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WTTC: Travel agencies have an important role to play in conservation: Travel Weekly

WTTC: Travel agencies have an important role to play in conservation: Travel Weekly

A World Travel & Tourism Council report (WTTC) says the travel industry can play a vital role in stopping and reversing the destruction of nature.

Titled Nature Positive Travel & Tourism, the report was created in conjunction with Animondial, which seeks to minimize the impact of tourism on animals and nature. It aims to help companies act on the urgent need to better protect biodiversity and nature.

The WTTC argues that travel and tourism businesses are “ideally placed to take positive action to restore nature and, through nature-based solutions and decarbonisation, achieve net zero”.

With nature tourism accounting for 20% of global travel, the report shows how crucial nature is to destinations around the world. Wildlife tourism alone contributes $343 billion to the global economy every year, the report says, and supports nearly 22 million jobs worldwide.

“Human activity has resulted in a devastating loss of natural habitat and biodiversity, with one in four species threatened with extinction,” WTTC CEO Julia Simpson said in a statement. “Travel and tourism is uniquely positioned to make a real difference. 80% of travel and tourism is highly dependent on nature, so it’s crucial that we play a proactive role in promoting nature conservation.”

The report outlines a four-phase framework that includes developing a strategy, identifying essential and optimal actions, rolling out and revising a program, and leveraging all communication opportunities.

The report also proposes four actions the travel industry should take in the short term: reconnecting people and nature, supporting sustainable value chains, protecting animals and their welfare, and investing in nature.

“Most of the travel and tourism companies we speak with already understand the need to include biodiversity and nature protection in their planning and reporting,” said Daniel Turner, co-founder and director of Animalworld. “But it can be a complicated area, and for many the first challenge is just knowing where to start.”

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