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New WTTC Environmental Data Reveals Italy’s Travel & Tourism Sector’s Climate Footprint

Sector’s GDP has grown on average 1.1% annually while greenhouse gas emissions increased by just 0.2% each year

Italy’s Travel & Tourism is becoming more energy efficient

London, UK: New groundbreaking data from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Saudi-based Sustainable Tourism Global Center reveals the climate footprint of the Travel & Tourism sector in Italy.

In one of the largest research projects of its kind, the global tourism body can for the first time ever, accurately report and track the impact the sector has on the environment.

According to the data, Italy’s Travel & Tourism has continued to grow, whilst reducing its emissions intensity. 

In 2019, the sector accounted for 8.4% of total greenhouse gas emissions across Italy, below the European average of 10.7%.

But this share dropped even further to 4.2% in 2020, mainly due to the reduced activity in the sector during the pandemic.

Between 2010 and 2019, Italy's Travel & Tourism sector's economic growth decoupled from its greenhouse gas emissions.

During this period, the sector’s total contribution to the national economy grew on average 1.1% annually, whilst greenhouse gas emissions increased by just 0.2% per year.

The figures also show that the sector’s emissions intensity continues to decrease.

In 2010, Travel & Tourism produced 0.37 kg of greenhouse gases for every €1 generated by the sector in Italy.

This figure dropped by an average of almost 1% annually by 2019, when Travel & Tourism was at its peak, to reach 0.34 kg per €1 created. In the years that followed, this amount decreased even further, reaching 0.27 kg per €1 in 2021. 

This significant decline illustrates the impact of changes implemented by the Italian government and business leaders to create a more sustainable sector.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: "Italy’s Travel & Tourism sector is growing strongly. But it has decoupled its economic growth from its greenhouse gas emissions and continues to reduce its emissions intensity.

“We need continued government support in increasing sustainable transportation. That means electric ground vehicles and ensuring Italy has a good supply of Sustainable Aviation Fuel. This will have a significant impact on our footprint, minimising our absolute emissions.”

Energy Usage

The global tourism body also provides insights on the sector’s energy usage and efficiency, and shows that between 2010 and 2019, the sector’s total energy usage decreased by 0.2% annually, demonstrating that while Travel & Tourism continued to grow, it also became more energy efficient.
Between 2010 and 2021, the share of low-carbon energy sources in the national energy mix has seen a gradual increase, from 6.1% in 2010, to 9.3% in 2021, whilst the sector’s reliance on fossil fuels as a source of energy also dropped.

This comprehensive research covers 185 countries across all regions and will be updated each year with the latest figures.

This research was made possible thanks to the partnership between WTTC and the Saudi-based Sustainable Tourism Global Center. Under the Saudi green Initiative, more than 60 initiatives have been launched in the past year, representing more than $186BN USD of investment in the green economy.

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