Carbon intensity of tourism in Austria: Estimates and policy implications
Publication from Life
Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism , 10/2020
In relation to international obligations, under the Paris Climate Agreement and as a member state of the EU, Austria is expected to drastically cut carbon emissions over the coming years. In order to achieve this goal, measures to reduce emissions have to be taken in all sectors of the national economy. In this context it is interesting to note that to date it is widely unknown how much emissions are caused by the Austrian tourism sector, despite its great importance in the country’s economy, making up for 6.4% of the gross domestic product. The main reason for this situation is that most products and services consumed by tourists are not exclusive to tourism alone. Transport emissions, for instance, are caused by tourists, but also by commuters, transport of goods, and other reasons. The present paper explores how the complete emissions of tourism in Austria might be calculated for a given year, or even integrated into a regular monitoring scheme. In addition, first estimates are made, based on currently available data, following a destination-based accounting which takes into consideration not only emissions caused within Austria but also those generated abroad by travel of international tourists visiting the country. The results demonstrate the crucial importance of tourism as a contributor to the nation- wide carbon emissions, especially tourist transport by car and aircraft. In line with these findings, the paper indicates what measures should be taken to reduce the carbon footprint of the Austrian tourism sector.
Keywords: tourism, CO2 emissions, climate change mitigation, transport sector, air travel