Protecting the environment is currently among the very talked-about and hotly-debated topics throughout the planet. Many companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make products or make their products environmentally friendly. A good example is that the electric car which has been looked at as a viable alternative to that of the current gasoline powered car. In 2009, world leaders met in Copenhagen to discuss ways in which they can prevent global warming and reduce on the consequences of climate change, in effect protecting the environment. The travel industry too hasn’t been left out of the matter. In an industry where the number of individuals engaged in international travel was predicted to reach the billion mark, there’s concern about its contribution to the harm done to the environment. Also like every other business the travel industry has to worry about methods of doing business that are environmentally friendly. Outlined below are a few of the environmental issues affecting the travel industry which stakeholders will need to address and sometimes seek out long term alternatives.
1. Aviation that ferries hundreds of thousands of tourists throughout the world is of great concern to people trying to protect the environment. A significant concern for the sector is greenhouse gas emissions and their implication for climate change. Aviation generates at least two percent of emissions. 1 way the aviation industry is working on this issue is by rolling out newer airplanes which have fuel efficient engines that means less carbon emissions. However not all airlines particularly in the poorer nations can afford buying new aircraft.
2. Mass tourism. With the expense of travel getting cheaper and an increasing number of people moving further away from their own countries to places which were formerly inaccessible but can currently be attained due to air transport, areas of environmental and historic significance are getting crowded. This is placing pressure on ecosystems within these regions and threatening the flora and fauna. Also climate change will mean that certain places won’t favour visitors due to weather conditions becoming intense which will result in overcrowding in different areas with more favourable weather conditions. Again this presents a threat to the ecosystems in the overcrowded places as well as the tourism of the region.
3. Deforestation. Notwithstanding the call to protect the environment there are still regions where massive logging is happening. This is also contributing to destruction of fauna and flora and is a threat to the tourism in these regions.
4. With the call to go green affecting all businesses throughout the globe the tourism sector hasn’t been left out. There’s pressure on those that are in the industry to discover ways of doing business which are sustainable and environmentally friendly. For example can the resort industry build hotels which are more environmentally friendly? What methods can they use to conserve energy and reduce on substances that are used in the dry cleaning of heaps of laundry employed in the business?
5. Human encroachment. With inhabitants continuing to grow worldwide there’s now competition between man and animals for space. Humans are now encroaching on areas like National Parks which are protected and marked for wildlife. This has resulted in reports of individuals and their livestock being killed by wild animals which then results in people hunting and killing these creatures that are thought of as a threat. This is a threat to the tourism of the region. Human encroachment is also forcing animals to move away from their habitat into other regions where they can’t survive resulting in the extinction of particular species.