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Mon, 24/10/2022 - 14:30

Canary Islands tourism boosts sector decarbonisation with plan to halve emissions in eight years

Group photo at the signing event where the Canary Islands joined the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism

Today, 24 October, accompanied by the Islands’ Cabildos, employers and a large representation from the tourism industry, the Canary Islands destination officially joined the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action, committing the sector to halving its CO2 emissions in eight years. During the signing event, we presented the Climate Action Master Plan, an instrument we drew up to drive decarbonisation of Canary Islands tourism. We’re the first Spanish region to commit to the Declaration with an action plan in place and extensive support from the sector, with around 30 entities from the Islands joining the effort.

By taking on this commitment, the Canary Islands are once again demonstrating that the region’s tourism sector has joined the fight against climate change and aims to achieve a more sustainable destination. This is the model demanded not only by the Islands’ citizens, but also by tourists, who place increasing value on environmental matters as a decisive factor when choosing a destination.

To lead the way in reducing and eliminating the carbon footprint, two years ago we started working on Canarias Destino (Canary Islands Destination), our strategy to transform the tourism model and boost the commitment of the region’s tourism industry to climate neutrality across the value chain. This goal is at the heart of our conviction that sustainability is an investment not only in terms of ethics, but also with regard to the economy and competitiveness.

The Canarias Destino strategy aims to boost the commitment of the Canary Islands tourism industry to climate neutrality across the value chain.

The entire Canary Islands tourism sector has been following this path for some time and, to keep moving forward, we’re creating a series of tools for compliance with the Glasgow Declaration, which aims to halve CO2 by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The Canary Islands is the second Spanish region to join the commitment and the first to do so with a Climate Action Plan already drawn up.

To keep moving forward in the commitment to climate neutrality, Turismo de Islas Canarias will provide the sector with tools to comply with the Glasgow Declaration.

Climate Action Master Plan

To achieve decarbonisation, businesses will use the Climate Action Master Plan we started working on in April this year, following the road map laid out by Glasgow with five pathways. The first of these is to measure the carbon footprint, so we’ll make sure businesses have the tools to calculate it. For the second pathway, decarbonise, businesses will receive advice and support, as well as a catalogue of measures they can adopt. The third pathway is to regenerate and protect ecosystems, and the fourth is to collaborate with private companies. Lastly, we need to ensure we can finance the steps, through grants and incentives. Using Next Generation EU funds, we’ll support the sector on this journey with various energy efficiency actions that have been budgeted for and will have regulations in place soon.

Using Next Generation EU funds, Canary Islands Tourism will support the region’s tourism sector on its decarbonisation journey.

The funds available comprise 15.9 million euros for tourist accommodation establishments, nine million euros for non-accommodation establishments and four million euros to be used by the Cabildos (Island Councils) for tourist attractions. This is in addition to 139 million euros for tourism sustainability plans and a further two million for a public-private collaboration framework we’re working on to help companies compensate for their carbon footprint.

Five pathways of the plan

Measure. A carbon footprint calculator will be available to businesses on the Sustainability App on the Canary Islands Tourism Destination Platform, allowing users to collect real, detailed data for a sector that emitted 18.5 tonnes of CO2 in 2019.

To measure their carbon footprint, Canary Islands tourism companies will have a calculator app available to them on the Canary Islands Tourism Destination Platform.

In this private area, businesses can individually start their decarbonisation journey through four modules: Calculate, Define, Reduce and Compensate. They’ll initially have access to individual support, although the app is intended to be completely self-manageable.

Decarbonise. From our Sustainability Office we’ll provide an integrated advisory service to accompany businesses in this process, including drawing up their own climate action plans and improving carbon footprint monitoring of their activity. A User Service Centre (USC) will provide technical assistance for information and problem solving and facilitate the use of the digital products available: carbon footprint calculator, measuring decarbonisation, managing regeneration projects, and finance sources.

From the Sustainability Office we’ll provide an integrated advisory service to accompany businesses on their decarbonisation process.

We also have a catalogue of the decarbonisation measures which currently includes 220 actions organised by sectors and fields of action.

Regenerate and collaborate. A permanent public-private collaboration framework will be set up with an initial budget of two million euros to promote, facilitate and implement collaborative actions to regenerate and protect ecosystems to compensate for carbon footprint that’s difficult or impossible to reduce.

Finance. Two measures will be put in place: establishing grants to finance energy efficiency projects (29 million euros), and developing sustainability plans (139 million euros).

Support from WTO

Taking part by videoconference, Dirk Glaesser, WTO Director of Sustainable Development of Tourism, commented on the timeliness of launching the Canary Islands Climate Action Plan alongside the signing of the Glasgow Declaration.

The WTO has invited Canary Islands Tourism to present its decarbonisation strategy at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference.


*Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan – Financed by the European Union – NextGenerationEU.