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Portugal Has Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions Despite Growth in Travel & Tourism Sector

Recent research by the World Travel and Tourism Council has revealed that in Portugal, the sector has continued to grow, thus reducing the intensity of its emissions.

Data provided by WTTC show that during 2019, the sector accounted for 17.8 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions in all of Portugal, reports.

During the same period, the sector also contributed nearly €38 billion, representing almost a fifth of the overall economy. However, this share fell by eight percentage points, reaching 9.8 per cent in 2020 and 10.2 per cent in 2021.

The economic growth of Portugal’s Travel and Tourism sector was decoupled from greenhouse gas emissions during the period 2010-2019. At the same time, the sector’s contribution to the national economy increased on average by about five per cent per year, while greenhouse gas emissions increased by 4.1 per cent per year.

Based on WTTC data, in 2010, for every euro generated by Travel and Tourism in Portugal, the sector produced a total of 0.77 kg of greenhouse gases.

The same source said this figure fell at an average annual rate of about one per cent until 2019, when Travel and Tourism was at its peak, to reach 0.72 kg per one euro generated. Meanwhile, during the following years, this amount was reduced even further, reaching 0.59 kg per euro in 2021.

Commenting on these data, WTTC President and CEO Julia Simpson emphasised that Portugal’s Travel and Tourism Sector has decoupled its economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions and, at the same time, continues to reduce the intensity of emissions.

“We know there is still work to be done. To reach our goals and ambitions, we must make bigger and bolder steps to reduce our absolute emissions. We need continued government support in increasing sustainable transportation. This will have a significant impact on our footprint, minimising our absolute emissions, which will see the sector meet its goals and ambitions,” Simpson also pointed out in this regard.

According to data from the global tourism body, between 2010 and 2019, the total energy use of the sector in Portugal saw an increase of only 3.6 per cent per year.

Moreover, between 2010 and 2021, the share of low-carbon energy in the national energy mix also increased from 6.6 per cent to 7.5 per cent, while the sector’s reliance on fossil fuels as an energy source decreased.

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