The tourism industry should become part of the circular economy, ecologists say

The tourism industry should become part of the circular economy, ecologists say


The introduction of a circular economy, sustainable consumption and production in the tourism sector can bring immediate and significant benefits to the industry. This opinion was expressed by Vadim Petrov, Co-Chairman - State Secretary of the Ecological Chamber of Russia, Advisor to the Director of the Federal State Budgetary Institution "GOIN" of the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Roshydromet)during the Forum of Russian Regions "Development of Tourism Infrastructure". The event was held for the first time as part of the 24th international exhibition of the hospitality industry PIR EXPO 2021.

According to Vadim Petrov, preserving the environment requires coordinated action from all stakeholders.

“According to UNEP, the tourism industry generates about 14% of consumption waste in the form of solid waste. That is, out of two billion global SMW per year - 280 million tons - this is the share of the tourism industry. The climatic contribution of the tourism industry is more than 5% ”.

“These numbers point to a clear need for coordinated action, policies and infrastructure to enable the tourism industry to become part of a circular economy,” he said.

Petrov also noted that “studies show that the global closed-cycle production model accounts for only 8.6 percent.” 

“While these numbers are disappointing, they also mean that there is huge room for a circular economy and a sustainable consumption and production model that can bring immediate and significant benefits.

The introduction of lean manufacturing practices and the zerowaste model, environmental preservation, human capital assessment, preparation of facilities for receiving guests with disabilities and other modern tools for successful business will not only transform the industry, but also provide points of sustainable development and the formation of environmental culture as a whole.»

Tourism accounts for about 10 percent of the world's gross national product, global investment, all jobs (one in 10 jobs worldwide) and global consumer spending. At the same time, the tourist flow creates a significant load on the infrastructure and the environment. The tourism industry uses all key natural resources, resulting in a commensurate generation of consumer waste, including marine plastic pollution, sewage, damage to biodiversity and the formation of greenhouse gases.

For example, over 200 million tourists spend their holidays in the Mediterranean every summer. According to the expert, they form more than a quarter of the plastic waste produced by 22 countries and territories of the Mediterranean Sea into the marine environment. Nearly 80 percent of all tourism is in coastal areas, and this destructive pattern is being repeated everywhere. However, it is well known that plastic waste is killing wild animals, contaminating food chains and increasingly entering the human body through food and drinking water.

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