Global tourism was revealed to contribute to carbon emission, making up 8 percent of the total rate of discharge in the world. The percentage is more prominent than expected because of factors such as emissions from travel, tourists’ food, hotel, and shopping. However, the primary cause of the increase are visitors from rich countries traveling to other wealthy places.
The US ranks first as the country with the most massive volume of carbon emission, followed by China, Germany, and India. Tourism, a booming sector, is worth over $7 trillion and growing at 4 percent each year with one in ten workers employed around the world.
Previous predictions regarding the impact of tourism on carbon emission only pegged at 2.5 to 3 percent. However, numbers show that the global carbon flows between 160 countries from 2009 to 2013. The actual percentage could come close to 8 percent of the worldwide figure.
The issue is eye-opening, says Dr. Arunima Malik from the University of Sydney. She said that they looked at detailed information regarding tourism expenditure which includes consumables such as food from take-outs and souvenirs. They also looked at the trade between different countries and at greenhouse gas emissions data to produce the overall figure for the global carbon footprint for tourism.
The researchers delved into the impact in the countries where tourists came from and where they traveled. They discovered that the most significant factor was wealthy people going to other well-to-do destinations.
In the leading countries, most of the travel was domestic. Tourists from Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Denmark emit a higher carbon footprint in other places than in their own countries.
Dr. Malik also says that when rich people travel, they are inclined to spend more on transportation, food, and pursuits. Meanwhile, those from low-income countries spend more on public transport and unprocessed food.
Small-island destinations like the Maldives, Cyprus, and Seychelles lead in carbon emissions measured per capita. Their tourism industry makes up 80 percent of their annual emissions.
It showed that when people earn more than $40,000 per year, the carbon footprint for tourism rises to 13 percent for every 10 percent increase in income. Tourism’s consumption does not appear to “satiate as income grows.”
Despite the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) accepting the study, they do not take that their efforts to reduce carbon have failed. Rochelle Turner, the director of research, said that it would be unfair to say that the industry is not doing anything and that they have seen some hotels, airports, and tour operators that became carbon neutral.
Turner added that there is a need for travelers to assess what their impact is to a destination, and how much water, waste, and energy one should be using compared to the local population. “All of this will empower tourists to make better decisions and only through those better decisions that we’ll be able to tackle the issue of climate change,” she contended.