Sustainability within the International Leisure Industry

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Sustainabilitywithin the International Leisure Industry

Theglobal demand for tourism has grown to phenomenal levels. Accordingto the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the numberof people crossing different borders for purposes of tourism hit thebillion mark in 2012 (Tosun 289). The surge was caused by acommensurate increase in the levels of incomes among the householdsfrom emerging economies. Furthermore, the UNWTO estimated that oversix billion people are involved in domestic tourism in their homecountries. With this huge statistics the tourism and leisure industrycontributes about 9% of the World’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)(291). The growth of this industry was, and continues to be immense,leading to unsustainable consequences.

Theindustry currently contributes about 5% of the global carbonemissions (292). Of the 5%, transportation takes a huge share of 4%,of the total emissions from the industry (293). Air travel leads inemissions at 40%, followed by car travel at 32%, and finally theaccommodations subsector contributing to only 1% of the totalemissions from the industry (293).

Accordingto a resolution by the Guardian roundtable on sustainable tourism andaviation, the world can draw a thick line between growth of thetourism and leisure industry and its growth of carbon emissions(Kasim 2). Based on the contributions of the think tanks during theroundtable, it is almost a foregone conclusion that the industryneeds sustainable practices like any other industry (9).

Whatthe industry should do to enhance sustainability

Industryleaders and experts should initiate an assessment of the social,economic and environmental impacts of the industry to the society(12). Some of the sources of information necessary for assessmentinclude local destination managers of different airlines. Ultimately,the information should guide them to adopt sustainable flyingtechniques and fuels. This is possible only if two major steps aretaken: (1) adopting an international emission trading scheme and (2)find and incorporate tools that can determine the impact ofunsustainable practices on destinations (19).


Kasim,Azilah. &quotThe need for business environmental and socialresponsibility in the tourism industry.&quot Internationaljournal of hospitality &amp tourism administration7.1 (2006): 1-22.

Tosun,Cevat. &quotChallenges of sustainable tourism development in thedeveloping world: the case of Turkey.&quot TourismManagement22.3 (2001): 289-303.