Johanna Schliephack recently represented GIFT at QTIC’s World Environment Day event. She spoke about air pollution and climate change, how it links to tourism and what could be done at operator and destination management level to address it. She provided some examples of recent GIFT research projects that address these issues, including My Green Buttler, the Global Sustainable Tourism Dashboard and her own research on holistic destination climate change risk reduction.

Johanna’s research applies systems thinking to climate change risk reduction in tourism. This allows her to identify the variables that influence climate change risk to destinations and understand how these are connected. Risk is commonly addressed in silos, e.g. by focusing on specific elements of the destination system such as tourism businesses. However, this approach may cause risk being shifted to other elements of the destination, such as the community or natural environment. By taking a holistic approach to destination wide climate risk reduction, interventions can be identified that reduce trade-offs and create more holistic benefits to the destination.

Johanna concluded her presentation by questioning the dominant measures of success the majority of planning decisions are based on in tourism (GDP, visitor growth and expenditure, profit) as these won’t allow us to successfully address issues such as climate change. She asked the audience to imagine what would happen if decisions were made around alternative indicators of success (creating well-being and value for destinations and communities).

Her presentation was thought provoking and raised some important questions regarding sustainability in tourism.

Johanna  Schliephack is PhD researcher at GIFT.