6.6 Greener tourism?

Humans and the rest of biodiversity are critically linked and interdependent. The need for the conservation of diversity of natural habitats and ecosystems on earth is supported by the United Nations through the development of a complete and well-managed network of protected areas by the year 2020 (CBD Aichi 2020 target 11). This goal is achievable with the support of tourism.

The loss of ice in Greenland and the shrinking of glaciers in other parts of the Arctic currently contribute up to 40% of the average 3 mm global sea level rise per year. A number of studies suggest that Greenland could be a major contributor to a potential rise in sea levels of 0,5 to 1 meter by the end of the century. Tourists on expedition cruises are made aware of the challenges of climate change and may come home as environmental “ambassadors”. Photo: P. Prokosch
The mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) can be visited in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, within three National Parks: Mgahinga, in south-west Uganda; Volcanoes, in north-west Rwanda; and Virunga in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The species is listed as critically endangered. Visiting them helps to secure their future. Photo: P. Prokosch
The Coastal Archipelago Park of the South Coast (“Sørlandet”) of Norway covers an area of the Skagerak coast between Grenland in Telemark and Lindesnes in West Agder, including many hundreds of islands and skerries. The Sørland coast is one of the most important recreation areas of Norway and hosts a unique coastal ecosystem with special habitats and a rich biodiversity. Therefore tourism is regulated accordingly with special nature reserves and bird sanctuaries in place. Photo: P. Prokosch

There is no other group of people in the world more interested in protected nature than tourists.

  • Most national parks would not exist, if tourists would not visit them.
  • 50% of all tourists visiting foreign countries make use of protected areas (IUCN)
  • The estimated sum of 30 Billion USD needed every year for the management of a global complete network of protected areas can be raised by tourism. It is only less than 0,5 % of the global tourism turn-over.
  • There are many good examples  in the world, where tourism is supporting the establishment, development and management of protected areas by means of finances, education or political action.

No doubt, tourism is a business sector that can become much more eco-friendly. No doubt, in the long run, tourism and tourist business have common interests in maintaining attractive, safe, ethical and environmentally friendly tourist destinations.

Tourism can become an important driving force for sustainable development.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. UNWTO states:
During the 70th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, a record of 154 heads of state or government gathered at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York from 25-27 September 2015 to formally adopt the bold and ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that aim at, inter alia, – ending extreme poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, and tackling climate change.

goal 8

Goal 8 promotes sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Tourism is one of the driving forces of global economic growth, and currently provides for 1 in 11 jobs worldwide. By giving access to decent work opportunities in the tourism sector, society- particularly youth and women- can benefit from increased skills and professional development. The sector’s contribution to job creation is recognized in Target 8.9 “By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”.

goal 12

Goal 12 shall ensure sustainable Consumption and Production patterns. 

A tourism sector that adopts sustainable consumption and production (SCP) practices can play a significant role in accelerating the global shift towards sustainability. To do so, as set in Target 12.b of Goal 12, it is imperative to“Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism which creates jobs, promotes local culture and products”.

goal 14

Goal 14 shall conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. 

Coastal and maritime tourism, tourism’s biggest segments, particularly for Small Island Developing States’ (SIDS), rely on healthy and marine ecosystems. Tourism development must be a part of integrated Coastal Zone Management in order to help conserve and preserve fragile ecosystems. Tourism Development and serve as a vehicle to promote blue economy, in line with Target 14.7: “by 2030 increase the economic benefits of SIDS and LCDs from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, acquaculture and tourism”. 

7 Easy Things We Can All Do to Reach the Sustainable Development Goals

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HomeChapter  5 5 Green economy
Chapter 66 Greener future?
6.1 Green technology
6.1.1 Solar
6.1.2 Wind
6.1.3 Renewable energy
6.1.4 Energy storage
6.1.5 Geo-engineering
6.2 Ecological footprint
6.3 Greener law?
6.4 Greener business?
6.5 Greener architecture?
6.6 Greener tourism