Promoting low-carbon tourism through adaptive regional certification

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Climate, 2021, 9, (1), pp. 1-22
Issue Date:
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Climate change is a key issue in sustainable tourism, both in terms of the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the tourism sector and the potential impacts of climate change on tourismdependent regions. Low-carbon tourism is an emerging paradigm based around emissions reduction by tourism businesses, as well as broader values of adaptation, transition and behavioral change. This article presents the results of a low-carbon tourism case study in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia, where the Low-Carbon Living Program has successfully designed and implemented a low-carbon rating and certification scheme. This scheme covers emissions related to energy, waste and water and is based on regionally-specific data. The program has also succeeded in its aim of using the tourism industry as a catalyst for broader community action, having been expanded to schools and retailers in the case study region. A transferable regional model has been developed that is being adapted for use in new regions under a modular and decentralised program structure. However, questions remain around the impact of the program on participants’ carbon footprints and customer levels over time, as well as the suitability of a common scorecard system to diverse participant types.
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