WTTC finds international travel is back, unveils groundbreaking new way to measure industry’s climate footprint

WTTC finds international travel is back, unveils groundbreaking new way to measure industry’s climate footprint

LONDON, UK — A new global survey has found that demand for international travel is at its highest point since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

The survey, which was revealed at the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 22nd Global Summit in Riyadh this week, was conducted by YouGov for WTTC and included more than 26,000 consumers from 25 countries. Results show that 63% of respondents are planning a leisure trip in the next 12 months, and that 27% are planning three or more trips over the same period.

Additionally, the survey shows that travellers from Australia will be the world’s biggest spenders when it comes to international travel over the next 12 months, with jet setters from Canada, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines also expected to spend more than other travellers from around the globe.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO said; “This global survey shows that international travel is back. As we kick off our Global Summit in Riyadh bringing together global travel leaders and governments from around the world, travellers are getting ready to explore the world again. The results of this global survey also show the growing importance of sustainable travel amongst consumers.”

Almost two thirds of those surveyed (61%) stated they prefer travel brands and destinations that are more sustainable, whilst almost half (45%) said they will only spend their hard-earned money with brands that are socially and environmentally responsible.



Also at the Global Summit, WTTC unveiled groundbreaking new data detailing the climate footprint of the global Travel & Tourism sector. Considered one of the largest research projects of its kind ever undertaken, the Environmental & Social Research (ESR) covers 185 countries across all regions and will be updated each year with the latest figures.

During her opening speech, Simpson announced the findings of ESR, saying that for the first time ever, WTTC can accurately report and track the impact industries within the sector have on the environment. As such, governments around the world now have a tool to inform their decision-making and accelerate environmental change more accurately.

“Until now we did not have a sector-wide way to accurately measure our climate footprint. This data will give governments the detailed information they need to make progress against the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” said Simpson.

Previous estimates have suggested that the global Travel & Tourism sector was responsible for up to 11% of all emissions. However, WTTC’s research shows that in 2019 the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions totalled just 8.1% globally.

The divergence of the sector’s economic growth from its climate footprint between 2010 and 2019 is evidence that Travel & Tourism’s economic growth is decoupling from its greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions have been falling consistently since 2010 as the result of technological developments, as well as the introduction of a number of energy efficiency measures across industries within the sector.

Between 2010 and 2019 the sector’s GDP has grown on average 4.3% annually whilst its environmental footprint has only increased by 2.4%.

The broader ESR will include measures of the sector’s impact against a range of indicators, including pollutants, energy sources, water use, as well as social data, including age, wage and gender profiles of Travel & Tourism related employment.