Rethinking Tourism Industry’s Climate Impact
New Zealand is hopeful that a recently opened travel bubble with Australia will rekindle its pandemic-battered tourism industry. However, many are also seeing an opportunity to rethink how to make the sector more climate friendly, the BBC’s Shaimaa Khalil reports.
New Zealand has sold itself to visitors on its natural wonders – glaciers, lakes and mountains. But before the shutdown, experts were warning that so many people congregating in remote areas – often thousands at a time – had been actually risking this pristine environment, Khalil writes.
There are now calls to use the tourism “hiatus” – forced on the industry by the pandemic – as a chance to curb its impact. Proposals presented to the Government include limiting visitor numbers at tourism sites and a departure tax to help counterbalance climate impact.
David Gatward-Ferguson is managing director of Nomad Safaris, whose off-road tours explore everything from historical gold mining areas to spectacular mountain scenery and Lord of the Rings filming locations. He supports being more sustainable, but says clearer guidelines about what is expected from tourism operators are key.
Gatward-Ferguson also says sustainability is a matter of survival.
“Without this environment, without this beauty around here, we’ll be out of business,” he says.
Original article by Shaimaa Khalil, BBC, May 13, 2021.