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New era in travel? The data and alternatives considered

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New era in travel? The data and alternatives considered

Late 2019, early 2020. People were trapped in their routine, in their daily lives. He was preparing his vacation plans, with a popular destination in Japan and the Olympic Games. At the same time, activists continued to warn of climate change and the role that travelers played. However, the prevailing feeling was that “we could not let problems like broadcasting and hypertourism keep us at home”. After all, we had a whole world to see in 2020. At the same time, however, a mysterious virus began to appear in China. A virus with which our world and the travel industry were about to be overthrown.

The dilemma

The Olympics were postponed, countries closed their borders, airports and ports closed, and many cities that have always been a tourist attraction were suddenly emptied. The sudden decline in world travel has really had an unexpected benefit for the environment, with reduced pollution, cleaner water and air. But are there any ways, after returning to normalcy, to maintain the benefits and be better managers of our planet? As with all pandemics, the answers are harsh and complex. According to a study by the University of Sydney and the University of Queensland in May 2018, the “contribution” of the tourism sector to global greenhouse gas emissions was at 8%. The study also found that the rapid increase in tourism demand surpassed the technological improvements made by industry to reduce carbon emissions, with experts even estimating that tourism would be an increasing part of global greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, the cessation of travel has caused a huge economic problem in the tourism industry, but also in countries whose economy is heavily dependent on tourists. Thousands of people around the world have lost their jobs, while others have seen their incomes fall. Then the dilemma arose: Should we save tourism and jobs, or our environment and health? Or can we do both?

New technology

Many airlines are already studying ways to reduce emissions using new technologies and practices. For example, a study from Imperial College London examines whether changing the altitude at which planes fly could help eliminate emissions. Airlines like Delta Airlines plan to become carbon neutral in the next decade by buying compensation and investing in tree planting programs. According to experts, however, although the aircraft are becoming more energy efficient, they nevertheless operate more routes. One solution suggested by experts in the world is, for short distances at least, to use their cars or trains, where of course this is possible. However, as they report, people tend to show interest in long-distance travel, which will definitely use the plane. Attention is also being paid to the growing cruise industry. Ships are highly polluting, but companies have already begun the process of change. Carnival Corporation, for example, is renewing its fleet with liquefied natural gas vessels both at sea and in port. The Norwegian company Hurtigruten also stated that it will carry out hybrid cruises, with the aim of reducing the environmental impact. The International Cruise Ship Association said that in 2019 the industry will invest in wastewater treatment plants and high-tech hull coatings and design to reduce water resistance and save fuel.

Hypertourism

Research shows that hypertourism is a major cause of emissions and pollution. For years, environmental organizations have been shouting about the effects of mass tourism, and today we are talking about hypertourism. Cities like Amsterdam have begun to look for solutions to reduce this phenomenon, but at the same time not to lose their revenue from tourism. Some of the proposals that have been submitted are the increase of exchange programs for young people and students, which tend to have a low impact, but also the encouragement of permanent residents for short-term getaways within the country. Still, many suggest travelers stay in small, family-run hotels instead of large chains, and instead of all-inclusive, support local restaurants. It is clear that the pandemic has brought global tourism to a crossroads of opportunities, where there is the opportunity for citizens to follow the path that favors the environment and does not destroy it.

Source: politis.com.cy

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