Travel smart and slash emissions, says PolyU professor
Fewer short breaks, no business class, ways for tourists to do their bit for climate change
Tourists can play a key role in the fight against climate change and can help cut carbon emissions by changing their habits, Polytechnic University academics say.
Speaking at the release of a study on reducing tourism's carbon footprint, the researchers from the university's School of Hotel and Tourism Management said government and industry measures alone could not solve the problem.
"Governments can do things with legislation and industry can save money, but it is the consumers who have to change," said Professor Bob McKercher, a lead researcher in the study. "With tourism we have found that people don't make the connection between their own actions and the consequences."
McKercher said tourists could change their habits while in transit and at their destination to help reduce carbon emissions.
"The single greatest thing tourists can do is take fewer short-break trips, or if they do, travel closer to home," he said.
Travelling economy is also recommended.
"Why travel business class? Business class consumes four times more emissions than economy as it occupies four times the space," McKercher said.
At their destinations, tourists should try to use public transport and re-use hotel towels and bed sheets to save energy.
If tourism were a country, it would be the fifth largest carbon producer after China, the US, India and Russia, McKercher said.
Last year there were about 1.03 billion international border crossings, with 50-60 million people travelling between Hong Kong and the mainland.