Germany leads the way in reducing carbon emissions while growing travel and tourism


Germany is one of just a few major countries to reduce its absolute emissions while continuing to grow travel and tourism, according to new data detailing the climate footprint of the sector.

The research by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Sustainable Tourism Global Center shows between 2010 and 2019, Germany’s travel and tourism sector decoupled its greenhouse gas emissions from its growth.

During this period, greenhouse gas emissions decreased on average by 1.1% per year, whilst travel and tourism’s total contribution to Germany’s economy grew 1.5% on average annually.

In 2019, the sector was responsible for 10.3% of total greenhouse gas emissions across Germany. This dropped to 5.9% in 2020 and 5.8% in 2021 due to the reduced activity during the pandemic period.

In 2010, for every €1 generated by Travel & Tourism in Germany, the sector emitted 0.55 kg of greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2019, when Travel & Tourism was at its peak, this figure dropped by 22% to 0.43 kg per €1 created, and continued to fall in the following years, to a low of 0.36 kg per €1 in 2021.

“Our data shows that Germany is one of the few travel and tourism powerhouses which is decreasing its absolute emissions whilst continuing to grow year-on-year,” said Julia Simpson, WTTC’s president and CEO.

“The travel and tourism sector has decoupled its economic growth from its greenhouse gas emissions and continues to reduce its emissions intensity, but 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 government support in accelerating the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuels which will have a significant impact on our footprint, as well as bringing in more renewable energy to our national grids.”