On the afternoon of 4 November, VisitScotland delivered an international-facing event that was attended by 185 online delegates from 50 countries around the world, from Norway and Vietnam to the US and Mauritius.
The event, led by our Industry & Destination Development directorate, enabled an interactive forum to capture the opportunities and challenges of achieving net zero in tourism.
We partnered on the event with Tourism Declares, The Future of Tourism Coalition and NECSTouR, a network of 39 European tourism authorities committed to sustainability.
Earlier in the day, the Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism was launched, an initiative to galvanise the global travel and tourism industry to commit to a decade of climate action.
This afternoon event was designed to build on this and create a dynamic opportunity for leading tourism stakeholders around the globe to highlight good practice and innovation on the journey to net zero, while exploring the actions, enablers and barriers to achieving it. None of us individually hold all the answers, but collectively we can share our knowledge and accelerate climate action.
Participants included delegates from national and regional tourism organisations, industry, as well as tourism networks, institutions and NGOs (non-governmental organisations).
A panel of senior destination representatives shared inspiring examples of activity, demonstrating that tourism can – and must – play a crucial role in achieving net zero targets.
They included the Minister of Tourism from Barbados, the Director of Planning and Place from the Cairngorms National Park Authority, the Deputy CEO of West Sweden Tourist Board, the Deputy Director of Oregon Coast Visitors Association, the Sustainability Strategist for Gothenburg & Co, and the CEO of the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions. Their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead contributed to a practical and lively discussion.
We extend a huge thank you to our event partners, speakers, destination panel, and everyone who contributed during the subsequent open forum session. It was fantastic to hear about the actions that are being taken across the globe.
It’s clear from the discussion that there are many challenges and barriers to consider as we work towards net zero – but the overriding and hugely encouraging message is that this also presents a fantastic opportunity for our industry and the destinations, businesses, and communities within.
We filmed the event so that everyone can benefit from the useful content on the day, and it's now available for you to watch and refer back to.
Catalysing a Decade of Climate Action in Tourism
In addition to demonstrating not just the commitment but the action being taken by VisitScotland, our event partners and panellists, this event successfully highlighted good practice across key areas of activity needed to deliver net zero.
The priority areas outlined in the Glasgow Declaration include measurement, decarbonisation, regeneration, collaboration and financing.
Another objective for the event was engaging, inspiring and galvanising attendees to accelerate action on climate change.
Feedback on the event has been strong, as has the appetite for follow-up activity on two fronts:
- The need for ongoing advice and support for stakeholder action
- The desire to build on the valuable exchange that the event enabled.
Another benefit is the ongoing insight and good practice that will be shared through these international partnerships.
COP26 presents a unique opportunity to demonstrate the decisive action that the global tourism industry is taking to secure its future prosperity in the face of a growing climate crisis. But we can’t just stop there once the eyes of the world are no longer fixed on Glasgow. We must commit to maintain this momentum and enthusiasm to deliver change.
Have your say
Did you attend our virtual event? If you did, we’d be grateful if you could take a few moments to complete our online feedback survey. The event was designed to be useful for you, so please tell us about your experience and help us shape future events. We'd also to gain an understanding about what is needed and where we go from here, so we can both inform and inspire next steps.
The Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism is a global initiative which launched at COP26. Tourism stakeholders can now become signatories with those who sign up committing to cutting tourism emissions at least in half over the next decade and reach net zero as soon as possible before 2050. Take a look at what's involved and become a signatory.
What is responsible tourism and why is it important?
Responsible tourism has a wide range of benefits: providing all visitors with enriching and memorable quality experiences; building business resilience and supporting success; and enhancing our communities and the environment, which Scotland relies upon as a destination.
Are you looking to make your business more environmentally sustainable but don’t know where to start? We're here to help! We’ve updated our responsible tourism pages on VisitScotland.org with a wide range of information, top tips and guidance to help you.
Destination Net Zero
A programme, worth almost £4 million, to support Scotland’s tourism industry on the journey to net zero is getting underway. The Destination Net Zero programme, will provide support to tourism businesses and destinations as they transition to a greener, more sustainable future. It is a key strand in the Scottish Government’s £25 million COVID-19 Tourism Recovery Programme.