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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 construction.
- 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 poverty.
- 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 Millennium Development Goals.
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.
UNWTO is committed to ensuring that this coherence is applied to the Tourism sector generally and particularly in regard to the worlds poorest countries, for whom tourism is a driver of jobs, livelihoods, exports and competitiveness.
This was a major aspect of UNWTO's submission to the Bali Climate Summit.
The Davos Process
The world community has charged the United Nations with framing a strategic response to the challenge of climate change, coherent with the Millennium Development Goals.
The Davos Declaration is our commitment that Tourism will be at the leading edge of the global response to climate change.
Davos Declaration Support Materials
From Davos to Bali: A Tourism Contribution to the Challenge of Climate Change
From Davos to Copenhagen and Beyond: Advancing Tourism’s Response to Climate Change
Lusaka Declaration on Sustainable Tourism Development, Climate Change and Peace
Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Climate Change and Tourism
Legazpi Declaration on Tourism's Response to Climate Change (for more information on the UNWTO-ASEAN International Conference on Tourism and Climate Change, Legazpi, Philippines, 19-20 May 2014, please click here)
2nd International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism (Davos)
Ministers’ Summit on Tourism and Climate Change (London)
UNWTO side event at the UNFCCC COP-13 Conference on Climate Change (Bali)
Publications on Climate Change
Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in the Tourism Sector: Frameworks, Tools and Practices
Climate Change and Tourism: Responding to Global Challenges (UNWTO/UNEP)
Summary of the report on Climate Change and Tourism- Responding to the Global Challenge
Climate Change and Tourism
This publication was prepared as a result of the First International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism which was held on 9-11 April 2003 in Djerba, Tunisia. It includes a basic report and summaries of the discussions and sessions on the consequences, opportunities and risks that the tourism sector is facing as a result of changes in world’s climate. The publication includes the Djerba Declaration on Tourism and Climate Change and the Agenda of Action.
- Djerba declaration -
Adaptation to Climate Change in the Tourism Sector
Worldwide air transport conference (ATCONF) (March 2013)
Making travel and tourism a more effective tool for sustainable development
WCC-3 Tourism White Paper. Weather and Climate Information for Tourism (Daniel Scott and Christopher Lemieux, August 2009)
Discussion Paper on Climate Change Mitigation Measures for International Air Transport (Chris Lyle, August 2009)
Tourism Development and Climate Change: Understanding, Anticipating, Adapting, Participating in the Common Effort (F. Frangialli)
Tourism, Air Transport and Climate Change (Lyle and Lipman)
Climate Change – Reality Check and Opportunity for Tourism (F.Frangialli)
UNWTO Overview: Tourism and Climate Change (G.Lipman)
Tourism & Climate Change- Confronting the Common Challenges (UNWTO)
Related Press Releases