Our appetite for travel certainly hasn’t been diminished by the pandemic. We still want to explore lesser-known destinations, discover new cultures, and try different cuisines. Whether at home or abroad, we still want to feel inspired, re-energised and experience a sense of wonder.

However, what has changed is our understanding of the impact that jetting off on that plane – or setting sail on that cruise – can have on the incredible world around us.

According to booking.com’s latest Sustainability Report, 83% of people now believe that sustainable travel is vital.

Individual travellers absolutely have a part to play in preserving “the ‘natural capital’ of the world.” (Emily Cromwell, Deloitte’s Director of Sustainability, ABTA Decarbonising Tourism webinar). But the travel industry can’t rely on customers alone to act as the catalyst for change.

The Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism, launched by the UNWTO at COP26, was a step in the right direction in trying to bring the industry together. But without a clear strategy or measurement plan, it no doubt felt daunting to many companies and a key reason as to why many didn’t sign up to the commitment.

This is why the frameworks created by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) to help different sectors in the industry reach net zero is so vital.

The Net Zero Roadmap for Travel & Tourism highlights measurement and reporting, regulatory frameworks and government support, financing and infrastructure dependency as the most significant challenges preventing the travel sector from meeting climate change targets by 2050.

To keep the industry on track, the WTTC has outlined the following five key actions businesses can take now to reach net zero before 2050:

  1. Set baselines and emission targets now to achieve individual and 2030 and 2050 sector goals.
  2. Monitor and report progress.
  3. Collaborate within and across industries.
  4. Provide finance and investment required for the transition.
  5. Raise awareness and build capacities on climate change.

Of course, many travel businesses have already committed to change. Adventure tour operator Intrepid Travel became a carbon neutral business in 2010. United Airlines was the first airline to announce plans to reduce emissions by 100% by 2050. And unique luxury holiday experts Kuoni launched the Stay Beautiful campaign to encourage staff to travel responsibly, whilst their long-running partnership with TV Presenter and Author Simon Reeve continued to promote adventure travel, but in a sustainable way.

But sustainable tourism will remain a green wish without united action today from across the entire sector. And under the ever-watchful eye of the sustainable consumer, brands run the risk of commercial loss if they don’t commit to change.

If you’re a travel company and unsure of what to do next, the Better Impact team at H+K (dedicated to helping clients to deliver a better impact for people and the planet) is hosting a virtual event on Tuesday 30th November 2021 (2pm-3pm GMT) to help brands plan beyond COP26.

For more information and to register for the event, click here.