Tourism industry aims to go green

Kent: climate change will save the industry money

The world's leading tourism companies are trying to agree on ways to fight climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions from hotels, cruise ships and airliners, said Geoffrey Kent, chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the leading 100 companies in the sector.

He said he expected members to begin implementing some of the measures in about a year. “I believe it is our responsibility to come up with an overall agreement to follow within our own council of members,” Kent said on the sidelines of a global meeting on the environment and tourism. “By the end of the year, we'll probably come up with some really good and concrete challenges for WTTC members.”
The tourism industry is expected to contribute to 10.4 per cent of the world's economy in 2007 and is responsible for 231 million jobs, according to the WTTC. 
There are no exact numbers as to the volume of carbon emissions that tourism releases into the atmosphere, but the industry is dependent on construction, airline and sea travel and other activities that are often blamed for climate change.
Kent said he expected some of the WTTC measures to make some tourism companies more cost efficient. WTTC members include US hospitality company Wyndham Worldwide Corp and the Intercontinental Hotel Group.
“Climate change is actually going to make them save money,” he said, adding that he believed companies who cut as much as 40 per cent of carbon emissions would become more energy-efficient and save money.