Vacations Are No Good for the Planet

Science Fields

You may say “it’s great for me!”… but the recently calculated carbon footprint of tourism turned out to be four times higher than before, accounting for 1/12th of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. So, think of it that way too.

Previous analyses included carbon dioxide emissions from flights only. But when the construction and maintenance of hotels, airports, along with the production of food, beverage and souvenirs for tourism purposes are also taken into account, estimates of carbon emissions heating our planet increase dramatically.

A recent study looked into data from 160 countries and found that global tourism was responsible for 8 percent of global emissions in 2013, with 4.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. Flights only accounted for 12 per cent of that amount.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization's suggestions to reduce the carbon footprint of tourism include choosing destinations closer to home, using public transportation instead of individual cars, and government incentives to tourism providers for boosting their energy efficiency. Unless trends change, the carbon footprint of global tourism is expected to rise more than 40 percent by 2025.


  • 1. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/05/tourism-eight-times-worse-planet-previously-believed
  • 2. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0141-x