Euromonitor International’s Sustainable Travel Index shines a light on countries’ performance in delivering sustainable tourism, across seven key pillars. Europe continues to lead the charge, taking the top 20 positions in the ranking, whilst strong progress is made in the Americas. There is growing momentum for sustainable transformation across tourism, which coincides with the latest IPCC report that warns that the window for action is closing with no time to lose.
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Europe holds the top 20 positions of the Sustainable Travel Index in 2021, shaped by the EU Green Deal that aims for the zone to be carbon neutral by 2050. Sweden as the number one ranked country in the index is moving even faster, putting into law that it will achieve net zero emissions by 2045.
Of all the seven pillars of the index, the most progress was made in sustainable tourism demand, with the best performers moving up 18 places on average over 2016-2021. The pandemic has allowed countries to exert greater control over destination management and create more balance between visitors and residents.
With travel accounting for at least 8% of the world’s carbon footprint, the urgency of the need to change is palpable, with defining moments at COP26 with the launch of the Glasgow Declaration and the WTTC’s Roadmap to net zero emissions for the industry.
As per the latest IPCC report, climate change, biodiversity and nature are interdependent. The challenges of biodiversity loss caused by climate change must be addressed simultaneously. Countries like Colombia are crafting a bio-economy that puts nature first.
A new tourism paradigm is being embraced by countries such as New Zealand, adopting a regenerative tourism model – steeped in local values, putting local communities and the environment first – promising to give back substantially more than it takes.
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