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Tourism and Carbon Footprints

Last August 12, 2013, Mark Evidente of TwoEco, Inc. spoke at the University of the Philippines Asian Institute of Tourism (UP-AIT) at a Forum on Tourism and Climate Change.

While tourism promotes greater awareness and appreciation of the environment, the fact remains that it is a significant contributor to climate change. Transportation - and air travel in particular - generates large amounts of greenhouse gases that trap heat from the sun and drives the process of climate change. Tourist accommodations also contribute to it, given that many tourists, while frugal at home, often tend to consume more while on vacation, from leaving the air conditioning on or taking long hot baths.

Building on the theme that the industry cannot manage what cannot be measured, Mark discussed how to get an approximation of a tourist's contribution to climate change by examining a "typical tourist" on a "typical itinerary" - looking into his or her modes of transport, choices of accommodation, activities and attractions, and computing the carbon dioxide emissions generated from all those different aspects of a tourist's journey.

Extrapolating from this "typical tourist", it is thus possible for the tourism enterprise or the entire industry to get a good sense of how much it contributes to climate change, to encourage tourists to adopt a more environmentally conscious decisions even when on vacation, and perhaps even use these decisions to further enrich - instead of diminish - the visitor experience.

Other speakers at the forum were Philippine Climate Change Commissioner Naderev Sano, on Confronting the Realities of Climate Change and Tourism, and UP-AIT Professor Caloy Libosada, on Tourism Industry Responses to Climate Change.

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