A new inquiry into the impacts of tourism and travel on the environment and how they can be reduced has been launched.
The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) is inviting written evidence on what the government can do to support a sustainable inbound tourism industry in the UK and how the sector should balance the need to encourage tourism while protecting fragile environments.
Tourism is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world, accounting for 10% of global GDP and just under 10% of total employment.
However, the growth in domestic and international travel has caused pressure in terms of carbon emissions, resource management and can have negative impacts on local communities and cultural assets if not managed properly.
The EAC says this can lead to the physical degradation of popular sites, congestion and air pollution in cities.
The tourism industry accounts for an estimated 8% of global greenhouse emissions.
The Committee is also seeking evidence on how well the UK industry is managing the impact of tourism in line with its obligations under the sustainable development goals, at home and abroad and if the government should take more responsibility for the impacts of outbound tourism.
EAC Chair Mary Creagh MP adds: “Now that summer is here, families are looking forward to a well-earned holiday. But when we book a cruise, flights or visit a popular tourist destination, it’s easy to forget about the environmental impact our holidays are having.
“The recent cruise ship collision in Venice, as well as protests both there and in Barcelona, are a sharp reminder of the effects of ‘over tourism’ and the damage that can be done to the environment and local quality of life.
“The industry adds 5% to global greenhouse emissions, putting out net zero by 2050 target at work. While there are some sustainable practices, we want to look closely at the government’s actions to ensure the economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism are minimised.”
Submissions should be made until 13th September 2019.