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Getting There Greener

A common stance taken in the offset debate is to suggest we just shouldn’t travel at all, since the travel and tourism industry is arguably impacting destinations and the environment more than any other industry. While the reality of this is hard to ignore, there is another side to the coin. Travel can and does have an enormous positive impact on countries and communities across the globe. Seeing the world and how we fit into it increases awareness on the individual level and makes philanthropy efforts possible in corners of the world that would otherwise be ignored. At this point in our cultural, spiritual and social development, not traveling is not really an option: we are too far gone, having been corrupted by the beauty and wonder of exploring our planet.

The travel and tourism industry is intimately linked to the global economy and global ecology. If all travel stopped tomorrow, the global economy would collapse, and if only all tourism related travel stopped overnight, entire economies would collapse, as travel and tourism accounts for over 10% of the global economy and 11% of the global workforce, with significantly higher figures in many developing countries. The vast majority of the people in these regions would be immediately forced back to slash and burn agriculture, rapid deforestation, overfishing and other forms of unsustainable economic activities that would also result in major carbon emissions. This is a fact, and while strongly supporting an industry transition to alternative energy sources, some emissions are unavoidable.

This is where the reduce part comes in, yet again. The
Union of Concerned Scientists
has recently published a
study that is proving to be very helpful when planning travel, near or far. Their handy Vacation Traveler Carbon Guide is a matrix of transportation options; depending on distance and number of people, you can find the best mode of travel—that is, the vehicle with the least amount of emissions. There a lot of factors when it comes to emissions and access to data like this will help us all make more informed travel decisions.

This article is quoted from the Responsible Travel Report The Sustainable Tourism e-Newsletter Vol. 7 No. 7, July 2009 from STI.

This article is uploaded by Majbritt Thomsen, administrator on ‘Views On Tourism’.

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Posted in Development, Performance and management.

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