Travel Agents

Study quantifies travel industry’s entire carbon footprint for the first time

The world’s tourism foodprint has been quantified for the first time across the supply chain and oh boy is it bleak.

The new research from Integrated Sustainability Analysis supply-chain research group at the University of Sydney measured everything, from flights to souvenirs and has revealed the industry to be a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

The group found the global comprehensive tourism footprint of tourism-related greenhouse gas emissions is “about four times greater than previous estimates, is growing faster than international trade and is already responsible for almost a tenth of global GHGs.”

A release about the study from Sydney University said Small islands attract a disproportionate share of carbon emissions, considering their small populations, through international arrivals, while the United States is responsible for the majority of tourism-generated emissions overall.

Dr Arunima Malik, from the School of Physics, said the complex research took a year and a half to complete and incorporated more than an estimated one billion supply chains and their impacts on the atmosphere.

“Our analysis is a world-first look at the true cost of tourism – including consumables such as food from eating out and souvenirs – it’s a complete life-cycle assessment of global tourism, ensuring we don’t miss any impacts,” Malik said.

But there is hope!

Adopting sustainable travel options is easy and often affordable for all travellers.

The study recommends paying more for flights to pay for carbon abatement may be an important step for travellers to take to reduce their carbon footprint.

Leading sustainable travel companies like World Expeditions have plenty of resources available to inform travellers about ways they can travel responsibly.

For example, their 10 Pieces Initiative, which encourages travellers to pick up pieces of litter as they travel, their Leave No Trace principles, and even instruction on how to offset your air travel.

And they’re not the only ones. Plenty of travel companies are putting sustainability first.

Intrepid also has some amazing resources and practices to ensure travellers are reducing their carbon footprint, and the Travel Corporation is also encouraging travellers to tread light with their Tread Right foundation. 

And that’s just to name a few. As an industry, we must not shy away from reports such as this but use them as a driving factor for change.

The industry is constantly evolving and so are travellers, keeping up to date with sustainable travel practices is an important way for agents to keep up.

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