EU adopts a sustainable tourism approach

Copenhagen, Denmark
Tourists in Coppenhagen, Denmark, take to the cycle lanes for sightseeing around the city

There’s some good news coming your way from the travel sphere this week, as a number of EU cities have banded together to tackle climate change by implementing sustainable tourism.

Tourism, as many of us well know, has a significant impact on the environment – sure, it’s the third largest economic sector in the EU, but transport, infrastructure, waste and water and energy consumption (all products of tourism) require efficient management and a sustainable approach in order to reduce their negative effects on the environment.

As such, ITIJ is pleased to report that around 26 cities in Europe, including Bruges in Belgium, Copenhagen in Denmark, Krakow in Poland and Lanzarote in Spain, have all signed a charter of commitments that reflects the intention of local and regional authorities to reduce waste generation and transition towards a circular economy. The Charter of Commitment was signed during the final conference of the Urban Waste Project that recently took place in Brussels.

 A representative of the city of Bruges, Mercedes Van Volcem, noted: “We have a lot to do to make our city not only beautiful, but also clean.” Indeed, the Charter also emphasises the importance of ‘the attractiveness of territories’ and encourages the creation of ‘new green jobs and services locally’, citing gender considerations to be of utmost importance when making socio-economic and sustainable changes. Susan Buckingham, Gender Auditor of the project, highlighted a direct correlation between those pilot cities who were the most gender equal and gender sensitive and having the greatest gross CO2 reductions.

Francoise Bonnet, Secretary General of the Association of Cities and Regions for sustainable Resource management (ACR+), the main organisation behind the project, said: “Cities and regions in Europe are full of good practices, some of them considered even best practices while being replicable solutions and ideas. These practices, solutions and ideas must go beyond the limits and borders of where they were created.”