Climate Change and Tourism: From Policy to Practice

Climate Change and Tourism: From Policy to Practice

Climate Change and Tourism: From Policy to Practice

Climate Change and Tourism: From Policy to Practice


The contribution of tourism to climate change, and the likely consequences of climate change for key tourist destinations, has been well reported and discussed. Yet, there is a lack of evidence-based systematic practical advice as to how the tourism industry should respond to the challenge of climate change. Building on a sound conceptual understanding of the links between climate change and tourism, this book shows how the tourism sector might best respond. It not only focuses on the roles of supportive policies and institutions in ensuring a strong "enabling environment" for practical responses, but also on the practical responses themselves.

This practical approach is presented through a large number of case studies and examples which illustrate how policy and industry initiatives have been implemented in tourism, and if or why they were successful. The majority of examples come from places such as the Caribbean, Spain, the Maldives, Nepal, and the UK, as well as Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the Pacific. The examples are presented within an overall framework that facilitates the translation of adaptation and mitigation policies into practice.

This book offers the tourism industry, students and academics the opportunity to advance from the earlier, more conceptual texts on tourism and climate change by taking a much more practical approach. Its global coverage, through the use of international case studies, fosters a cross-fertilisation of ideas and initiatives. This text provides a detailed analysis of best practices in the face of climate change, across countries and geographically diverse tourist destinations and operations.


There is increasing awareness of the importance of climate change for tourism, but detailed understanding is still limited, as are practical and effective responses. Tourism is now back on its path of growth, while at the same time the adverse consequences of climate change are accelerating. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) reports that, after a significant drop in international tourism due to the global recession, global arrivals in 2010 exceeded the historic high of 2008. 2010 saw 935 million international tourists worldwide (Figure 1.1). This recovery was much faster than initially expected. The recovery has been led by emerging economies, especially in Asia, with growth rates of 8 per cent relative to 2008, compared with only 5 per cent for advanced economies (e.g. in Europe). Interestingly, tourist expenditure has not recovered at the same level, indicating that those tourists deciding to travel internationally are less willing or able to spend the amounts they did before the global financial crisis. The 2011 events of devastating floods in Australia, the Christchurch (New Zealand) earthquake and the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis, as well as increasing fuel prices, are likely to have influenced tourist arrivals and flows for 2011, and beyond.

Global tourism statistics typically focus on international tourism, but Table 1.1 below shows that domestic tourism is the main contributor to the size of the sector, globally. Added together, there were about 9.8 billion tourist arrivals worldwide in 2005 (no later comprehensive assessment is available), of which only 1.75 billion were international in nature. The sheer volume of global tourism indicates its relevance for climate change, in terms of both its contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and its potential vulnerability to adverse weather and climate impacts. As evident in earlier research (e.g. Becken, 2007, 2008a, 2008b; Gössling et al., 2002), the main concern about tourism’s GHG emissions relates to transport. When considering . . .

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