The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said Europe and Africa marked a decline in water usage despite an increase in international arrivals.
The data was revealed during the launch of the WTTC’s new “Water Roadmap for Travel & Tourism” report in Dubai and aims to encourage water footprint reduction and resilience building across supply chains through actions that include embracing digital technologies, introducing the Water Management Action Framework, and rejecting a ‘one-size fits all’ solutions.
Despite being one the fastest growing sectors, the travel and tourism sector’s water usage ranged between 3.5 percent and 5.8 percent of global available freshwater in 2021 and 2019, respectively, found the report.
Additionally, citing research from 2010 to 2019, the WTTC said Europe saw a 5 percent yearly increase in international arrivals from 2010 to 2019 but experienced a 1 percent decline in water use in that time. Africa marked a 4 percent rise in arrivals in the same period but experienced a 1 percent decline in water use.
On the other hand, Asia Pacific, Americas and the Middle East saw their water usage increase, while experiencing significant growth in international arrivals.
Although the industry’s share is lower compared to other sectors such as agriculture and food, which accounted for 70 percent of global water usage, more work needs to be done, said the WTTC, stressing that water scarcity is becoming one of the most pressing challenges for sustainable development.
Sector stakeholders should take a series of actions and sustainable water practices must be implemented globally, it said. Indicatively, more than 2.2 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water and 4.2 billion do not have access to safe sanitation services.
“Water scarcity is a pressing global issue that requires collective action. Travel and tourism, with its unique influence and global reach, is perfectly positioned to play a pivotal role in fostering sustainable water practices, said WTTC President & CEO Julia Simpson. “With this report, we aim to inspire a transformative journey toward responsible water use and a regenerative future, accelerating progress towards achieving SDG 6.”
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