Tourism and its impact on the climate

Tourism and its impact on the climate

 

This is an extract from the e-update July 2017 published by epomm.eu (European Platform on Mobility Management).

Tourism and its impact on the climate

For most holiday travelers, the mode of transport is a means to an end, i.e. no more than a method of reaching one’s destination comfortably, quickly and inexpensively. The choice of transport mode is normally of secondary importance unless the transport mode is the key element, e.g. on a cycling holiday.

While in recent years the number of person-kilometers in the context of everyday life within cities has only slowly increased in Europe, long-distance mobility (> 100 km one way) continues to grow substantially (see also ifmo‘s 2014 study Long-distance Mobility, Current Trends and Future Perspectives).

An estimated level of 5 percent of all anthropogenic emissions of CO2 are generated from tourism (see also Climate Change and Tourism, Responding to Global Challenges, 2008 UNWTO) and still, about half of all worldwide tourism trips originate in Europe.

Simulated conditions for summer tourism in Europe for 2071-2100 /PESETA I – click to enlarge

 

Mass tourism threatens European heritage cities

Heritage cities attract many visitors, generating benefits and costs. When the costs exceed the benefits, tourism development is no longer sustainable, and interventions become necessary. In order to develop guidelines to help heritage cities manage their tourism more adequately, the tourism market and policy of seven art cities were analysed by the University of Venice. It was shown that tourism is threatening not only the vitality of their local economies, but also the integrity of their heritage and the quality of life of their residents.

Some figures to think about:

  • Venice: 60,000 inhabitants, 22 million visitors per year, 2 million come by cruise ships, 80 percent are day visitors (do not stay overnight or longer)
  • Amsterdam: 840,000 inhabitants - 17 million visitors per year, €9.8 billion revenue (of which a high share goes to international investors).
  • Bruges: 118,000 inhabitants, 7.8 million visitors per year, €444 million revenue per year.

The author of this study, Prof. Jan Van der Borg (KU Leuven and University of Venice), for many years did research on this growing phenomenon and warns that the negative effects of this mass hit-and-run city trip tourism might be greater than the positive return.

 

The message is a simple one

The combination of sustainable mobility and sustainable tourism offers inherent opportunities to the traditional mobility management strategies.

This is because recreation and tourism are activities in which the quality of the environment at the destination adds to the quality of leisure time spent. In this context, people are more receptive to ideas about reducing motorised traffic, not only because they see the short-term effect in the visited environment (traffic jams, noise, emissions), but also because of the emotional link between recreation and a clean environment.

The idea must be to establish a strong link between the quality of tourism and recreation and how this is supported by sustainable mobility behaviour.

 

Six Islands-One goal: Better sustainable mobility for tourists and citizens

CIVITAS DESTINATIONS builds up an integrated approach to address mobility and tourism, testing balanced strategies to face the rising challenges of these two growing sectors and to achieve sustainable development and a better quality of life. Here are some examples:

  • With the accommodation and mobility package on the island of Elba, tour operators, hotels and campsites shall make an agreement with transport operators for offering special packages that include accommodation and, for example, public transport passes.
  • The measure SMART destination in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria gathers data on where and how tourists are moving around and to clearly identify their favourite walking, cycling and public transport routes. This data helps to better define new local policies about leisure and tourism mobility.
  • Attractive and accessible public spaces to promote intermodal leisure trips in Limassol will introduce integrated sustainable mobility services for tourists at certain connection points within the city of Limassol. The measure also aims to create an ecological route to visit the most attractive spots of the city.
  • The implementation of a Sustainable Regional Mobility Plan for Madeira will help to collect mobility data and to support transport planning of all regional transport actors, modes and transport infrastructure.

 

  • In Rethymno, a feasibility study will be conducted to identify a viable business case scenario for setting up and maintaining a self-sustained Green Mobility Card for payment and incentives to award tourists and residents for choosing sustainable mobility options.

 

  • With the Green Mobility Hotel Award in Valetta, a competition will be launched that invites hotels to propose measures to promote and encourage sustainable mobility. The winning measure shall be implemented.

 

Charming Villages in the Alps offering green mobility

The umbrella organisation Alpine Pearls links 24 of the most gorgeous Alpine villages in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland in their quest for soft mobility’ and climate-friendly holidays. They offer special car-free adventures perfectly fitted for the guests’ needs while simultaneously guaranteeing full mobility at the respective holiday destination, each of which is called a ‘pearl’. This mobility starts on the train or bus trip to the pearl.

At each pearl, numerous shuttle services, hikers’ and ski buses, taxicab services, e-cars, bicycles and e-bikes make sure that the tourist gets around easily, yet without adversely affecting the environment. To complete this emphasis on environmentally friendly mobility, the pearls offer Guest & Mobility Cards, which allow free access to local public transport.

One of the pearls, the city of Werfenweng in Austria, is also partner in the project EuroSen – Europe for Seniors – co-funded by the COSME programme of the European Union. EuroSen has seniors as the main target group, and organises its mobility to be sustainable. In EuroSen, local hosts welcome travelers like a family member and show them their everyday life and traditions. Hence, they get to know different countries and cultures through the eyes of a local and can become part of a foreign community.

 

Mobility management for leisure and tourism-An Austrian national funding and consulting programme

The Austrian klimaaktiv mobil programme addresses the tourism and leisure industry and provides tourism regions, businesses and other stakeholders with information about best practices. Furthermore, and this is a core aspect, the klimaaktiv mobil programme offers a check of concrete ideas for mobility measures in the region, as well as information and support for funding opportunities, which is often a stepping stone for follow-up projects at a larger scale. Christine Zehetgruber from komobile presented “10 years of mobility management for leisure time and tourism through klimaaktiv mobil” also during the last ECOMM in Maastricht.

The "Wilder Kaiser” region in Tyrol is a typical example, where the region started with one new mobility offer – in this case an e-bike rental – and after a few years implemented additional mobility services, such as a hiking and skiing bus and a guest card. Another example is Neukirchen in Salzburg, which implemented new hiking busses and the integration of various mobility services in a guest card for free, the "Wildkogel Card". This card received so much praise that in 2016 the tourism management decided to extend the guest card with free mobility offers to the whole national park region comprising 19 municipalities, calling it "Nationalpark Hohe Tauern Sommercard mobil”. The card is issued for free to guests staying at least one night. In the first season, over 56,000 cards were issued and just as many free public transport rides were counted.

One of the recent strategic milestones of the programme was the intersectoral cooperation between the ministries of economy, transport and environment. One of the outcomes of this cooperation is the Austrian tourism-mobility conference which is an annual public event for the tourism and transport industry.

The ministerial cooperation also provided a practical guidance for practitioners in tourism. This folder (available in German), provides short and precise background for understanding the necessity for action, as well as ideas for measures in the field of tourism and mobility.

 

Corporate identidy and tourist map for cyclists

Cycling is one of the most important leisure activities in the province of West-Flanders. Together with the provincial government, Westtoer developed a supply of recreational cycle possibilities in West-Flanders. Besides the creation of new cycle products, Westtoer wanted to invest in the development of the recreational network as a member of the IEE-project STREAM.

Old railway tracks and cycle paths along rivers and canals can be seen as the backbone of the recreational network. The selected design was based on the look and feel of an old railway track. On the basis of this design, the landscape architects designed different elements to be used along the railway track such as resting places, cycle parking, milestones, crossings and information panels. As the old railway tracks were not very well known by the cyclists, communication and signposting were very important.

 

Conclusion

The TRANSDANUBE project established the following principles and recommendations for sustainable mobility within the Danube region that can be used by any European city or region looking to combine sustainable mobility with sustainable tourism:

  1. Transport and tourism authorities must work on a comprehensive understanding of the mobility challenge and on vertically and horizontally integrated solutions.
  2. The transport sector must offer a customer-oriented choice of high quality, healthy and environmentally friendly, energy efficient and carbon neutral modes of transport (especially trains, buses, bicycles and boats).
  3. The technology sector has to develop user-friendly communication technologies and new low or zero vehicles using renewable sources of energy.
  4. Destinations must provide excellent connections to local and regional transport, enable easy arrivals and departures, guarantee environmentally friendly mobility including for the ‘last mile’ (public transport, flexible traffic systems, shuttle services, rental of non- or low-polluting vehicles, footpaths, cycle tracks, horse carriages etc.)
  5. The tourism industry should create new, attractive offers) which include environmentally friendly mobility solutions.

 

Upcoming Events!

 

This is an extract from the e-update July 2017 published by epomm.eu (European Platform on Mobility Management). It is also available in French, German and many other languages. SUTP is very grateful to epomm.eu for sharing its valuable resources with the SUTP community! SUTP has contributed the Spanish translation.

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