Essential resources for climate change & tourism

climate change tourism

It’s the biggest issue facing the world, and will change the shape of tourism forever.

Destinations may become uninhabitable, coastal regions lost to sea rises and storms, and energy costs will soar. Whether you are a student or CEO; whether you want ideas to improve your hotel’s energy efficiency or an inspirational speaker for your event, our collection of essential resources is the place to start.

A Few Facts
Best Practice Examples – Hotels
Research & Publications
Experts & Speakers
Tools & Resources
Twitter accounts
A Few Facts

A Few Facts

Calculations of the contribution of the industry to climate change range from 3.9% to 6% of human emissions, with the best estimate being that tourism is responsible for 4.9% of global emissions.

According to a new study published in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism,the damaging effects of CO2 emissions from tourism could eventually be eliminated if travelers paid just US$11 per trip.

The contribution of tourism to greenhouse gas emissions are projected to grow 130% between 2005 and 2035.

Emissions from transport and the built environment account for 95% of tourism’s emissions, meaning that reductions from those two sectors will dictate much of its mitigation potential.

Decarbonizing global tourism represents a long-term investment, but given its tremendous growth, the relative cost is less than 0.1 per cent of the estimated global tourism economy in 2020 and increases to 3.6 per cent in 2050.

Best Practice Examples – Hotels

Hotel Milano Scala

Essential resources for climate change & tourismA zero emissions hotel in Italy. According to Greenloons: “The use of water to water warm pumps, for heating as well as for the air-conditioning, without release of pollutants, is not the only aim which has been realised to reduce the energy consumption and the environmental impact. The hotel is equipped with an automated and computer-controlled system which controls for the dosage of the parameters of heating and cooling and their relative power consumption. The rooms are administered by magnetic cards to optimise the consumption; the windows are equipped with magnetic contacts which block the system when and while opened. In the kitchen induction plates permit fast and cooking loosing any heat.”

ITC Hotels, India

According to Greenhotelier, ITC is “the only company in the world of its size to achieve the environmental distinction of being water, carbon and solid waste recycling positive.” More than 50% of the total electrical energy demand at ITC hotels is met through renewable sources. ITC Gardenia, ITC Windsor, ITC Maratha and ITC Grand Chola are powered 100% by renewable energy, and ITC Sonar is said by Greenhotelier to be “the only hotel in the world to have earned carbon credits”.

Soneva, Maldives & Thailand

Stating on its website that its ultimate aim is to decarbonise operations, Soneva shows rare levels of transparency and accountability by factoring in guest flights into its carbon emissions. The company levies a compulsory additional charge of 2% of room revenue on each guest’s stay, with proceeds given to The Soneva Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that funds a range of projects that have a positive environmental, social and economic impact and importantly, offsets carbon emissions from resort activities and guest flights.

Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort, Guatemala

A finalist for WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Environment award for 2015, this Guatemalan ecolodge has undertaken some remarkable steps to reduce its climate footprint. Most notable of these is the facts that, despite the fact that 95% of its guests are omnivores, Laguna doesn’t serve any meat or fish. In addition, there are 180 solar panels producing 20Kw of continuous power, the website is hosted on a carbon neutral server, Wifi is provided by solar power. Even the clocks in the guest rooms are powered by water.

Hotel Verde, Cape Town, South Africa

Essential resources for climate change & tourismThe first carbon neutral hotel in Africa, Hotel Verde’s efforts are all the more remarkable when you consider this is an airport hotel. As well as  being as energy efficient (a one-night stay generates the equivalent of about 54 kilograms of carbon), the hotel offers every guest a carbon offset certificate to confirm their participation in the carbon-neutral programme. Proceeds go to the Kariba REDD+ project in Zimbabwe, which works with communities to reduce deforestation, provide training on responsible agriculture and improve the livelihoods of local people.

Boutique Hotel Stadthalle, Austria
Essential resources for climate change & tourism

European Winner of the Green Hotelier awards for 2015, Hotel Stadthalle has undertaken a renovation to make this townhouse boutique hotel ‘zero-carbon balanced’. According to Green Hotelier, There are now 130 square meters of solar panels, a water heat pump, and windmills on the roof.

Research & Publications

Climate Change: Implications for Tourism

A briefing published by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and the Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS) distils the key findings from the  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report for the tourism sector.

Can tourism be part of the decarbonized global economy? The costs and risks of alternate carbon reduction policy pathways

This paper from the Centre for Sustainable Tourism and Transport compares potential costs associated with different policy pathways to achieve tourism sector emission reduction ambitions (−50% by 2035) and transform the sector to be part of the mid-century decarbonised economy (−70% by 2050)

Travel & Tourism 2015; Connecting Global Climate Action

WTTC’s report outlines the preparedness of the sector for climate change alleviation measures and demonstrates the progress that has been made by the world’s airlines, airports, hotels, cruise lines, car hire companies and other industries in the last decade.

Time is of the essence: adaptation of tourism demand to climate change in Europe

This study analyses the potential impact of climate change on tourism demand in the European Union (EU) and provides long-term (2100) projections accounting for climate adaptation in terms of holiday duration and frequency

On climate change skepticism and denial in tourism

This paper stresses the extent of scientific consensus that human-induced warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Second, it responds in the context of tourism research, highlighting tourism’s significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, as well as climate change’s potential impacts on tourism at different scales.

Carbon labels in tourism: persuasive communication?

This paper argues that even if tourists care about their climate change impacts, carbon labels are currently ineffective because of deficiencies in communications. yet, since such deficiencies can be overcome, there are opportunities for carbon labels to become more widely and successfully used.

Decarbonizing tourism: Would you pay US$11 for a carbon-free holiday?

New study argues that the damaging effects of CO2 emissions from tourism could eventually be eliminated if travellers paid just US$11 per trip.

Tourism – Investing in energy and resource efficency

Seeks to make the case, primarily an economic one, for investing in the “greening” of tourism and provides guidance on how to mobilise such investments

Responding to Climate Change – Tourism Initiatives in Asia and the Pacific

Responding to climate change: tourism initiatives in Asia and the Pacific explores the general causes and effects of climate change on tourism at a global and regional level.

Tourism Development in a Changing Climate

On the occasion of the climate conference COP 15 in Copenhagen,respect in cooperation with EED-Tourism Watch, Naturefriends International and other partners illustrate backgrounds and perspectives on the role of tourism in international climate politics.

The publication shows that the interrelations between climate change and international development present major challenges to the tourism sector.

Experts & Speakers

Dr. Stefan Gössling

Dr. Stefan Gössling is a professor at the School of Business and Economics at Linnaeus University, Kalmar, and the Department of Service Management, Lund University. Stefan has worked with sustainable tourism and specifically climate change since 1992, focusing on aviation, transportation, mobilities, energy, mitigation, and resource use. His recent research interests include transport psychology and politics. Geographically, Stefan worked extensively in islands, particularly in the Western Indian Ocean and the Caribbean.

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson is professor of energy and climate change in the School of Mechanical, Aeronautical and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester. He was previously director of the Tyndall Centre, the UK’s leading academic climate change research organisation.

Tools & Resources

Sustainable Tourism and Climate Change research program

Program from Griffiths University that focuses on how to ensure that tourism activity is sustainable (economically, environmentally, socially and culturally) and resilient to major pressures, such as climate change or resource depletion. A particular focus is paid to tourism that occurs in the most vulnerable sites on the planet.

Energy efficiency in the kitchen

Advice from Green Hotelier on how to reduce energy use in hotel kitchens. Case studies, statistics and advice on everything from lighting to ovens.

Hotel Footprinting Tool

This new tool allows hotels to search the range of carbon emissions and energy usage among hotels around the world. It uses real data supplied by the industry’s global benchmarking study, aggregated to show the distribution of footprints in particular geographical locations.


Protect Our Winters

POW’s mission is to engage and mobilise the snowsports community to lead the fight against climate change. Its focus is on educational initiatives, advocacy and community-based activism.

I am PRO Snow

From veteran Olympians to bunny slope beginners, park rats to powder hounds, the I AM PRO SNOW community is working together to build support for real climate solutions so we can all look forward to perfect groomers, fresh powder, and first tracks for many years to come. part of Climate Reality

Plane Stupid

Plane Stupid is a network of grassroots groups that take non violent direct action against aviation expansion.

Twitter accounts

Twitter accounts worth following

Global environmental enterprise that innovates, connects & implements practical solutions for sustainable development & climate change. Not all tourism-related, but a very strong tourism component.


Independent reporting on aviation’s impact on the environment and climate change.


Professor of energy and climate change – interested in translating the science of climate change into carbon budgets, policy goals and mitigation options. Not only focussed on tourism, but very powerful when he does.


Blog dedicated to providing the progressive perspective on climate science, climate solutions, and climate politics. Again, covering all climate issues, but then all issues affect tourism.


A journalistic collaboration dedicated to exploring the impact—human, environmental, economic, political—of a changing climate.


An independent, non-profit, non-advocacy research and journalism organization dedicated to helping Americans understand how climate change connects to them.



Tourism on the move in a changing climate

Infographic that distils the key findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report for the tourism sector

Essential resources for climate change & tourism

Decarbonising Tourism

Decarbonising global tourism represents a long-term investment, but given its tremendous growth, the relative cost is less than 0.1 per cent of the estimated global tourism economy in 2020 and increases to 3.6 per cent in 2050. This infographic shows how it might be achieved.

Essential resources for climate change & tourism


A selection of helpful videos to introduce various issues and solutions for tourism and climate change. If you only do one thing, watch the first video.

The Ostrich or the Phoenix?

Partnerships for resilience

Webinar on energy efficiency

Hotel Energy Solutions

Travindy Youtube Playlist

Our youtube playlists are where we showcase useful and interesting films we discover or are sent.  To watch other videos in this Travindy Youtube Playlist, click on the three white horizontal bars in the top left corner of the video window.


Do you know of a resource that we should add to this introduction? Maybe it’s an article you’ve read, a pioneering hotel you have stayed in; or an inspiring speaker you have heard? Please let us know.

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