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The Low-Carbon Imperative: Destination Management Under Urgent Climate Change

Stefan Gössling, James Higham

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To stay within the safe boundaries of global warming, the world now has 30 years to decarbonize its economy. This represents a very significant challenge for tourism as a growth system. Much attention has been paid to different tourism subsectors such as aviation, accommodation, and activities to reduce emissions, mostly on the basis of (future) technology. However, the Paris Agreement demands immediate action and significant year-on-year progress on a zero-carbon trajectory. This article discusses destination management under the new low-carbon imperative. It analyses challenges, including economic viability and resilience, that have also gained importance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and explores opportunities for better profitability on the basis of a leakage/spending value dichotomy proposition. The final section highlights the foremost role that destination managers must play in building prosperous and resilient low-carbon tourism destination systems and discusses the key insights for destination managers.