Unused Potential for Climate-related Transparency in the German Tourism Industry

Tour operators have an influence on their customers' behaviour and environmental impact in many ways: by designing their products in a suitable manner, by reducing avoidable flights, by providing information on the impact of tourism on the climate, and by offering good and easily accessible compensation options.

However, so far they hardly make use of the possibilities they have, says Teresa Bauriedel. In a study for Tourism Watch, she examined the information given by companies on climate change, the options offered to customers with regard to the compensation of aircraft emissions, the possible length of stay, and whether feeder flights are avoided. The results are rather disappointing. Only 17 out of the 45 companies from the tourism and aviation industry which were part of the research provide customers with the opportunity to compensate emissions, and not all of these offers follow quality standards as applied by "Atmosfair" or "Klima-Kollekte". Based on the findings of Teresa's research, Tourism Watch calls upon tour operators to make better use of their potential to improve the ecological footprint of their travel products and to increase climate-related transparency. Political decision makers are called upon to phase out subsidies that have adverse impacts on the climate and to make more environmentally friendly modes of transport competitive. Tourists should avoid flights, increase their length of stay, and compensate the emissions of flights that they consider unavoidable.


(TW 74, March 2014)