No. 106 - Tourismus in a Changing Climate (09/2021)

Issue Number
Flood in Hoi An
© Toomas Tartes_unsplash

Since 50 years, the international community celebrates World Tourism Day annually on September 27. On this day, the World Tourism Organization, which hosts the celebrations, recognizes the potential of tourism for sustainable development. In 2021, the theme will be "Tourism and Inclusive Growth". For the eighth year in a row, the focus will be on the economic potential of tourism. The ecological challenges we are facing were highlighted the last time in 2013. It is more than 10 years ago, that World Tourism Day focused on climate change in 2008. Meanwhile, the emissions of travel grew by 25 percent.

The social impact of tourism tends to be an ornamental feature on World Tourism Day – also this year, where the attribute "Inclusive" was somewhat artificially placed in front of the word "Growth". It is clear: Growth is the family name, inclusive only the "first name". The World Tourism Organization has its eye on the old growth model, rather than the urgent need to transform tourism in a world that keeps heating up.

In the current issue of Tourism Watch, we focus on the potential of tourism to be part of an economic transition - away from fossil resources - and where the challenges lie in doing so. We show how tourism itself will be affected by the scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - in short, what tourism will look like in a warming world where temperatures of 48 degrees, like this summer in southern Europe, are becoming more frequent.

The latest Tourism Watch is a suitable read for the upcoming German national election on September 26th. The ostrich technique – to bury your head into the sand, hoping that climate change won't see you yet - is unfortunately the safest way into the next crisis. On a heated planet - as shown by the destruction on the Greek vacation islands, on the Turkish coast popular with vacationers, and the beautiful wine tourism areas in the German Ahr Valley - there will no longer be any lasting growth in tourism - no matter what first name you give it.

Tourism in a changing climate

Tourism at 48°C

Strand-Fales auf Samoa
© Susanne Becken

In many destinations, climate change puts the future of tourism at stake. Apart from mitigation, adaptation will be a major challenge.

The journey to climate neutrality

Strategien für eine Just Transition im Tourismus
© Thomas Lohnes

The Science Based Targets initiative shows companies, including tour operators how much and how fast they need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

No Long-Term Plan for Lakshadweep

Insel im Meer
© Anuj Chauhan_Unsplash

A planned tourism project in the Indian Union Territory of Lakshadweep meets with resistance from both local people and the scientific community.

Tourism instead of coal in Romania

Bergbau im Jui-Tal, Rumänien
© Andrei Dudea for Planeta Petrila

Romania is taking the chance for a sustainable transition away from coal - and gives the old coal fields in Jiu Valley a new economic significance through tourism.

Short information, literature and material

Child protection in tourism

Sexual exploitation of children is a current and important issue. ECPAT Germany re-launched its online training for tourism professionals in English, German, and French.


Symposium Human Rights in Tourism


Online-Symposium „From Obligation to Aspiration: Supply Chain Laws and the Business Case of Putting People first. Due Diligence in the Tourism”

CREST World Tourism Forum


The Center for Responsible Travel and Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency are inviting to their fifth World Tourism Day Forum on "Tourism in the Climate Crisis."


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