July 6, 2020

"There are going to be many impacted destinations"

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the largest tourist lobby in the world, warned this Tuesday at COP25 of the consequences that climate change will have for this sector, of which Spain is one of the world leaders. "There are going to be many impacted destinations," said its president and CEO, Mexican Gloria Guevara, who has argued that tourism "helps protect natural and cultural resources."

"Without natural assets, without cultural assets, there is no tourism," said the former Secretary of Tourism of the Government of Mexico during her participation in a colloquium on Cultural Heritage, Sustainable Tourism and Climate Change held in the pavilion of Spain in the Zone Blue of the Climate Conference held in Madrid.

During the round table, the head of Sustainability of the Iberostar tourism group, Gloria Fluxá, has relied on innovation and "optimism based on the favorable historical evolution" of this sector to meet the challenge of sustainable tourism.

"I represent with my sister (Sabina Fluxá) the fourth generation of the family business; we could not have survived so many decades without being persevering, without being innovative," said Fluxá, who has appealed to a "holistic vision" to meet that challenge and he recalled that "80% of our hotels are on the seafront".

Paraguayan Rafael Schvartzman, regional vice president of the IATA airline organization for Europe, has set as an example the work of Spain in organizing this summit, "shows what can be done when the challenges are faced", to which his industry, responsible for slightly less than 5% of greenhouse emissions, is "accustomed."

"You need to take action, you need innovation and work together," said the head of IATA, who said that "sustainable tourism is possible" and in this "aviation is a fundamental element."

For his part, Jesús Hernández, head of Accessibility of Fudación Once, recalled that the disabled "are 15% of the world's population" and has argued that accessibility in this sector "improves tourism quality and quality of life" . The restaurateur Ramón Freixa has pointed out, citing data from the KPMG consultancy, that gastronomy accounts for a third of Spanish GDP and represents 18% of national employment.

The colloquium has been inaugurated by the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, who stressed that "sustainability has to be a challenge for tourism policy that we turn into an opportunity."

The counterpoint to so much positive message has been put by the moderator, the veteran socialist former minister Javier Gómez Navarro. The one who was responsible for the Organization of the Olympic Games in Barcelona 92, former president of Aldeasa and the Chamber of Commerce of Spain has indicated that it is very difficult to reconcile the fight against climate change when you want to grow economically and increase consumption.

Gómez Navarro has lashed out at "what I call the Buenistas, who say that we must fight against climate change and continue with high growth." In the opinion of the current adviser of Técnicas Reunidas, it is "impossible", something that the rest of the speakers have questioned, appealing in unison to "optimism".

. (tagsToTranslate) tourist (t) climate (t) Go (t) many (t) impacted

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