European Travel and Tourism Sector Commits to Climate Action in Rhodes Declaration

In a notable assembly on the island of Rhodes, Greece, stakeholders from the European travel and tourism industry convened to address the challenge of climate change within the sector. Representatives from associations including A4E, ACI Europe, CLIA, ECTAA, EEIA, ERA, HOTREC, IAAPA, IRU, and Ruraltour, signed a declaration committing to actions aimed at enhancing sustainability in travel and tourism.

This declaration serves as a roadmap to promote collaboration among industry participants and to achieve sustainability objectives. With climate change a pressing issue, the initiative highlights the industry’s commitment to adopting environmentally friendly practices and engaging in dialogue with policymakers.

The timing of this initiative is critical, with the European Union elections approaching. The signatories have called on political leaders to prioritise travel and tourism and to designate specific budget allocations for sustainable tourism initiatives. This effort seeks to secure policy support at the European level to guide the travel and tourism industry towards a sustainable and resilient future.

Key commitments outlined in the declaration include the implementation of climate action plans at the organisational level, reaffirmation of decarbonisation targets as per the Glasgow and Toulouse Declarations, and the promotion of environmental awareness and responsibility.

It also emphasises supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in climate adaptation efforts, enhancing education and training to address sustainability skill gaps, and fostering stakeholder collaboration to monitor progress and engage with policymakers.

Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece, acknowledged the importance of the initiative and its role in addressing the challenges faced by the tourism industry. The selection of Rhodes for this event was noted, given the island’s recent experience with wildfires and its rapid recovery, demonstrating the resilience of the tourism sector and local communities.

Mr. George Hatzimarkos, Governor of the South Aegean Region, remarked on the significance of the region’s role in hosting this dialogue. The collective action outlined in the Rhodes Declaration marks an important step in the travel and tourism industry’s journey towards sustainability, signifying a commitment to environmental stewardship and responsible tourism practices that will influence the sector’s future direction.