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Sustainable Tourism And The Grand Challenge Of Climate Change

D. Scott
Published 2021 · Political Science

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Global climate change represents a grand challenge for society, one that is increasingly influencing tourism sector investment, planning, operations, and demand. The paper provides an overview of the core challenges climate change poses to sustainable tourism, key knowledge gaps, and the state of preparedness in the tourism sector. As we begin what is widely considered a decisive climate decade, low sectoral preparedness should be highly disconcerting for the tourism community. Put bluntly, what we have done for the past 30 years has not prepared the sector for the next 30 years of accelerating climate change impacts and the transformation to a decarbonized global economy. The transition from two decades of awareness raising and ambition setting to a decade of determined collective response has massive knowledge requirements and necessitates broad sectoral commitments to: (1) improved communications and knowledge mobilization, (2) increased research capacity and interdisciplinary collaboration, and (3) strategic policy and planning engagement. We in the tourism and sustainability communities must answer this clarion call to shape the future of tourism in a decarbonized and post +3 °C world, for there can be no sustainable tourism if we fail on climate change.
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