Tourism Review News Desk - Apr 1, 2024
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According to tourism intelligence company Mabrian, the air sector in Europe produced 172 million tons of CO2 in 2023, which marks a 16% increase from the previous year. The study highlights that the ten countries that receive the most travelers are responsible for 84% of the CO2 emissions.

The study on the impact of aviation on the carbon footprint and tourism sustainability of European tourist destinations in 2023 shows that the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Russia, and France were the major contributors to aviation-related CO2 emissions in Europe for the year 2023, in that order.

These countries are responsible for significant CO2 emissions generated by tourism, regardless of the origin of the flights. The top 10 European countries responsible for CO2 emissions are Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal, Greece, Russia, France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

In 2023, the United Kingdom topped the list with 31.4 million tons of CO2 emissions, 18% of the total. Germany and Spain were next with 20 million tons each, accounting for 12% of total emissions in Europe. Russia and France contributed 18 million tons each, equivalent to 10% of total emissions.

Italy ranked sixth with 13 million tons (7%), followed by the Netherlands with 9 million tons (5%). Switzerland and Portugal shared eighth and ninth place, generating 6 and 5 million tons, respectively, each representing 3%. Greece was at the bottom of the list with 4 million tons, contributing 2% of total CO2 emissions.

The report reveals that European emissions rose by 16% compared to 2022. It is worth noting that some countries, such as the United Kingdom, saw an increase of 24.20%, followed by Italy with an increase of 22.69% and France with an increase of 15.93%.

According to estimates from the European Union, the aviation sector generated approximately 172 million tons of CO2 in Europe in 2023. This accounts for 4% of the total CO2 generated on the continent.

To offset the carbon footprint left by the tourism industry, an estimated 7 billion trees per year are needed. This number accounts for 11% of the total forest mass in Europe, according to European Union estimates and a report by the consulting firm Encon.

The analysis is not targeted at the aviation sector, which is essential for tourism and making strides in decarbonization. This analysis aims to make tourist destinations aware of the need to measure their visitors' impact on the environment. This way, they can act accordingly, take compensatory measures, and make progress towards the Net Zero or climate neutrality objective set for 2050.

Experts argue that measurement is the key to taking the proper measures and achieving the goals set. Therefore, they suggest using cross-indicators, such as the relationship between carbon footprint and the income generated per visitor in the destination's local economy, to measure better the impact from the point of view of the balance.

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