2017 was the record year with 1.3 billion 220 million tourists around the world. The new study by the University of Sydney in 2018 brought a new figure about the carbon emissions in the tourism industry, almost tripling the previous estimations. The research took into consideration not only the travel, as it was previously done but also all related emissions of life-cycle carbon of tourist’s food and beverage, hotel, shopping and infrastructure. The calculation was made by the carbon flows of 160 countries from 2009 to 2013, the total reaching 8% of world carbon emissions.
The study shows that the industry employing every 10th person and generating $7 trillion shows that the income plays a major role in the carbon emissions. The leading countries for domestic travels are USA, Germany, China and India. For international travels, Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Denmark are leading, while Brazil, India, China and Mexico are the emerging ones. Those who have higher incomes are spending more on air transport and other transportation while people with lower incomes are more keen to use the public transportation. The same situation is seen in the food and shopping.
In the side of the destinations, the small islands popular for the tourists, the tourism being responsible for 80% of island’s carbon emissions.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) claims that the efforts are being made and numerous airports, hotels, restaurants and destinations are implementing sustainable projects which might soon show the results. The awareness is also a key factor, and the recent water crisis in Cape Town helped people to recognise the climate changes can impact resources like water.
In this study, Japan does not appear in the top carbon emissions countries. However, Japanese Government made the tourism and travel industry development one of its priorities. I believe that putting the accent on the sustainability is surely an opportunity for the Japanese Government to be recognized as an important international contributor to the climate issues the world is facing.