At a side event organised in Durban on the occasion of the recent climate negotiations, representatives of civil society, the tourism industry, government and the World Tourism Organization discussed the nexus of tourism and climate justice. Sabine Minninger reports on the discussion which centred around the question whether the tourism lobby should be allowed to project tourism as a tool for poverty alleviation in order to prevent binding regulation of aviation emissions.
In a position paper, tourism NGOs and associations had pointed out that mere growth figures do not provide any evidence on the extent to which tourism actually benefits the poor. Should binding regulations in aviation really mean disadvantages for developing countries, mechanisms could be put in place to compensate those countries. UNWTO is called upon to discuss this option with its members instead of obstructing the climate negotiations. UNWTO, however, prefers to focus on investments in "green tourism" for job creation, poverty alleviation, and climate change mitigation.