European Tourism Transport and Environment

European Tourism Transport and Environment


P Peeters, NHTV, NL



Without transport between the place of residence and the tourism destination (OD-transport), tourism will be impossible. The total amount of tourism related transport is already very significant. Tourism is the main travel motive for air transport, probably for ferries and constitutes still between 15% and 20% of all kilometres travelled within Europe for other transport modes like, car, rail and coach. However, most tourism research concentrates on accommodation and local activities and transportation, almost ignoring OD-transport. Also transport research is generally not able to fill this data-gap, as the tourism travel motive is often ignored or, if included, defined differently from tourism research definitions.
As tourism OD-transport accounts for most of total tourism environmental impacts, and OD-transport volume is growing faster as tourism volume, it is important to have better insight into these issues. Without such insights it will be very difficult to reach sustainable development of tourism.
In this paper the results of a novel approach to this problem are described. The study has been carried out for DG Enterprise of the European Commission under the Acronym MuSTT (Multi-Stakeholder European Targeted Action for Sustainable Tourism & Transport). The inventory of tourism transport has been based on the European transport model TEN-STAC, run by IWW and NEA, and on statistics from the World Tourism Organisation for the 25 EU member states plus Switzerland, Norway, Rumania and Bulgaria. Data gaps, like domestic and intercontinental tourism and the use of ferries or coaches, are filled in with statistical methods.
From the full travel data set thus obtained, emissions of CO2, GHG (greenhouse gases), NOx, PM10 and external costs for OD-transport are presented and analysed. Also the impacts of the baseline TEN-STAC scenario for 2020 are described. It appears that car transport has the largest share of passenger kilometres travelled within the EU. Still the emissions of greenhouse gases by air transport are more than half of total emissions. If the relatively small share of intercontinental trips is included, the passenger kilometre share of air transport increases to 55% and the GHG emissions to 77%. On the other hand, the car transport induced impacts on air quality and safety are much higher as those of all other tourism transport modes together.
From the paper it is concluded most tourism trips are domestic or between neighbouring countries. However the environmental impacts are mainly generated by long-haul tourism. Changes appear to be technologically increasing environmental efficiency of all transport modes used and modal shifts to transport modes with less environmental impacts. However, because of the large share of long-haul travel within total impacts and the limited possibilities for long-haul air travel to reduce these impacts, sustainable tourism strategies should also consider the shifts in destination developments and choices. Finally the paper gives recommendations for the set-up of more detailed tourism transport data-sets and models.


Association for European Transport