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Tourism and Climate Change - International - June 2012

Almost 10% of global gross domestic product (GDP) is generated by activities related to tourism, which include: the direct receipts of tourism industry players (for example hotels, car-rental firms, travel agents and tour operators, some food and beverage outlets and certain attractions); indirect receipts of suppliers to the tourism industry; and induced receipts (spending by employees of the tourism industry and its suppliers). Tourism is therefore a vital component of the world economy and its sustainability is of utmost importance, especially for some developing countries, which count on tourism for a large proportion of their GDP and employment. For example, the direct contribution of tourism to Cambodia’s economy is estimated by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) to be 9.5%, and the total contribution of tourism (including direct, indirect and induced receipts) is estimated at 22.1%. These figures can be compared to worldwide averages of only 2.8% and 9.5%, respectively.

This report treats three distinct topics. First, the impact that tourism is having on climate change is examined. Second, the report reviews how the tourism industry and its supply chain have been and will be affected by efforts to mitigate the impact of tourism on climate change. Finally, how tourism is being affected by climate change, which is for example reducing snow coverage and producing heatwaves in beach holiday destinations, is evaluated.

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Key findings
      • Data Sources

        • Overview

            • Global warming a confirmed ‘trend’
              • Figure 1: Warmest years on record (difference in °C from the 1901-2000 mean), 1987-2011
            • Retreating glaciers and rising sea levels
              • Weather extremes likely to continue
                • Projected climate change by major region
                  • Africa
                    • Asia
                      • Central and South America
                        • Europe and the Mediterranean
                          • North America
                          • The Impact of Tourism on Climate Change

                              • Radiative forcing
                                • Transport the main culprit
                                  • Figure 2: Estimated contribution of tourism to CO2 emissions, 2005 and 2035
                                • Air transport generates the most emissions
                                  • Emissions vary by type of trip
                                    • Figure 3: Carbon footprint by transport mode, for Dutch outbound holidays in 2008*
                                  • Car travel the second-biggest contributor of emissions
                                    • Rail – the environmentally friendly mode of transport
                                      • Figure 4: Energy efficiency by type of transport, 2010
                                    • Accommodation accounts for over 20% of emissions
                                      • Dutch experience proves the point
                                        • Figure 5: Carbon footprint by tourist accommodation type for Dutch domestic holidays, 2008*
                                      • Outbound accommodation is more polluting
                                        • Figure 6: Carbon footprint by tourist accommodation type for Dutch outbound holidays, 2008*
                                      • Activities account for the rest
                                        • Case study – the carbon footprint of Dutch holidaymakers
                                          • Figure 7: Carbon footprint of Dutch holidaymakers, 2008*
                                          • Figure 8: Carbon footprint of Dutch holidaymakers per day, per holiday and in total, by destination and length of stay, 2008*
                                          • Figure 9: Holiday types with the highest and lowest average environmental impact per day, 2008*
                                      • Mitigating the Impact of Tourism on Climate Change

                                          • Reducing aircraft emissions
                                            • Carbon-monoxide emissions already down by 50%
                                              • IATA targeting carbon-neutral growth by 2020
                                                • The search for a clean-burning fuel
                                                  • Liquid fuels the only viable alternative
                                                    • Air-passenger taxes in Europe
                                                      • Dutch air-passenger tax abolished after one year
                                                        • The UK’s Air Passenger Duty
                                                          • Figure 10: Air-passenger duty rates in the UK, including recent changes, 2012
                                                        • Germany has now instituted air-passenger taxes
                                                          • The EU’s pollution-permit scheme
                                                            • Permit trading schemes promote economic efficiency
                                                              • Pollution cap to be reduced going forward
                                                                • Airlines will need to buy about 18% of their permits
                                                                  • Long-haul routes are advantaged
                                                                    • Car transport needs to go electric
                                                                    • The Impact of Climate Change on Tourism

                                                                        • Climate-change impact
                                                                          • Direct climatic factors
                                                                            • Ski tourism to be affected
                                                                              • Beach destinations could be affected
                                                                                • Climate change could raise operating costs
                                                                                  • Indirect environmental change
                                                                                    • Venice threatened by rising sea level
                                                                                      • Great Barrier Reef suffering from coral bleaching
                                                                                        • Glacier Waterton International Peace Park exposed to receding glaciers
                                                                                          • Figure 11: Summary of retreating glaciers by size at Glacier Waterton International Peace Park, 1966 and 2005*
                                                                                        • Chan Chan threatened by ENSO
                                                                                          • The effect of mitigation policies on tourist mobility
                                                                                            • Domestic and regional tourism could benefit
                                                                                              • The effect of indirect societal change on tourism
                                                                                                • Short-haul and domestic tourism a more reliable source of demand
                                                                                                  • Both negative and positive effects
                                                                                                    • Elastic demand but inelastic supply
                                                                                                      • Tourism has the capacity to rebound from disasters
                                                                                                      • What Next?

                                                                                                          • Conflict about the EU’s pollution-permit requirements for aircraft – how will it end?
                                                                                                            • Less long-haul, more regional travel?

                                                                                                            Tourism and Climate Change - International - June 2012

                                                                                                            US $377.39 (Excl.Tax)