Study reveals tourism impact on environment, hosts and economy

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.54.02The Travel Foundation has published, in partnership PwC, the results of what it claims is the most comprehensive destination impact assessment of tourism operations ever undertaken. The study measures the impact of 60,000 TUI Group customers who visited 8 hotels in Cyprus in 201, employing PwC’s “Total Impact Measurement and Management” (TIMM) methodology to measure and value a wide range of economic, tax, environmental and social impacts.

Significantly these measurements include the wider impacts from the supply chain as well as customer and employee spend, which when combined almost always exceed the direct impact of the hotels themselves.

“This pilot represents a major advance in understanding how tourism impacts on destinations and confirms that visitor numbers on their own can only tell half the story,” said Salli Felton, Chief Executive of the Travel Foundation. “A’big picture’ approach can best inform those who develop and manage tourism so that local communities, the environment and businesses thrive. It’s clear from our research that broad public and private sector collaboration is essential, and every tourism organisation with a stake in a destination or a particular sustainability challenge will have something to contribute.”

In Brief
  • Data was collected from: 8 hotels representing over 60,000 customers a year: over 600 hotel employees and TUI holiday advisors: airport and ground handlers: various Cyprus Government departments: and TUI Group head offices in the UK and Nordics
  • The positive economic and tax benefits are by far the greatest impact – amounting to €84 per guest per night – far exceeding the negative environmental (-€4) and social (-€0.2) costs. However, this is a one-year (2013) snapshot and does not take account of the construction of the hotels. In addition, many environmental and social impacts will accumulate over a longer timeframe
  • Greenhouse gas emissions are the most significant environmental cost – although this represents less than 0.01% of total emissions in Cyprus. However, the impact more than doubles if flights to/from Cyprus are included
  • The most significant social benefit is that associated with ‘on the job’ experience, with an upper estimate of €6.2 per guest night.
In Depth
In the Future
Jeremy Smithhttp://www.jmcsmith.com
Jeremy Smith is the editor and co-founder of Travindy. He is a writer and communications consultant working for a more responsible and sustainable tourism industry. He is the author of two books, writes a fortnightly blog on responsible tourism for World Travel Market, and provides consultancy to a wide range of companies and organisations, ranging from National Parks to individual hotels and tour operators.

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