Fall in freshwater use in Europe & Africa despite rise in international arrivals: WTTC

WTTC introduces Water Management Action Framework
2023-12-04
/
/ New Delhi
WTTC
Fall in freshwater use in Europe & Africa despite rise in international arrivals: WTTC

Recognising the vital role of the tourism sector, WTTC has in its press statement issued a resounding call for collective action to safeguard water ecosystems

In its new report, ‘Water Roadmap for Travel & Tourism,’ WTTC underlines the increasing importance of the tourism sector to further reduce water usage and add to steps towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6, as one of the fastest expanding industries in the world.
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The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) today launched its new study, Water Roadmap for Travel & Tourism that reports total water intensity by global travel and tourism continues to decrease as the sector continues to grow.

According to the report, the travel and tourism industry consumed between 3.5 pc and 5.8 pc of the world’s freshwater supply in 2021 and 2019, respectively. The tourism industry is one of the fastest expanding industries in the world and produces one in 10 jobs worldwide that contributes 10.4 pc of the world GDP in 2019.

WTTC says that this is a lower share than other key sectors, such as agriculture and food that accounts for 70 pc of global water usage. It adds that however, there is more work to be done as growing water scarcity has become one of the most pressing challenges for sustainable development.

The statement adds that over 2.2 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water today, while 4.2 billion do not have access to safe sanitation services, making it an essential asset that must be protected.

In view of this, WTTC highlights the opportunities within the sector to further reduce water usage and take further steps towards the SDG 6 goals of the global water action agenda.

According to the research, from 2010 to 2019, Asia Pacific, Americas and the Middle East saw their travel and tourism water usage increase, while experiencing significant growth in international arrivals. Europe and Africa saw a yearly increase in international arrivals of 5 pc and 4 pc respectively between 2010 to 2019 but experienced a 1 pc decline in water use over the same period.

The report highlights that further progress can be made if travel and tourism stakeholders take a series of actions, and sustainable water practices are implemented globally.

In a collaborative effort, WTTC worked with Irish-American information technology company Accenture and global econometric analytics Oxford Economics to leverage their expertise in data analysis, best practices, and proven methodologies, providing a framework to help the global travel and tourism sector set water targets, reduce their water footprint and increase water resilience. The data is a result of the partnership between WTTC and the Saudi-based Sustainable Tourism Global Center.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO

Julia Simpson

“Water scarcity is a pressing global issue that requires collective action. Travel and tourism, with its unique influence and global reach, is perfectly positioned to play a pivotal role in fostering sustainable water practices. With this report, we aim to inspire a transformative journey toward responsible water use and a regenerative future, accelerating progress towards achieving SDG 6,” says Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO.

Jesko-Philipp Neuenburg

Jesko-Philipp Neuenburg

“This new publication highlights the transformative power of data and technology to drive collaboration, inform decision-making, foster innovation and implement water reduction and resilience action plans. From artificial intelligence, generative AI and machine learning, smart sensors and IOT, to blockchain and the metaverse, technology and data are enablers of sustainability and can play an important role in water stewardship efforts across the travel supply chain – whilst addressing security, privacy and environmental risks. With global travel demand booming, now is the time for travel and tourism organisations to reinvent their efforts and build actionable, impactful and accountable water strategies for this precious and finite resource,” says Jesko-Philipp Neuenburg, Global Travel and Aviation Sustainability lead at Accenture.

According to WTTC, in the midst of emerging risks, embracing digital technologies becomes not just an option but an innovative approach to tackle complexity head-on.

The statement adds that it also introduces the Water Management Action Framework, rejecting a ‘one-size fits all’ solution. The framework outlining four key steps, emphasising water footprint reduction and resilience building across supply chains. 

Recognising the vital role of the tourism sector, WTTC has in its press statement issued a resounding call for collective action to safeguard water ecosystems.

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