News & Events: Events, Conferences and Workshops
Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in the Tourism Sector: Frameworks, tools and practices. An International Seminar focusing on Developing Countries and Small Island States.
8th-10th April 2008 - Balliol College, Oxford
The direct and indirect impacts of climate change are particularly acute in developing countries and small island states, and limited attention has been paid to the impacts in these destinations, on their communities' livelihoods and their national economies.
Organised and coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Oxford University Centre for the Environment (OUCE) jointly with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), this international, high-level practical seminar for tourism stakeholders focused on capacity building and pragmatic adaptation and mitigation techniques, tools and methods for developing countries and small island states. It aimed to address the problems and meet the challenges presented to the tourism sector, by climate change.
To ensure practical and effective outputs, the number of attendees was limited, with the final delegate list including 25 senior tourism, environment and climate change professionals from a wide range of countries. The seminar was designed to provide a pragmatic platform for future capacity building workshops in developing countries and small island states around the world. It was held at Balliol College, one of Oxford University's most prestigious colleges from 7th-11th April 2008.
The delegates were provided with the Climate Change and Tourism publication prepared by UNEP, OUCE, UNWTO and WMO, and developed specifically for this event and for future regional seminars. The publication has two main components: an overview of the science and policy of climate change; and self-guidance sections on mitigation and adaptation offering an exploration of the tools, challenges and opportunities associated with climate change in tourism. It was supported in the seminar by presentations given by experts in the fields of climate change science and policy, adaptation and mitigation, and tourism. These were further consolidated by interactive discussions and exercises, and knowledge-sharing workshops on the interrelations between climate change and tourism, identifying the challenges and the ways forward in integrating efforts for the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change in a practical manner.
The seminar built on the Davos Declaration, a key output from the 2nd International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism, and supports the efforts of tourism stakeholders to integrate the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change into their broader institutional, policy and national goals, and programs in a practical manner. The seminar, and the regional seminars subsequently planned, aim to build the capacity of the tourism sector, specifically in developing countries and small island states, to address the threats, challenges and opportunities of climate change and implement the Davos Declaration recommendations. The Davos Declaration can be downloaded from the UNEP website.
Full Information and Logistics
Tourism is closely linked to climate change. Tourism involves the movement of people from their homes to other destinations and accounts for about two thirds of air-traffic movements; emissions from accommodation services and tourism activities are significant contributors to the increasing concentrations of Global Greenhouse Gases (GHG) in the atmosphere. Tourism not only contributes to climate change, but is affected by it as well; for example, climate change is likely to increase the frequency of severe weather events, which can have disastrous effects on tourism in the affected regions.
There are direct, indirect, and secondary impacts of natural disasters in the tourism sector. Direct impacts relate to the loss of human, natural and capital stocks, damage to tourism infrastructure, the environment and ecotourism resources such as reefs, mangrove, wildlife habitats and other natural attractions. The loss of tourism revenue, jobs of tourist service providers and interrupted tourism revenue flows are considered as indirect impacts, while impacts on the balance of payments and Gross Domestic Product, and threats to community livelihoods and national economies fall into the category of secondary impacts.
The 2nd International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism, held in Davos in 2007, was organised by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), jointly with UNEP and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), with the support of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Swiss Government. This event, building on the results of the First International Conference in Djerba, Tunisia in 2003 and on a workshop organised by UNEP, UNWTO and UNESCO under the Marrakech Task Force on Sustainable Tourism, gathered 450 participants from over 80 countries and 22 international organizations (including UNFCC), private sector organizations and companies, research institutions, NGOs and the media, with the aim of responding in a timely and balanced way to climate change imperatives in the tourism sector.
The main output of the conference was the Davos Declaration highlighting that "the tourism sector must rapidly respond to climate change, within the evolving UN framework and progressively reduce its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) contribution if it is to grow in a sustainable manner".
It was also during the Davos conference that many participants (especially from developing countries) requested from the conference organisers assistance with capacity building for tourism professionals (from both the public and private sector). A specific request for organizing seminars and workshops were made, focusing on adaptation and mitigation techniques, tools and methods.
The Oxford seminar built on the Davos declaration, as well as the commitments of the Bali Strategic plan to enhance capacity building based on best practices from both within and outside UNEP. It aimed to facilitate efforts by tourism stakeholders to integrate climate change into their broader institutional, policy and national goals and programs, while focusing specifically on building the capacity of senior professionals on mitigation and adaptation issues. The seminar also aimed to promote the mainstreaming of efforts on climate change and tourism.
Targeted audience and participants
The 25 delegates were drawn from over 120 applications and included senior officials and professionals from Tourism Ministries, Environment Ministries, National Tourism Organizations, Climate Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations and the Private Sector; particular emphasis was given to participants from developing countries and small island states.
Seminar design and themes
The three-day seminar, comprising publication, presentations and interactive sessions forms a model for the organization and content of future seminars, focusing on:
- Impacts of climate change on tourism destinations
- Emissions from tourism industry
- Adaptation techniques, methods and tools
- Mitigation measures and practices
- The role of governments and the private sector
- Case studies (best, worst and good practices)
The seminar publication was developed as an introduction to the field with readings, case studies, resources and exercises.
Key Instructional Staff and Coordination
The Instructional Staff and Facilitators comprised experts from institutions and organisations around the world, United Nations agencies, Oxford University and international development agencies. The Key Instructional Staff were as follows:
- Murray C. Simpson; Senior Research Associate at Oxford University Centre for the Environment; committee member UK International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change; Associate Professor, Estonian University of Life Science.
- Stefan Gössling; Associate Professor at the Department of Service Management, Lund University/Sweden; Research Co-ordinator of the Centre for Sustainable- and Geotourism at the Western Norway Research Institute.
- Daniel Scott; Canada Research Chair in Global Change and Tourism and Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of Waterloo, Canada.
- C. Michael Hall; Professor in the Department of Management, College of Business & Economics, University of Canterbury, New Zealand; Docent, Department of Geography, University of Oulu, Finland.
- Stefanos Fotiou; Tourism and Environment Programme Officer in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
- Luigi Cabrini; Director of the UNWTO department on "Sustainable Development of Tourism"
- Leslie Malone; Scientific Officer at the World Climate Applications & CLIPS Division in the WMO.
- Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in the Tourism Sector Seminar Final Report [PDF: 253KB]
- Appendix 1: Dr Mark New Climate Change Science Overview: Developing Countries, SIDS and Tourism [PDF: 218KB]
- Appendix 2: Dr Ulric Trotz Climate Change in the Caribbean [PDF: 1.4MB]
- Appendix 3: Dr Dan Scott & Dr Murray Simpson Climate Change and Tourism: State of the Art [PDF: 3.4MB]
- Appendix 4: Dr Mark New Climate Change "Forecasts" [PDF: 475KB]
- Appendix 5: Dr Ulric Trotz Modeling and Forecasting Climate Impacts in Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States [PDF: 683KB]
- Appendix 6: Dr Caroline Sullivan The Climate Vulnerability Index: Relevance to the Tourism Sector [PDF: 1.6MB]
- Appendix 7: Dr Ulric Trotz Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments in the Caribbean [PDF: 657KB]
- Appendix 8: Dr Murray Simpson Sectoral Approach [PDF: 71KB]
- Appendix 9: Dr Dan Scott Adaptation Strategies and Case Studies in Tourism Sector [PDF: 1.4MB]
- Appendix 10: Dr Stefan Gössling Reducing Carbon: a Global Perspective for a Global Problem [PDF: 1.0MB]
- Appendix 11: Dr Stefan Gössling Mitigation Evaluation Options for Tourism: Methods and Case Studies [PDF: 169KB]
- Appendix 12: Dr Dan Scott Guiding Principles and Essential Elements of Adaptation [PDF: 237KB]
- Appendix 13: Emma Whittlesea Tourism and Climate Change: Adaptation in the South West of England [PDF: 1.5MB]
- Appendix 14: Dr Dan Scott & Dr Murray Simpson Developing an Adaptation Process in the Tourism Sector [PDF: 766KB]
- Appendix 15: Dr Takeshi Takama Adapting to Climate Change in Developing Countries [PDF: 2.2MB]
- Appendix 16: Gabor Vereczi Adaptation to Climate Change in the Tourism Sector in the Fiji Islands: Preliminary experiences from a GEF project [PDF: 2.5MB]
- Appendix 17: Dr Stefan Gössling Measuring Carbon Emissions: How to... [PDF: 50KB]
- Appendix 18: Emma Whittlesea Resources and Energy Analysis Programme(REAP) Tourism Modelling [PDF: 522KB]
- Appendix 19: Information forthcoming
- Appendix 20: James Whittingham The Tour Operator's Role and Actions [PDF: 2.9MB]
- Appendix 21: Dr Stephan Harrison The Scientist's Role and Actions [PDF: 825KB]
- Appendix 22: Mario Bravo The Process of Strategic Communication [PDF: 93KB]
- Appendix 23: Dr David Dodman Climate Change and Tourism: The Policy Environment [PDF: 1.7MB]
- Appendix 24: Dr Stefanos Fotiou Challenges Ahead [PDF: 149KB]
- Appendix 25: Evaluation Form [Microsoft Word: 535KB]
- Appendix 26: Topics for Case Studies or Concept Papers [Microsoft Word: 458KB]
- Appendix 27: Seminar Programme [Microsoft Word: 558KB]