How can marine and coastal tourism transition to a regenerative, carbon-neutral, and circular blue economy?
This was the topic of the “Tourism Ocean Action for a Net Zero Future” expert panel discussion, which Peter Prokosch, LT&C’s Honorary President and Cofounder, took part in on World Ocean Day on 8 June.
Organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and MSC Foundation, the event was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, on board MSC Euribia, MSC Cruises’ most energy-efficient ship to commemorate its naming.
Travel and tourism professionals, environmental organization representatives, policymakers, and business leaders discussed how ocean tourism can reach net zero.
Sustainable Tourism and Ocean Strategies
According to the Ocean Panel, coastal and maritime tourism accounts for around 50% of global tourism. Given the sector’s reliance on the ocean, strategies are needed to achieve a more sustainable relationship between tourism and the ocean.
Strategies suggested during the panel discussion included investing in blue-carbon ecosystems and nature-based solutions that draw down carbon, decarbonizing tourism operations, and improving the resilience of local communities.
Other solutions included UNWTO actions such as the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, the Global Roadmap for Food Waste Reduction in the Tourism Sector, and The Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism.
United for Tourism Ocean Action
The event was opened by UN representatives Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary-General, Ambassador Peter Thomson, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, and Zoritsa Urosevic, the UNWTO Executive Director.
From the travel and tourism sector were Pierfrancesco Vago, the Chair of the MSC Foundation Executive Committee and Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, and Mike Horn, a professional explorer and adventurer.
Peter Prokosch raised the question of whether the MSC Foundation could engage in broader LT&C Examples, having learned of its project to turn an industrial site in the Bahamas into a coral reef island and private marine reserve. In addition, the Foundation’s engagement with UNICEF and children and schools in the Ivory Coast could have linkages to the LT&C-Example Grand Béréby.
“Finding the right balance between tourism operations and the health of our planet has never been more important. Coastal and cruise tourism have a critical role to play in the global economy”, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said.
“At the same time, coastal and cruise tourism have a key role to play in the protection of our oceans.”