Tourism and Environmental Health in a Changing Climate: A New Framework for Tourism Destinations

Running in fieldWe equip change makers with evidence they need to act now to protect and improve the environments that determine our health. That’s why our International Sustainable Tourism Initiative developed A new management framework to advance tourism and environmental health in a changing climate.

The framework helps local governments measure consumption of resources related to tourism activities and monitor progress towards a selected set of environmental strategies, so that their regions can meet global, national, and local goals for sustainable development and climate change mitigation and adaptation. It was designed to go beyond operational impact and include broader systems, such as the vital natural resources that need to be protected to improve resilience to climate change impacts.

This management framework uncovers the indirect costs of tourism development and reveals to local authorities how to prevent boom and bust cycles, and avoid growth without adequate recompense for supporting sustainable infrastructure in host countries. We are establishing collaborative research programs to pilot our framework with local research and planning institutions in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

Local authorities will benefit in a number of ways. For example, the framework will:

  • Reveal the indirect costs of tourism growth, and the investment required to protect environmental health and local population well-being
  • Measure municipal costs for servicing tourism and guide decision making on policies and infrastructure
  • Help to develop strategic mitigation and adaptation plans to protect tourism economies and local populations when climate impacts worsen
  • Trigger international funding, subsidies, and impact investment for sustainable infrastructure projects, such as solar energy and alternative waste treatment for tourism areas
  • Create a new category of research based on empirical data to drive global research cooperation on destination planning

Contact Megan Epler Wood, Director of our International Sustainable Tourism Initiative, for more information.

We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate on this project with:

  • The Travel Foundation
  • GIZ in two destinations in Tunisia

Team Member: Sofia Fotiadou, Research Manager


Advisor: Klaus Lengefeld, GIZ