Tourism may be a moneymaking industry but it has a serious impact on climate change that can consequently alter the flow of tourists. A United Nations World Tourism Organisation, UNEP and WMO report says that carbon dioxide emissions from tourism related activities are estimated to account for between four and six per cent of total emissions. These are due to tourism related transport, accommodation and other activities.
According to a joint press note of UNWTO and UNEP said that the report titled “Climate Change and Tourism: Responding to Global Challenges”, a study based on UNWTO tourism market, forecasts that if no mitigation measures are taken, tourism contribution to CO2 emissions could grow by 150 per cent in the next 30 years.
The study says impact of climate change on tourism will steadily intensify, particularly under higher global GHG emission scenarios and might alter major tourism flows where climate is of paramount importance, such as Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and the Caribbeans. The study states, that “coastal areas, mountains and nature-based destinations of the least developed countries and small island developing states may particularly be affected.”
The tourism sector needs to strategically focus on both adaptation measures in affected tourism destinations in order to safeguard economic returns and jobs, and mitigation measures of specific forms of tourism in order to achieve substantial emission reductions, the report said. New technology and financial mechanisms will also be pivotal, it added.
The travel and tourism sector – totalling 846 million international arrivals and approximately 4 billion domestic trips in 2006 – is both a contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, the report stated.