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Sustainable Development of Tourism

Climate Change & Tourism

The growing international awareness about the fast pace of climate change taking place on our
planet, together with the impacts that such changes are having on the natural environment, on
humans and their economic activities have become evident.

For tourism, climate change is not a remote event, but a phenomenon that already affects the
sector and certain destinations in particular, mountain regions and coastal destinations among
others. At the same time, the tourism sector is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG),
especially through the transport of tourists.

The impacts of climate change

Climate is an essential resource for tourism, and especially for the beach, nature and winter sport
tourism segments. Changing climate and weather patterns at tourist destinations and tourist
generating countries can significantly affect the tourists’ comfort and their travel decisions.
Changing demand patterns and tourist flows will have impacts on tourism businesses and on host
communities, as well as knock off effects on related sectors, such as agriculture, handicrafts or

In small island states and developing countries, where tourism is a major economic activity, any
significant reduction in tourist arrivals will have serious employment impacts and generate further


Since the 1st International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism, convened by UNWTO in
Djerba, Tunisia in 2003, a growing body of knowledge has been generated addressing the
complex relationships between the tourism sector and climate change with important research
activities on this subject.

There is now a wide recognition of the urgent need for the tourism industry, national governments
and international organizations to develop and implement strategies to face the changing climate
conditions and to take preventive actions for future effects, as well as to mitigate tourism’s
environmental impacts contributing to climate change. Furthermore, such strategies should take
also into account the needs of developing countries in terms of poverty alleviation and other

Climate Change & Poverty – a coherent strategy
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for action on Climate to be taken in close coordination with
global action on Poverty Alleviation & the Millennium Development Goals.

exports and competitiveness. organisations and authorities managing   natural areas with conservation purposes. increasing awareness towards the conservation of natural and cultural assets. It minimises negative impacts upon the natural and socio-cultural environment. 5. locally owned businesses. for whom tourism is a driver of jobs. both among locals 2. but not exclusively organised by specialised tour operators for small groups.  All nature-based forms of tourism in which the main motivation of the tourists is the observation and appreciation of nature as well as the traditional cultures prevailing in natural areas. livelihoods. It is generally. . It supports the maintenance of natural areas which are used as ecotourism attractions by: generating economic benefits for host communities. Service provider partners at the destinations tend to be small. This was a major aspect of UNWTO's submission to the Bali Climate Summit. Ecotourism and Protected areas UNWTO Ecotourism definition: Ecotourism is used to mean forms of tourism which have the following characteristics: 1. and tourists. 3. It contains educational and interpretation features. providing alternative employment and income opportunities for local communities. 4.UNWTO is committed to ensuring that this coherence is applied to the Tourism sector generally and particularly in regard to the worlds poorest countries.