The Sustainable Tourism Global Center (STGC) has unveiled a new global research hub on the sidelines of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Climate Week in Riyadh.
This initiative, spearheaded by the Saudi Ministry of Tourism, aims to serve as a reference for applied research, best practices, and practical tools designed to expedite the travel and tourism sector's transition towards achieving zero carbon neutrality.
The establishment of this center is a response to the fact that the travel and tourism sector has been responsible for over 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions since 2019.
Without measures to curb these emissions, carbon emissions in the sector are expected to increase by 20% by 2030.
The center has stated its intention to address this issue by forming partnerships with 100 universities and international organizations from around the world by 2030.
These collaborations will focus on investing in practical tools and resources that will promote sustainability within the sector.
Notably, prestigious academic institutions in the US, China, France, Spain, and the Netherlands have already joined the research hub to realize this vision on the ground.
Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Saudi Arabia’s tourism minister, hailed the launch of the center.
“Our objective is clear. With the support of the Sustainable Tourism Global Center and the Ministry of Tourism, we aim for the (new) center to be an indispensable hub of solutions and tools, benefiting every stakeholder,” he said.
The Saudi Tourism Ministry’s special adviser, Gloria Guevara, highlighted the importance of trustworthy tourism data in empowering sustainability projects.
The research hub can serve as a “beacon of modern, trustworthy information” targeted to the particular needs of small and medium-sized businesses, tourists and local communities, she added.
As part of its launch, the research hub showcased a variety of sustainable solutions for the industry, including solar thermal water heaters and sustainable food options.