The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Saudi-based Sustainable Tourism Global Center have released new data about the global travel and tourism industry’s water usage, publicly announced at the United Nations’ 2023 Water Conference.
According to the report, the industry’s total water usage in 2021 is 0.6 percent of global water use. Back in 2019, this number was 0.9 percent. Direct water use is even less, at 0.1 percent of global water usage in 2021. These figures also demonstrate that the majority of the industry’s water usage is from indirect sources, such as agriculture and food production, which comprise one-third of the industry’s water footprint.
The report also shows how the travel industry in Europe and Africa reduced direct water use from 2010 to 2019. Both regions saw a drop in their direct water consumption, a drop of 8 percent in Europe and 6 percent in Africa.
“This ground-breaking new data reveals our sector’s water consumption for the first time ever, revealing that Travel & Tourism uses less than 1% of the water used around the world, with the overwhelming majority of that usage coming from the sector’s supply chain. The data also shows that while the sector has grown economically around the world, its direct-use water intensity has decreased,” said Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO.
“The data is the most in-depth study of the sector’s water use, and like the world-first climate footprint data we released at our Global Summit in Riyadh last year, we can also reveal individual countries’ Travel & Tourism sector’s water footprints,” Simpson continued. “This will enable governments to work with the sector to further reduce water usage.”
The research covers water usage across 185 countries and is expected to be revised each year as new data becomes available.
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