action on the global stage.
This is an excerpt from an article by AFAR Editors, originally published by AFAR.