Climate Change and Tourism


The snow came awfully late last winter, and people are worried about how climate change is going to affect the tourism industry in general. Last month the United Nations World Tourism Organization met at at an international conference on climate change in Davos.

Christopher Jones and Daniel Scott write in the Globe and Mail that "tourism has been both a victim and a vector of global climate change. Iconic tourist destinations such as the Great Barrier Reef, the countries bordering on the Mediterranean Sea, the European Alps, the island states of the Seychelles, the Maldives and Mauritius, and the majestic glaciated mountain landscapes from the Rockies to the Andes have all become victims of the rise in global mean temperature of the past 150 years. But the tourism sector has also become a non-negligible contributor to climate change through greenhouse-gas emissions largely from the transport and accommodation of tourists — as much as 5 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions from human activities."Among other points, they conclude: "the tourism industry must strive to break with business-as-usual consumption of energy and decouple future tourism growth from ever higher greenhouse-gas emissions.

Furthermore, the UNWTO notes that rail and coach have become increasingly popular modes in many non-North American countries where, for example, high-speed rail has captured the imagination of tourists.

This is a critical moment for the tourism sector to show leadership in the development of a coherent policy agenda to address what must be considered the greatest challenge to the sustainability of tourism in the 21st century." ::Globe and Mail

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