Leading travel and tourism organisations publish ‘Nature Positive’ report

by: Mark Caswell | April 23, 2024

WORLDWIDE: A new landmark ‘Nature Positive’ report has been published setting out the hospitality industry’s plans to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.

Launched to coincide with Earth Day 2024, the “Nature Positive Travel & Tourism in Action” report is a collaboration between the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the World Tourism Organisation (UN Tourism) and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance.

The report serves as the tourism sector’s pledge to support the implementation of the UN’s Biodiversity Plan, officially known as the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

The framework was adopted in 2022, and has four overarching goals to be achieved by 2050 – halting human-induced species extinction, the sustainable use of biodiversity, equitable sharing of benefits, and adequate means of implementing the framework being accessible to all parties.

The 55-page report is split into four chapters, starting with the business case for why travel & tourism and nature need each other, citing data showing that more than 80 per cent of the value of travel & tourism’s goods and services relies on nature’s resources and ecosystems.

Chapter 2 focuses on Where We Are Now, with a global review conducted by UN Tourism revealing that governments are increasingly sympathetic to the principles of Nature Positive Tourism.

A section on hotels here shows that while 65 per cent currently have targets on carbon reduction, and around 40 per cent have goals on water stewardship and waste reduction, less than 10 per cent have targets around areas including biodiversity and endangered spieces.

Chapter 3 sets out a roadmap for businesses to embrace the Nature Positive Tourism approach, with numerous case studies looking at areas including biodiversity benchmarking, integrated auditing solutions and urban greening in action.

Finally, chapter 4 examines national tourism policies, with key actions including strengthening compliance by raising awareness of environmental impacts caused by tourism, and incorporating tourism into national biodiversity strategies.

The report concludes that “while Travel & Tourism clearly has a tremendous motivation to do the right thing, it is far from realising the dream of greener tourism”, with a gap remaining “between intention and action, words and deeds”.

Glenn Mandziuk, CEO of the Sustainable Hotel Alliance CEO, said that the report was “a milestone for Travel and Tourism, representing our commitment as an industry to protect and conserve nature”, while Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, commented:

“This historic partnership with Travel & Tourism heavyweights is a significant step in our collective journey towards a more sustainable and responsible sector.

“This report is not merely a publication but a movement towards integrating environmental stewardship into the core of travel experiences.

“As we celebrate Earth Day, let us heed the call to nurture and protect our destinations. Our sector’s reliance on nature, coupled with our expertise in creating inspiring and memorable experiences, means we are ideally placed to be ‘Guardians of Nature’.”

To read the report in full, click here.

Photo by Marek Okon on Unsplash