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Tourism's climate mitigation dilemma flying between rich and poor countries

Peeters, P., & Eijgelaar, E.
Bibliographical information:
Peeters, P., & Eijgelaar, E. (2014). Tourism's climate mitigation dilemma: flying between rich and poor countries. Tourism Management, 40, 15-26.

Stronger demand for medium- to long-haul air transport is the main driver of the tourism industry's increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, causing the current development of global tourism to be environmentally unsustainable. Efficiency improvements and biofuel usage are unlikely to maintain pace with the projected growth in transport volume. Therefore, curbing the growing demand for air transport has been suggested as another option for the sustainable development of tourism. However, the political and industry discourse concerning the restriction of air transport tends to label such a restriction as unethical, as such limits would impair the development that tourism brings to poor countries. This paper investigates the possible impacts of air travel restrictions on the least developed countries (LDCs) and non-LDCs by examining global tourism. The impacts on LDCs are found to be ‘neutral’ on average, with both losses and gains in tourist arrivals. The extent of any losses does not appear to be beyond the scope of possible economic compensation.

  • The impacts of climate mitigation policies aimed at reducing tourism transport may be less severe than is often believed.
  • Reducing tourism air transport affects poor and wealthy countries equally.
  • A reduction in aviation may harm the development of some poor countries but may benefit others.
  • Economic compensation for negative cases is feasible.
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