Tourism and climate change in China: a research agenda for geography

Dr Benjamin Iaquinto1

1Department Of Geography, University Of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, China


Tourism is a major contributor to climate change as it is responsible for 8% of global carbon emissions. Yet tourism is also considered one of the industries least prepared for climate change. While the tourism industry has experienced exponential growth over the past half century or so, the intensification of climate change and dire warnings by the scientific community call into question its continued growth and expansion. As tourism is an official pillar industry in Hong Kong and a key poverty alleviation strategy of the Chinese government, a thriving tourism sector plays an important role in enabling a prosperous and harmonious China. Geographers can contribute to the task of developing a tourism industry that can thrive despite environmental limits and resource shortages. In this presentation, I extend three ‘invitations’ for geographers working in the areas of transport, climate change and/or sustainable tourism. They are: (i) recognize the considerable resilience of tourism; (ii) engage with the tourism implications of the Anthropocene, and; (iii) develop a research agenda pursuing low carbon and local tourism options.


Dr Ben Iaquinto is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, University of Hong Kong. He has research interests in the areas of mobilities, tourism geography, cultural geography and the Anthropocene. Forthcoming research projects examine how the Chinese tourism industry could reduce its carbon footprint and better adapt to a changing climate. He is currently on the steering committee of AusMob, the Australian Mobilities Research Network.

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