Mario Hardy, CEO of PATA- Environmental Opportunities and Challenges of today’s sustainable tourism

time:2019-11-14 17:31 author:International Union of mountain tourism

Distinguished guests,


Ladies and gentlemen,


A very good morning to you all!


Just a few words for those of you who may not know who Pacific Asia Travel Association is PATA, we were founded in 1951 with a mission of developing a sustainable and responsible tourism industry globally. Today we have over 99 destinations that are members of the organization, over 850 corporations, 76 universities, and in excess of 5,000 students. We're both representation of the public and private sector. We bring people together around forums like this one to have meaningful discussions and debates about the future of our industry.


Today I'm going to cover many points that actually Mr. Dominique de Villepin mentioned before. As we already know many times this morning, 1.4 billion people will travel internationally, 5.5 billion domestic tourism, according to Mr. Hos presentation earlier today, an average annual growth of 5.5% here in Asia Pacific. Tremendous growth in our industry over the last few decades and the future even looks actually greater; by 2030 to UNWTO says we will reach 1.8 billion tourism arrivals. Others are saying it might actually even exceed 2 billion by that time. For those of you who are in this business, this looks promising, great to foresee economy growth. But as former secretary general, UNWTO, my good friend has mentioned so many times before. It is 1.4 billion opportunities or it could potentially be 1.4 billion challenges.


And where we travel these days, it is actually extremely difficult to find peace. You are to be surrounded by other thousands and thousands of tourists who are for the same reason in the same place wanting to enjoy this beautiful destination, but it presents challenges. The local communities are sayingit's enough. Go home, leave us in peace. I had the pleasure of meeting the prime minister of St. Lucia about three years ago, and he told me an interesting story. He came from the private sector, was elected prime minister. On his first day he was presented with a huge challenge. The population was coming to him and sayswe don't want these tourists here anymore. Send them home. Well, 60% of the GDP contribution to the country, direct contribution is from tourism. 80% is with the indirect.


If the tourists go home, the Island has no economy. Well tourism is more than just people traveling to your destination. The farmers who produce the food on the Island are consumed by the tourists. They are part of the industry. The hospitals and the doctors and the nurses were serving the tourists on the location. They are also part of this industry. So he came up with an interesting formula, he said, what if we allocated for each square acre on the Island it contributions to GDP for the from tourism, so that every person on the Island wants a piece of land, understand their personal contribution towards the economy; and over a period of a 12 and 18 month of campaigns and explaining to their population their contribution, emotions started to change and say -actually no, we want the tourist to stay. We want to work with them because there are parts of who we are as an economy, but this is a situation we're facing today.


We've been calculating growth of tourism for many years till today on how many tourists are visiting the destination, growth by numbers; and recent time we also start to calculate how much economy growth, how much revenue are we getting spending? That's good, but what else? We at PATA advocate, we need to change these measurements. We need to add other components to it. We need to think about jobs creations. We need also to think about the socioeconomic impact on the destinations. We also need to think about the environmental impact, CO2 emission. I think also about the inventive waste management, water consumption, electricity, infrastructure, and cost. All of these aspects also need to be measured yet we will end up paying attention today. We need as an industry to stand up together and change these ways of measuring growth of tourism, so that we have a sustainable growth in the future.


There is a lot of discussion around the world about CO2 emission; and this number that we hear so many times - 2% of CO2 emissions contributed from air travel. For those maybe sometime 2% seems really relatively small. Yet, it is actually a very big proportion. If we think about the additional billions of other people who will be traveling over the coming years in domestic and international, that number is going to continue to go up and we need to find solutions today. But here's another frightening number. When we think about tourism, we build infrastructure, hotels and resorts. Well, cement contributes 8% of CO2 emissions around the world, that 40% that's construction.


And again, as I mentioned before, we need to re-look at the KPIs, not only about air travel, but constructions in so many other ways that are actually contributing to this tourism, contributing to CO2 emission, much more than just the actual air travel itself. There are many other components we need to look at.


 I might have pictures on Ms. Ho’s video earlier. There are beautiful yet I have not seen any of these, but I actually promise you it is not easy to find a destination which doesn't have any sort of pollution similar to that these days. I was reading an article this morning when I woke up, there's now an app that you can go and look for destinations that they don't have any of this. If we need an app to find places in the world, we can go visit without pollutions, air pollution, and this type of pollution or noise pollution, there is something really wrong with our industry.


Well, we only can solve this by working together. It is not the responsibility only of the government. It is not the responsibility only of the private sector. It is by joining hands and working together that we will make a difference.


The younger generations have already understood this, they know this really well. My two sons who are 22 and 20, they don't have the driving license, have no interest in getting one, say why? There's many other public transport and other ways for me to go different places. I don't need a car. I don't need to drive.


That's just one element. When they look for destination to go out on days, the first thing they look at is their research about the environmental aspects of it. Now maybe there's a little bit of bias here because one is actually is a studying master degree at Cambridge on climate change and the other one actually studies international relations. So obviously they have a little bit of bias as to why they would actually look for things like this. But it is a common theme that I've known young people, they care for our planet. There's one young lady who is roaming around the world is making a lot of noise these days about climate change and she's right. We may or may not agree with everything she says, how she says it, but think about it. She's right. We need to do something.


We have 17 goals. United Nations gave us a challenge to all of us; a world of all the nations working together to achieve these 17 goals. Well, we PATA have identified one that we want to focus our attention on. They are all available and we are contributing to many of them. Many of the 17 but there's one in particular we identified, every year at our annual summit we organized a UNWTO and PATA leadership debate, true debate. When ministers on each side, the company with a young person representing the industry and we've asked them the question earlier this year, out of the 17 SDGs, which one do you think that we should pay more attention that can make a positive impact in our industry? One minister decided to actually infrastructure was a key. The other minister decided actually that human capital developing jobs work is more critical. We had an intense debate for about an hour and a half. At the end of the day the conclusion was 50-50, 51-50 ended up equal. Why? Because we need both and the conclusion of this debate was an actually what we really need to focus on is No.17, partnership for the goal. The only way we're going to achieve success in making our tourism industry more sustainable and more responsible is by working together in partnership.


In conclusion, I'd like to leave you with a few words but most importantly is the only thing we should be leaving on our planet is our footprint. And I think this is something that we all need to work together for that particular reason.


So ladies and gentlemen, please join us in our mission to make a partnership for tomorrow, for a better world and a more sustainable tourism industry.


Thank you very much!

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