Five of the warmest years ever recorded have occurred since 2010. Over 1.2 billion people currently experience water shortages, and each year 10,000 species go extinct while 18.7 million acres of forests are lost to human processes. Together, this amounts to a pandemic of epic proportions; indeed, climate change and environmental degradation are an inescapable reality for policymakers, the private sector and consumers alike.
Given the growing importance of the preservation of natural resources to the Travel & Tourism sector, sustainable tourism has moved out of the margins and into the mainstream of travel policy and practice. As consumers demand more responsible trips, both the public and private sectors have responded with wildlife protection programs, the installation of public green zones, and policies to spread tourists across sites and seasons.
The sector has learnt how to effectively leverage tourism dollars towards the protection of natural habitats, and in turn promote those habitats as sustainable havens worth visiting. Travel & Tourism is also proving that precious wildlife species are worth more alive than dead, and that a carefully managed industry can benefit local communities immeasurably.
The following section hones in on those nations that are excelling in managing sustainable and inclusive growth to ensure that destinations are enriched, and not harmed, by Travel & Tourism.