Tourists' Perception of International Air Travel's Impact on the Global Climate and Potential Climate Change Policies
Tourism's increasing contribution to climate change, especially through the use of air travel, is now acknowledged. This study seeks to explore tourists' knowledge and awareness of aviation's impact on the climate, their sense of personal responsibility and their reactions to specific climate change policies. A focus group approach - informed by interviews with international tourists leaving New Zealand - was chosen to involve tourists in discussing climate change and travel. In the focus groups, three policy options were discussed: voluntary initiatives, a global air travel charge and a per capita carbon budget. The global air travel tax emerged as a realistic compromise between restricting travel and achieving emissions reduction. When discussing individual responsibility for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, tourists distinguished between their travel and their everyday life, where responsibility for mitigation was perceived to be greater. The value of freedom to travel is firmly established in the minds of many tourists and limiting travel is considered unacceptable by the (hyper) mobile tourists who participated in this research. Only major societal changes to bring about behavioural change seem likely to reduce air travel's contribution to climate change.
Journal of Sustainable Tourism
Tourism not elsewhere classified