Let’s Make All Tourism Green And Clean
This is because global tourism is really big business. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), tourist spending swelled from only $2 billion in 1950 to $1.2 trillion in 2015. The number of international tourists has grown by orders of magnitude as well, from 25 million travelled in 1950 to 1.2 billion in 2015.
Tourism generates an estimated five per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. According to UN Environment, that proportion is higher –12.5 per cent–if factors such as energy use at hotels and transporting food and toiletries are included.
Other sobering figures include water use. A tourist in Europe will consume more water on holiday than at home. Those staying at luxury hotels use nearly three times as much as a result of the water used for swimming pools and golf courses.
Then there is waste generation at resorts or from cruise ships; overfishing on coral reefs to feed visitors; loss of animal and plant species linked with the construction and operation of resorts; and impacts on the culture of local people.
Industry growth shows no sign of slowing. By 2020 it is estimated that the number of global tourists will reach 1.6 billion. To reach the targets set by the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals, we need a sea change in tourism.