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  • Logan Young

How Tourism is affecting the environment

Updated: Aug 28, 2019

We all love traveling and the luxuries that come with it. Around 1.4 billion people are traveling internationally yearly and it's only going to raise from there(Somani, 2019). But with the rise in travel, we have to start thinking about the effects it has on the environment.

How bad has it got?

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, around 8% of our global carbon emissions come solely from international travel(Gabbatiss, 2019). Not to mention the global tourism industry is growing 5% each year as traveling becomes more accessible than ever before(Gabbatiss, 2019).

From 2009 to 2013 our global carbon emissions from tourism have raised by 15% which is 4.5gt of carbon dioxide by the end of 2013(Malik, 2019). According to The Conservation, it is estimated to rise to 6.5gt by 2025 annually(Malik, 2019).

Who & what’s to blame?

Now we aren’t saying to stop traveling that would be absurd. But how we treat the places we visit must change. From how we travel to our expectations of luxury.

Many small islands main income comes from tourists. It can’t be surprising that much of their pollution is also caused by tourists as well. When we travel to these islands we like shop, eat and travel around the country. We expect hotels and resorts to be luxurious. But at a cost.

The waste of food, water, increased amount of trash & low wages for the locals. Compared to traveling to a place like las vegas where a tourists footprint is much lower compared to the locals.

It’s both us (the traveler) and the destinations responsibility to make sure that we are limiting this impact. For the countries & islands that have a slower economy, it’s likely that they don’t have the same advancements in technology.

For this, governments & companies from a richer economy must assist in the development of these technologies that can help with restraining the impact, so that we can continue traveling to these beautiful and cultured places while keeping the integrity of the environment intact.

How can reduce our carbon footprint while traveling

If you are looking to do you part in reducing your footprint while traveling here are a few tips:

Fly less - If you are able to reach your destination without a plane, do it. Planes play a main role in the carbon footprint you leave when traveling. Think about traveling by train or a boat as the footprint is divided. If this isn’t an option be sure to fly economy as more carbon is distributed per person in business class.

Pack light - The more weight, the more fuel is used while traveling on a plane. Try to resist bringing anything that is not a necessity with you.

Treat the place your visiting like your home - Try to reduce the amount of waste your producing. Bring reusables so that you don’t produce a great amount of plastic waste and only use as much water as you need, only do laundry with full loads & cold water.

Now that you have an idea of how tourism plays a great part in our carbon emissions, we hope that this article helps you maintain a low footprint while you travel this beautiful planet.


Somani, Sharmeen. “How 'Trashy' Tourism Threatens World-Famous Destinations.” Global News, 28 June 2019,

Malik, Arunima. “The Carbon Footprint of Tourism Revealed (It's Bigger than We Thought).” The Conversation, 18 May 2019,

Gabbatiss, Josh. “Nearly One Tenth of Global Carbon Emissions Come from Tourism.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 7 May 2018,

Brooking, Francesca. “The 10 Best Ways To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint When Travelling This Summer.” Society19 UK, 2 May 2019,

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