Defining carbon footprints of tourism packages

There is a growing awareness within the tourism industry as well as among tourists of the carbon footprints of tourism. The purpose of the Implementation & Adoption of Carbon footprint in Tourism travel packages (IMPACT) pathfinder project is a market analysis to investigate the interest in a global standard for carbon footprint assessment and carbon management of tourism packages.

The climate change issue

Tourism is not only the largest, growing industry in the world, it also accounts for 5 to 12 % of global greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, more and more tourists require information about carbon footprints of tourism packages. Yet, reliable data to determine this is lacking. The same can be said for the tourism industry, such as tour operators, travel agencies, e-business sales operators  and in business travel corporations. Although they realise that they need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, they now have no means to calculate the carbon footprint of all of their products and services in a reliable and mainly automated way.

The project solution

The aim  of the market analysis is to define the opportunities  of business models for  a potential global standard for carbon footprint assessment and carbon management that is accessible for the tourism industry and/or the general public. The market analysis also aims to examine how offset (compensation) programmes can be made more attractive to tourists. Although there are various existing carbon calculators, they usually cover only one particular aspect of tourism packages. The end goal of the IMPACT project is a comprehensive, integrated carbon footprint calculator covering a  wide range of travel products from home to destination to home again: including flights, accommodation and tourism activities.  This calculator will provide tour operators with information to calculate the carbon emissions caused by their various products and services. That way, they can offer their customers more options for choice to reduce their carbon footprints in an easy and simple way.

The role of Climate-KIC

“Working with Climate-KIC with its extensive network helped us find new partners in France as well as Germany, both from knowledge institutions and businesses. This gives the project great added value, as our partners not only bring in their own expertise, but also provide us with all kinds of additional data and network.” Martin Goossen, Wageningen University and Research Centre