Abstract

Climate change is the single most important global environmental issue facing the world today.The tourism industry plays a role in the global anthropogenic impact of carbon dioxide(CO2) emissions.Climate change and its associated implications are beginning to emerge as a major topic of discussion and research within tourism studies.The tourism sector uses an extensive range of transport energy.This includes moving visitors to,from and within tourist destinations,along with travel to accommodation facilities and tourism activities.Tourist destinations cover land areas that include forests,lakes and farms.These features can absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and sediment accumulation.The calculation and analysis of carbon sources and storage sinks,within tourist destinations,is important for emission reduction policy and to encourage the tourism sector to save energy.Further,it is also the basis of a new research field examining the relationship between tourism and the environment.Using the Lushan Scenic Area in Jiangxi province,China,as a case study,we calculate and analyze the carbon emissions and associated absorption in this region in 2010. The results show total carbon emissions in the Lushan Scenic Area were 108,697t in 2010.Local residents contributed to 19.52% of emissions while tourists accounted for 80.48%.Of the total carbon discharged by locals,food consumption accounted for 82.89%,energy use 11.79%,and traffic emissions 5.31%.Of the total carbon discharged by tourists,traffic emissions accounted for 50.24%,lodging 38.04%,food consumption 10.65%,and tourist activities 1.07%.Mitigation of carbon emissions can be achieved using the principles of elimination,reduction,substitution and offsetting.Practical measures employing these principles include reducing energy use,becoming more energy efficient,using sustainable energy sources and the compensation of unavoidable emissions through offsetting schemes.The control of transport induced carbon emissions is crucial,particularly in the tourism sector.The avoidance or reduction of long distance air travel is vital for reducing carbon emissions.In 2010,the Lushan Scenic Area absorbed 9,447t of carbon emissions.This included biomass primary productivity,soil absorption and aquatic absorption.The Lushan forest ecosystem,including biomass primary productivity and soil absorption,accounted for 98.38% of this carbon absorption practice.The small aquatic area located at Mount Lushan means aquatic absorption is virtually negligible.The carbon absorption of the land ecosystem within Mount Lushan accounts for 23.47% of the carbon emissions produced in this tourist area.However,tourist travel and the tourism industry,generally,have strong spillover effects on the environment.Thus,the carbon absorption level of the land ecosystem of Mount Lushan only accounted for 8.69% of the total carbon emissions attributed to this tourist destination.Therefore,Mount Lushan tourism is a significant source of carbon production. Our results have important implications for tourism management personnel and their understanding of carbon emissions and absorption.To support and develop forest carbon sinks,afforestation should be encouraged while original forest ecosystems are protected.The tourism industry needs to encourage responsible,sustainable,tourism.This will enable the tourism sector to continue to deliver excellent tourist experiences while achieving a lower carbon footprint.

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