Climate change therefore poses a risk to the tourism sector. We saw it with five Pacific islands flooded by rising seawater and now also in Jakarta, Indonesia. Forecasts indicate that by 2050, this city will be completely submerged; in fact, they have been forced to move their capital with an investment of more than 30 billion euros.
Recovering the tourism sector in high-risk areas and seeking long-term sustainable global alternatives is a priority, and this concern has also been conveyed to international tourism authorities with statements such as "Transforming towards the tourism of the future" to make the sector "more responsible, conscious and committed" and to preserve nature, culture and local communities".
The climate emergency, the loss of biodiversity and of environmental or ecosystem services, which are the processes of natural ecosystems that benefit human beings, must condition the current models and developments in our society. Key environmental resources on which we depend are at risk and science warns of our vulnerability as reflected in the current health situation. Stakeholders, including consumers, must move decisively towards change. Reducing consumption, emissions, waste and other impacts must go hand in hand with employment, the economy, compliance, health and wellbeing. We can no longer delay this just, responsible and sustainable transition, but above all, made with common sense and logic, and above all, taking into account the citizens who live in the different territories.
The controversial SDGs 8, 12 and 14 are dedicated to tourism, calling for policies and practices that generate sustainable and inclusive economic growth, responsible consumption and production, and the use of oceans and marine resources.
Likewise, SDG 13 sees the direct link between tourism and the 2030 Agenda. With an integrated target here, it mentions 'mainstreaming climate change measures into national policies, strategies and plans'. Interestingly, according to the Global Compact, almost 90% of companies working in tourism are already taking action to achieve the SDGs, with the most common ones being the reduction and mitigation of environmental impacts and the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Moving towards sustainable actions is also the line of work that institutions such as the UNWTO - UNWTO or the WTTC have set themselves with a joint programme that they are implementing to reach 2050 free of CO2 emissions. An objective shared by more than 300 industry agents who signed the Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism presented at COP26. With the support of the UNWTO, they have joined governments and destinations with the commitment to reduce emissions by half by 2030 and meet the goal of zero emissions by 2050.
But with all these efforts, manifestos, speeches and plans, what is actually being done, and is anything concrete being done to address or mitigate the impact of the effects of extreme weather events?
Surprisingly, and in a very summarised way, it was concluded that in general among institutions, authorities and companies related to tourism development, there were 'many wishes to take into consideration' but few concrete examples.
So, what now? The answers: we must look for coordinated and joint actions (states), group solutions (society), not forgetting individual solutions (society), i.e. basically awareness raising and education of the host population but also of tourists and travellers.
But will it be enough?