Tourism in a low-carbon economy – Adjusting to a carbon-constrained future
I will be speaking at Ecotourism Australia’s premier event, the 24th Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference on November 23 in Hobart, Tasmania. Topic of my presentation is the role of tourism in a low-carbon economy, and more specifically, what the industry can do adjust to a carbon-constrained future.
Greenhouse gas emissions from the tourism sector make up approximately 5% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions as the result of transport to and from the travel destination, accommodation, and tourist activities. The contribution of the tourism and travel sectors are expected to further increase considerably over the next 20 years because of strong growth in international tourism in terms of number of people travelling, travel frequency and distance. The question is how the tourism industry can tackle the challenge of reducing their environmental impact and do so in a credible and cost-effective manner.
Committing to sustainable tourism and reducing greenhouse gas emission is no longer just a ‘nice-to-have’, and it is more than having a logo. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions requires incorporating sustainability and carbon management into day-to-day operations, which leads to greater operational efficiencies, reduced emissions and cost savings. Understanding the key drivers affecting greenhouse gas emissions allows tourism operators to assess emission-intensive processes, and identify improvement opportunities through an assessment of abatement options and costs. Based on this assessment, operators can re-evaluate, for example, operating procedures, procurement policies, service delivery or the interaction with the transportation sector and related carbon offset programs.
An integrated, properly-aligned approach is vital and evaluating available strategies can lead to new insights about the environmental challenges, risks and opportunities for the tourism sector as a whole and individual participants.