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Tourism's Carbon Impact
#1
Recent studies have shown that tourism accounts for 8% of carbon emissions. When people travel, many do not take the time to stop and think about the environmental footprint they are leaving through their air travel, retail services as well as the maintenance required to support tourism. In past years, the carbon impact from tourism has only been 2-3%, yet in recent years, it has raised to 8%, which may not seem like a lot, but it is. And as tourism is growing by 4% annually, this number is projected to continue to increase. I believe that an option that may help decrease or even allow for consistency in this percentage would be to make a tax when individuals travel by air, and the money that would be made by this would go back towards finding alternative sources of energy that would not entail such a high usage for carbon. This tax would also open the eyes of travellers to what they are causing when they go on vacation. The leading countries, USA, China, India and Germany, stem from wealthy travellers traveling to other opulent destinations. Because these tourists are wealthy, they may travel so much that it may drive up the overall carbon impact of tourism, and because of this, I believe that we should try to spread the word about what a detrimental cause the carbon footprint of tourism is causing. 

Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-44005013
#2
While it is evident that humans are releasing unprecedented amounts of carbon dioxide, methane, water vapour and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, I believe that increasing the tax for travelling will do more harm than good. Imagine the countless refugees and people who are trying to escape their country that will not be able to flee because of a small tax increase which would equate to a large additional sum of money for them. As well, many people who have enough money to pay for the trip might not want to, however they might resort to travelling in other means such as with their carbon emitting car, bus, train, etc.. Overall, I don't think this would be a wise decision when taking account the national economic infrastructure. Another option that I can believe would benefit us enormously long-term is to slowly invest money into the research of travel my means of green energy. And not just hybrid cars or cars run by solar energy, every means of travel where applicable, buses, airplanes, trains, you name it. Due to the controversy surrounding green energy and how its benefits won't pay out for a long time, it may be difficult to jump right into this solution but I believe a prioritization in slowly investing in green energy is what will set a difference in the future of this planet.
#3
I agree with George that raising taxes could have adverse effects on other areas of society, but I also think that something must be done to reduce our effect on the environment through tourism. Perhaps we could put a tax only on the more expensive, first-class flights. This could save the less wealthy from having to pay too much tax for their flight, but those who fly first-class are typically wealthy enough that their vacation would not be made or broken by a taxation on their flight. Travelling by air is still definitely the largest culprit for carbon emissions by tourism, since in almost all cases taking a bus, train, or even a car would be more carbon efficient than an airplane. 

Another reason for the carbon emissions of tourism is just because of the industry itself. When people are on vacation, they do not want to focus on their carbon footprint. Wealthy individuals always want the best, most expensive (and often imported) food. In general, the more money that people make, the higher percentage of it is spent on tourism. This happens at an alarming rate of 13% more money for every extra 10% of income.

Tourism is certainly an important and leading worldwide industry, but that is exactly what it is: an industry. Every industry needs to reduce carbon emissions as much as possible, and tourism is not exempt from that. The difficulty is, as always, finding a healthy balance.
#4
The fact that doing something great like travelling could be detrimental to the environment. Like you said, most people are not aware that they are doing harm to the environment by going on a trip to escape from their normal lives. When these people are buying plane tickets to go to Hawaii or even to visit their family in a close city, the environment pays. I think that it's sad to think about when you gain something, another loses something. I think our world is trying to become more efficient and resourceful when it comes to issues like this thankfully, and while we have a long way to go, as it says in the article, "We've seen a growing number of hotels, airports and tour operators that have all become carbon neutral so there is a momentum." Even if it's not every hotel and airport out there, the effort from big companies to help calm this carbon problem is good. Something I don't necessarily agree about it raising taxes. It already costs quite a lot to travel via plane, and more people wouldn't have the privilege to travel, as it would only be the wealthy people travelling. If taxes are raised, it wouldn't be a problem for the wealthy if they're already paying loads to travel, and the wealthy is the main cause of this problem, so I don't think there would be much fixed by it.


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