Tourism and the Implications of Climate Change: Issues and Actions: Volume 3

Cover of Tourism and the Implications of Climate Change: Issues and Actions

Table of contents

(25 chapters)

This chapter contextualizes the interrelationships between tourism and climate change and thus provides an introduction to this volume. It commences with a brief but comprehensive overview of the key issues identified by climate change research, including an update since the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as a brief discussion of the latest rounds of climate change negotiations. The pursuing discussion is informed by these points and explores climate change's indirect and induced impacts on tourism and possible ramifications. Both of these parts highlight behavioral change as a critical factor to both adaptation and mitigation thus motivating the psychological contribution in an effort to shed light on the obstacles to behavioral change. In the concluding section, the chapter synthesizes the discussion grounded in multiple disciplines into a set of research themes that the volume subsequently begins to address.

The observed increase in the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases since the industrial period, due to human activities, is very likely causing the warming of the climate system. Anthropogenic warming and rising sea levels will continue for centuries due to the time scales associated with climate processes and feedbacks. Even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilized, different types of adaptation measures are needed to cope with the inevitable change. At the same time mitigation measures aiming at decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing carbon sinks must be taken in order to reduce the potential extent of global warming. This chapter covers the main aspects of the current understanding of the physical basis of climate change, including the directly measured observations and estimated projections for the 21st century. Causes and effects of climate change are also addressed. Finally, the main uncertainties of climate projections and a few general considerations on the different ways to respond to the climate change issue are discussed.

This chapter presents the relationship between climate change and tourism, how they influence each other, as well as how the industry addresses this challenge. The tourism industry has recognized its contribution to global climate change and the need for addressing the problem by applying mitigation policies. Climate change is already defining new realities for consumers, business, and government decision-making. Therefore, adaptation measures are also required, especially in tourism that is highly sensitive to climate variability. The need of awareness as well as preparedness at local level has been highlighted by UNWTO, which is spearheading initiatives within the industry under the common framework of the UNFCCC.

Technological development from horse-drawn carriages to the new Airbus A380 has led to a remarkable increase in both the capacity and speed of tourist travel. This development has an endogenous systemic cause and will continue to increase carbon dioxide emissions/energy consumption if left unchecked. Another stream of technological research and development aims at reducing pollution and will reduce emissions per passenger-kilometer, but suffers from several rebound effects. The final impact on energy consumption depends on the strength of the positive and negative feedback in the technology system of tourism transport. However, as the core tourism industry including tour operators, travel agencies, and, accommodation has a strong link with air transport, it is unlikely that technological development without strong social and political control will result in delivering the emission reductions required for avoiding dangerous climate change.

Hospitality, constituting an essential component of the tourism industry, is a sector characterized by many feasible opportunities to cut carbon dioxide emissions and to reduce the use of resources. Hence this chapter, drawing on the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR), focuses on the way the hospitality sector copes with climate change. Its principal aim is to show what international hospitality companies, which are regarded as pioneers of CSR-inspired environmentalism, have done to mitigate the effects of global warming. In doing so, the chapter critically examines innovative measures and instruments introduced by top hotel chains within their CSR programs with an aim of reducing their carbon footprint. It lays emphasis on the practical dimension, highlighting the nature and effectiveness of concrete initiatives, and the issues that arise during the implementation process. The chapter concludes by providing specific managerial-policy guidelines, thereby contributing to the dissemination of best practice, and suggestions for further research.

The cruise sector promotes itself as a responsible steward of the ocean environment and claims its policies and practices protect the marine ecology. As such, it would argue that its activities do not significantly contribute to global warming and climate change. However, there is disconnect between what the cruise sector says it does and what cruiseships actually do in relation to the environment. This chapter looks at the sector's environmental practices and how it contributes to climate change. This is both directly through greenhouse gases and indirectly through degradation of the marine environment, as well as the prospects for the sector to voluntarily take responsibility for its part of the problem. Despite a poor record on voluntary efforts, the chapter calls on the cruise sector to embrace initiatives that bring its behavior in line with its public pronouncements about environmental responsibility.

The Youth Hostels Association (YHA) of New Zealand has been widely recognized and awarded for its leading environmental and sustainability initiatives in the tourism industry. The concern for the environment is an important part of YHA's organizational culture since its beginnings in the 30s when the first youth hostels were opened in New Zealand. In 1992 an Environmental Charter adopted by the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF) was quickly implemented by YHA New Zealand. Since then a large number of sustainability initiatives have been put in place throughout the whole network of 56 hostels. This case study details these initiatives as well as the challenges that YHA New Zealand faces in this context.

Since 1995, award-winning New Zealand campervan and motorhome manufacturing, rentals, and sales company KEA Campers have “done the right thing” as much as possible. In 2007, the film An Inconvenient Truth made headlines, sustainability became the word on everyone's lips, and KEA together with their peers in the New Zealand tourism industry suddenly realized that the country might not be as clean and green as they had been led to believe. This case study covers the achievements and challenges faced by KEA in trying to minimize their impact on the natural environment.

This chapter examines what the hospitality sector can do to reduce its own carbon footprint as well as that of its guests. In particular, it addresses the issue of lighting and certain consumer-oriented products used in hotels and other public places by examining solutions designed to reduce carbon emissions, cut operating costs, and create a pleasant ambience. These moves toward a low carbon experience for both business and leisure tourists are set against the stipulations of current legislation, barriers to change, as well as international initiatives to make travel greener.

While the need to respond to the wide-ranging challenges posed by climate change has been widely emphasized, there is still a relative lack of attention being given to the type, scale, and nature of responses that are taking place in different economic sectors and parts of the world. This chapter provides a review of the tourism-related responses to the implications of climate change in the context of New Zealand. This is a country where tourism is a very important sector of the economy that depends heavily on the credibility of its green and unspoilt destination image. However, due to its relative isolation in the South Pacific, New Zealand requires most international tourists to travel long distances, which results in considerable greenhouse gas emissions. The chapter outlines the private and public sectors' responses to these challenges with particular attention to their collaboration.

This chapter explores the issues in estimating the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the tourism industry and related activities in Australia. A production-based approach is employed and its rationale is explained. The scope of tourism consists of the economic activities of tourism-characteristic and tourism-connected sectors as defined in the Australian Tourism Satellite Account (TSA). The GHG emissions have been estimated for 2003–04, the latest year for which detailed industry GHG emissions data are available in a form suitable for this type of estimate. Tourism's GHG emissions are compared with other industries in the Australian economy. The policy implications of the results are discussed. It should be possible to adopt a broadly similar method for any destination with a TSA, enabling tourism stakeholders to play an informed role in assessing appropriate climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies for their destination.

Cyberethnographic accounts of behavior are just emerging as a legitimate and useful way of exploring new forms of communication including the digital co-presence found in cyber communities. The chapter represents the first known account of such a research approach applied to issues of climate change in online travel communities as manifested through travelblogs. The research undertook observations of five online websites where experiences are shared and issues discussed. This first round of findings revealed no discussions on the topic of travel and climate change, which the researchers imputed to mean a lack of interest in the topic. A further round of observations was conducted on a site with a more nuanced approach to travel (though not an overtly green site). This revealed sufficient data for frame analysis: budding green, ironic cynics, reluctant cynics, candourants, and rational cynics. The findings suggest that the tourism and climate change issue as seen by these tourists is confused, paradoxical, and cynical. The main conclusion is that there must be greater efforts in creating public understanding of science so as to change behavior in ways favorable to diminishing greenhouse gas emissions.

This chapter discusses the creation of The Icarus Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that was founded in 2007 to address the issues of climate change and tourism in Canada. As Canada's first nongovernmental organization in this area, the role of the foundation will be described and current initiatives undertaken will be outlined. Challenges to starting a nongovernmental organization in Canada will also be discussed, such as lack of funding, an unmotivated tourism industry, relaxed government regulations, concern about climate change, and its impacts on the tourism industry. The Icarus Foundation began and continues to operate with skeletal staff and the manpower of a few individuals, precariously facing the potential to become extinct if action and support are not provided.

Climate change will affect tourism at several temporal and spatial levels. This chapter focuses on the quantification of effects and the development of strategies to reduce extremes and frequencies as well as thresholds in tourism areas. Knowledge about possibilities for mitigation and adaptation of current and expected climate conditions requires interdisciplinary approaches and solutions. Several examples are presented, including the effects of trees against climate change and extreme events (heat waves), behavior adaptations, urban and regional planning measures, bioclimatic conditions in the Mediterranean and human–biometeorological conditions under climate change conditions, and user-friendly computer tools for the quantification of urban bioclimate conditions.

The chapter discusses the effects of climate change on tourism development in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania by combining these countries into a single Eastern Baltic Sea Region. The chapter explores the current situation and investigates the trends that will affect the economic development if the present climate conditions are situated in historical context. The first part discusses how destinations can be better managed if they are informed by the scholarship on ecological modernization and updated by a coevolutionary approach to climate change. This discussion proceeds with an analysis of the impact climate change has on tourism following different scenarios of current and future climate conditions. The development of tourism in the Baltic countries is then assessed with references to sustainable development. Overall the chapter demonstrates how destinations can cope with the changing preferences of tourists even in the face of highly unpredictable climatic developments.

Los Angeles and California are leading tourism brands and destinations, but what is the future given warmer climates, rising sea levels, water shortages, peak oil, and the continuing trend of urbanization? Studies predict that urban Los Angeles will have a climate that will be unbearable to future tourists and the rural landscape of California will undergo radical reshaping. Does this mean that Los Angeles will be akin to the fiction film Logan's Run? This chapter considers metropolis Los Angeles and the Californian hinterland in 2050. It portrays the future as a reversal of fortunes where ecotourism is an exclusive experience for the mega rich and tourism for the middle classes is restricted to an urban environment and controlled mass tourism excursions. is an integrated, holistic destination strategy to assist the tourism industry move into the new green economy. This approach has evolved over the last 15 years through a number of strategies initiated by the authors in their policy, management, and research activities. This has involved development of Agenda 21 for Travel and Tourism, Green Globe, Earthcheck, Earthlung, and most recently The approach has been developed while the authors worked on sustainable destination strategies for Sri Lanka, Turks and Caicos, and Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt. includes a general set of criteria to guide development of destinations that seek to move to a green economy. The criteria identify key components that need to be addressed to put a destination onto a carbon clean pathway. The plan offers a structured, creative approach both to adapt to climate change risks and to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the broader “green economy” change gathering momentum globally.

This volume sought to both widen and deepen understanding of the complex relationship between tourism and climate change by compiling a collection of chapters with diverse disciplinary backgrounds. Additionally, through the use of case studies this volume bridges the gap between theory and practice by illustrating the realities of implementing climate-change-focused initiatives and strategies in the context of tourism. To present the different contributions in sections with similar foci, this volume is structured into four thematic sections with each containing at least one supporting case study. Section one establishes a scientifically based contextualization of tourism and climate change; the second examines initiatives and issues that arise in the supply of tourism products in this era of climate change; the third discusses issues and actions related to different countries and tourism consumers; and the fourth explores adaptation and innovation actions and identifies resulting challenges.

Timofey Agarin <Email:> is a Research Fellow at the European Centre for Minority Issues in Flensburg, Germany. His work focuses on central-eastern European states and their relations with national and transnational nongovernmental organizations. His research interests include cooperation between civil society groups and the government across the postsocialist states in the context of global environmental change.

Cover of Tourism and the Implications of Climate Change: Issues and Actions
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Bridging Tourism Theory and Practice
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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