There are few industries in Queensland more affected by climate change than tourism and research conducted at USQ confirms that tourism operators are making it a high priority.
The research, led by Associate Professor Heather Zeppel and Dr Narelle Beaumont of USQ’s Australian Centre for Sustainable Business Development, surveyed 83 Queensland environmentally certified tourism operators and found nearly 90 percent considered climate change and reducing carbon emissions to be an important issue.
Associate Professor Zeppel said few industries had been more impacted by climate in recent years with cyclones, floods and tourist discouraging rainy summers.
'Tourism operators have in recent years adopted a range of carbon mitigation measures designed to reduce their carbon emissions,' she said.
'The most popular have been energy efficient measures, such as low energy light bulbs and appliances and reducing standby power, as well as waste reduction.
'Other measures include staff training, visitor education, roofing insulation, room fans, fuel efficient transport and choosing green suppliers.
'About a quarter had installed solar power.'
Assoc Prof Zeppel said the main reason for implementing these measures was to attract environmentally aware tourists and differentiate their tourism business as ‘climate friendly’.
'Personal environmental ethics is a stronger motive for smaller operators to reduce emissions while cost savings were more important for larger enterprises.'
Dr Beaumont said less than one-third of the tourism enterprises had participated in a carbon offsetting program.
'We did find however that nearly 40 percent of those surveyed indicated they planned to do so in the near future,' she said.
'One third of the operators did not consider it necessary for their business and some mentioned the negligible ‘carbon footprint’ of their business as their reason for not participating while others specified the cost of the offset schemes.'
Associate Professor Zeppel and Dr Beaumont have now been awarded a grant by the United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney, to undertake similar research of environmentally certified ecotourism operators in the United States of America.
Further details about the Queensland tourism research project and survey results are available on the project webpage
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Jo-Ann Sparrow, USQ Media, +61 7 3470 4119 or 0438 309 096