The Impact of Mass Tourism, the Value of Small Islands
This month’s newsletter is about travel, vacations, and the impact of mass tourism on the changing climate. But that’s not all. It also shows ways to make hospitality more sustainable from an environmental and human perspective. A portion of this Lapilli+ has been written on board a sailboat, one of the most sustainable modes of transportation, while sailing at full speed across the Tuscan archipelago. And, on the topic of sailing from one Mediterranean island to another, we spoke with Lucio Bellomo, who in 2018 traveled by himself in search of what insularity still means.
Lately, there has been a lot of talk about how climate change is affecting tourist flows in the Mediterranean, one — particularly Spain, France and Italy — of the most visited areas in the world. In 2019, there were 400 million visitors alone, a figure that is expected to rise to 500 million by 2030 (The Guardian).
Continuous heat waves, vast wildfires and intense rainfall alternating with periods of drought are causing many people to rethink their summer plans (Reuters). At the same time, cities, especially those with great art and museums, are struggling in taking adequate measures to adapt during the hottest months of the year (The New York Times).
But tourism itself contributes to climate change. The global tourism sector is estimated to be responsible for roughly 8 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, which are at the root of global warming. The largest share of this figure stems from transportation, particularly air travel followed by vehicular travel. There is also the entire tourism supply chain, including the manufacturing of goods and services for tourists, hotel emissions and food production.
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