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GHG Emission-Based Eco-Efficiency Study on Tourism Itinerary Products in Shangri-La, Yunnan Province, China


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Eco-efficiency reflects a combined study for ecological and economic issues. It emphasises the balance between economic development and environmental protection. And greenhouse gas emissions have become a major global environmental issue; therefore the quantification of greenhouse gas emissions related to tourist activities has become central to environmental impact studies. To measure greenhouse gas emissions resulting from tourism activities, an eco-efficiency model was put forward in this paper. The eco-efficiency of an eight-day itinerary tour product in Shangri-La, a typical tourist destination in Yunnan of China, was calculated and analysed as an example. The findings indicate that there is great difference in eco-efficiencies among the various tourism products; both transportation and catering were the key elements influencing the eco-efficiency of the tourism itinerary product; influences on the eco-efficiency of the tourism itinerary products mainly come from economic value and CO2-e emissions. Economic value includes expenditures for package-price items and self-help items. CO2-e emissions primarily reflected transportation, tourism product combinations, and the types of energy. In response to these findings, some limits for this study were discussed.
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GHG Emission-Based Eco-Efficiency
Study on Tourism Itinerary Products
in Shangri-La, Yunnan Province, China
Guihua Yang, Peng Li, Biao Zheng and Yiqun Zhang
School of Business and Tourism Management, Yunnan University,
Kunming, China
Eco-efficiency reflects a combined study for ecological and economic issues. It
emphasises the balance between economic development and environmental protec-
tion. And greenhouse gas emissions have become a major global environmental
issue; therefore the quantification of greenhouse gas emissions related to tourist
activities has become central to environmental impact studies. To measure green-
house gas emissions resulting from tourism activities, an eco-efficiency model was
put forward in this paper. The eco-efficiency of an eight-day itinerary tour product
in Shangri-La, a typical tourist destination in Yunnan of China, was calculated and
analysed as an example. The findings indicate that there is great difference in eco-
efficiencies among the various tourism products; both transportation and catering
were the key elements influencing the eco-efficiency of the tourism itinerary
product; influences on the eco-efficiency of the tourism itinerary products mainly
come from economic value and CO
emissions. Economic value includes expendi-
tures for package-price items and self-help items. CO
emissions primarily reflected
transportation, tourism product combinations, and the types of energy. In response to
these findings, some limits for this study were discussed.
doi: 10.1080/13683500802475943
Keywords: eco-efficiency, tourism itinerary product, greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide
equivalent emissions, Shangri-La
It is an important and challenging task to achieve the win win between
environmental protection and economic development. Both are required to
meet the needs of the people of this generation and at the same time leave
the environment unimpaired for future generations. Quantitative evaluation
of the environmental impact of tourism has practical significance. Current
methodologies, such as tourism environmental carrying capacity (O’Reilly,
1986), and tourism related environmental impact assessment (Green and
Hunter, 1992), mainly focus on micro-environmental pollution and micro-
ecological impact of tourist activities, and is rarely concerned with macro-
environmental issues like global warming and ozone depletion. Existing
studies and methods on the macro-environmental impact of tourist activities
indicate that, from a global perspective, fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas
emissions rank among the most urgent environmental issues in the tourism
industry (Go
¨ssling et al., 2002, 2005; UNWTO, 2007). So, greenhouse gas
1368-3500/08/06 604-19 $20.00/0 #2008 Taylor & Francis
emissions related to tourism have been one of the main fields in tourism
environmental impact studies. Eco-efficiency (Livio & Frank, 2000) offers a
new perspective and approach in evaluating such an impact.
The concept of eco-efficiency used here was first proposed by Schaltegger
and Sturm (1990). Its widely accepted definition, ‘eco-efficiency is reached by
delivering competitively priced goods and services that satisfy human needs
and improve the quality of life, while progressively reducing ecological impact
and resource intensity ...’, was provided by the World Business Council for
Sustainable Development (WBCSD, 1992) and unanimously endorsed at the
Rio Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1992 (Livio & Frank, 2000).
The definition brought a new perspective to economic and environmental
balance, integrating sustainable development (a macro-level concept) into
development planning and management both at the micro (enterprises) and
regional levels.
Since the concept of eco-efficiency gained acceptance, research organisations
and scholars have undertaken studies from different perspectives; current
research is largely concerned with corporate, industrial, and regional levels,
such as a city (Tommy et al., 2003). Along with tourism development and the
increase in environmental impact caused by tourist activities from a global per-
spective, eco-efficiency of tourism was being paid more attention. Go
¨ssling et al.
(2005) taking the eco-efficiency of tourism in the Seychelles, Amsterdam, and
two other regions as examples, analysed CO
emissions (carbon dioxide
equivalent emissions are hereinafter referred to as ‘emissions’). The results
showed substantial differences of eco-efficiency in different markets and
different regions, with tourism in some regions turning out to be unsustainable.
Kelly et al. (2007) have discussed issues about eco-efficient destination planning
from the perspective of tourists’ preferences. Up to the present, however, a gap
exists in studies on eco-efficiency of tourism tour products.
Products are the foundation of both industries and corporations. Eco-
efficiency of the whole tourism industry can be determined by analysing the
eco-efficiency of tourism products. Starting from the characteristics of tourism
products, a calculation model can be developed concerning eco-efficiency
based on CO
emissions on tourism itinerary. The researchers hope the
model will offer new perspectives and approaches to study the environmental
impact of tourism, and promote further in-depth practical applications of the
concept of eco-efficiency.
Eco-efficiency indicators
The ecological load of an industry or a product needs to be calculated
through a financial accounting system in order to let the idea of eco-efficiency
be applied efficiently in the traditional economic system. WBCDSD has built a
generic eco-efficiency indicator to measure the environmental performance of
goods and services (Livio & Frank, 2000).
Eco - efficiency ¼Environment impact
Value of goods and service ð1Þ
GHG Emission-Based Eco-Efficiency Study 605
Environmental impact calculation
Selection methods for environmental impact indicators in ISO14031 standard
have been widely used in eco-efficiency calculation (UNCTAD, 2000). WBSCD
and UNCTAD also put forward their environmental elements targeting eco-
efficiency calculations (Livio & Frank, 2000; UNCTAD, 2004). The following
five environmental elements have been proposed by WBSCD: water use,
energy use, global warming contribution, contribution to ozone depletion,
and waste generation.
Value calculation
There are currently two main approaches for calculating the value of goods
and services: namely cost benefit analysis (CBA) and life-circle analysis
(LCC). LCC calculates the product market costs and benefits during the
entire life-circle, while CBA is concerned with the economic costs of environ-
mental externality as well. WBCSD has proposed three value indicators;
namely total turnover, gained interest rate and product yield. In order to
reflect effectively the ecological load of a certain industry or product, suitable
variables must be selected for calculation of both economic value and environ-
mental impact.
Efficiency of tourism itinerary products
Tourism itinerary products
Tourism itinerary products are also known as package tours. They are mainly
composed of food and beverage, accommodation, transport, sightseeing, shop-
ping, and entertainment, and are provided by tourism operators according to
the needs and interests of tourists and sold as a package. Now most itinerary
products are team-based and usually aimed at sightseeing, in China. They
have been a dominant force in the tourism market because of their pre-arranged
scheduling and relatively low prices in China. Prices for tourism itinerary
products contain basic spending on food, accommodation, and scenic area
Indicator selection
The calculation of eco-efficiency of tourism itinerary products referred to
economic indicators and environmental indicators. GHG is one of the main
causes for global warming, with CO
being the greatest contributor, accounting
for more than 60% (Takamitsu, 1999). Other green house gas such as CH
can be
transferred to CO
, and therefore, in this study, CO
emission is chosen as the
environmental indicator, while tourist expenditures accrued though the whole
tourist itinerary products is the economic indicator.
TEE ¼Elt
In Equation (2) ‘TEE’ denotes eco-efficiency of tourism itinerary products; the
economic variable ‘V’ denotes economic expenditures for the itinerary pro-
ducts, which contain a package-price part and a self-help part; ‘E
’ represents
emissions produced during the whole process of the tour.
606 Current Issues in Tourism
Due to the limitations of data and approaches, economic value is only
concerned with tourists’ direct expenditures, without including the multiplier
effect of tourism economic activities. And as well, the environmental aspect
only involves CO
emissions generated by energy consumption and waste,
without including CO
emissions raised by energy production.
Calculation of economic variable ‘V’
The economic variable ‘V’ is made up of two parts, the price of the package
part and the expenditures of the self-help part. Package price is the contract
price confirmed by travel agencies and tourists, including costs of transpor-
tation, accommodation, food and tickets for scenic areas/spots, in which con-
sumption contents and consumption amount are comparatively fixed. The
related data were gained mostly from travel agencies. The self-help part of
the formula contains consumption items, except those described, including
expenditure for entertainment, shopping, and tickets for additional attractions.
The consumption amount of this part is more flexible. Related data were
obtained by investigation of individual spending patterns.
Calculation of CO
emission has been chosen as the environmental load variable. The
energy consumption and CO
emitted by energy consumption and waste gen-
eration. Energy consumption often turns out in two forms: work and heat.
Work corresponds to motility force, such as motor sport. Heat is for raising
the temperature of the object. The CO
emission produced by energy con-
sumption involves many aspects and factors making it difficult to compute.
The calculation of CO
emissions by energy consumption can be done by
the following steps (UNCTAD, 2004):
Step 1: Components subdivision. Tourist activities generally include many
elements such as food and beverage, accommodation, transportation, sight-
seeing, shopping, and entertainment, each of which could be subdivided
further; for instance, there may be various tourist shops and entertainment
items. Since tourism departments and enterprises produce waste while offer-
ing services to visitors, emissions of tourism itinerary products should cover
seven components as showed in Figure 1 (Li et al., 2007).
Step 2: Determine the energy consumption of components. Most tourist activities
involve consumption of energy, which is mainly composed of electricity
and fossil fuel burning. According to the characteristics and actual situations
of the six tourism elements described as well as the items of each element,
the energy consumption of items of each element can be calculated; the
total energy consumption of each element can be calculated by gathering
together the figures for energy consumption of all related items.
Step 3: Determination of CO
emissions of various components. Energy consump-
tion of the components can be divided into two sections: mechanical equiv-
alent energy (such as electric power) and thermal equivalent energy (such as
city gas). The quantity of these two types of energy would convert to CO
emissions after being multiplied by related emission factors. Emission
factors of common fuels in China are displayed as in Table 1.
GHG Emission-Based Eco-Efficiency Study 607
Calculation of components
What was described earlier was only the general idea and universal prin-
ciples for calculation of CO
emissions generated by energy consumption.
As for the seven components of tourism itinerary products’ CO
there existed some differences in the calculation methods. The calculation
methods can be expounded separately in the following.
Figure 1 The components of tourism itinerary product and the nature of the
Table 1 CO
emission factors of common fuel
Types of energy Emission factor Units
Liquefied petroleum gas 63.07 t CO
Electric power 0.001007 t CO
Anthracite 98.27 t CO
Coal gas 47.67 t CO
2-e 2
Natural gas (dry) 56.10 t CO
Source: Adapted from UNCTAD (2004).
608 Current Issues in Tourism
The transport component mainly refers to fossil fuel consumption during the
operation of vehicles. The following formula can be used for calculating the
emissions of vehicles (Go
¨ssling et al., 2002).
Elit ¼X
In Equation (3) ‘E
’ denotes CO
emissions (unit: kg) of the ‘transport’ com-
denotes CO
emissions of specific vehicles (unit: kg per capita per
km). 1
denotes the equivalent factor. V
represents total transport volume of
transport ‘m’ in passenger kilometre (pkm). The total transport volume for
transport ‘m’(V
) is calculated as follows:
In Equation (4): ‘V
’ denotes the total transport volume for transport mode ‘m
in passenger kilometres (pkm). N
represents the total number of tourists
travelling by transport mode ‘m’. S
is the great circle distance related ‘n’;
represents the average detour factor of mtransportation modes WF
resents the general equilibrium factor of multi-destination travel, regional or
national. Table 2 shows emission factors, equivalent factors, and detour
factors of various vehicles.
Accommodation mainly refers to energy consumption during the time tour-
ists stay in hotels. It includes energy consumption by lighting, heating, refriger-
ation, and elevator use, which includes use of electric power, fuel oil, fuel gases,
and so on. CO
emissions of accommodation equal emissions per bed night
multiplied by the days that the tourists occupy hotels (Go
¨ssling et al., 2002).
Elia ¼X
aielia ð5Þ
Table 2 Emissions factor, equivalence factor and detour factor of different vehicles
emission factors,
(kg CO
factors, DF
Air plane 0.14 2.7 1.05
Train 0.025 1.05 1.15
Cars 0.075 1.05 1.15
Coach 0.018 1.05 1.15
Yacht 0.07 1.05 1.3
Others 0.075 1.05 1.15
Source: Adapted from Go
¨ssling et al. (2002).
GHG Emission-Based Eco-Efficiency Study 609
In Equation (5) a
denotes tourists staying days in an ‘i-star’ hotel; E
emissions per day per capita in an ‘i-star ’ hotel. (Table 3 for details)
The energy consumption of catering involves three processes: raw materials
preparation, food production, and catering service supply. During the whole
process of catering in a four or five-star hotel in Shanghai, Beijing, Dalian
city, etc., in China, the average energy consumption for catering was 145.4 MJ
per capita. Energy consumption by catering takes up 53% of the whole
hotel’s energy consumption (Gaoxing et al., 2007). Using the methods proposed
in existing studies, a three-star hotel and a two-star hotel were calculated and
analysed; their energy consumption for catering was about 48.7 MJ per
capita, and the energy types mainly referred to electric power and fuel gases.
For the latter, it included manufactured gas in Kunming city hotels, natural
gas for Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La hotels. CO
emissions of the ‘food’ com-
ponent equalled per capita consumption of heat and electric energy multiplied
by meal frequency and the emission factor of related energy.
Elif ¼X
In Equation (6) ‘m’ denoted meal frequency of tourists; w
denoted per capita
consumption of energy ‘i’, and ‘k
’ represented the emission factor of energy ‘i’.
Sightseeing tourism referred to tourist attractions such as museums, histori-
cal buildings, and forested parks. Energy consumption of these primarily
focuses on reception facilities, like visitor centres. The items that needed
energy included analogue displays, human-computer interaction, and
temperature regulation, in which electric power constitutes the main energy
consumed. In New Zealand, energy consumption when visiting museums
was 10 MJ per capita, and it rose to 29 MJ per capita when looking around
visitor centres (Susanne et al., 2003). In Yunnan, tourism is mainly sightsee-
ing-oriented, and energy consumption primarily occurs in visitor centres, in
which energy consumption is similar to that of museums.
Elis ¼X
Table 3 Energy consumption and CO
emissions of star-hotels
Hotel grades Energy consumption
(MJ per bed night)
(kg per bed night)
Five-star hotels 110 20.6
Three or tour-star hotel 70 13.1
One or two-star hotels 40 7.5
Source: Adapted from Go
¨ssling et al. (2002).
610 Current Issues in Tourism
In Equation (7) ‘m’ denotes the number of tourist attractions visited by tourists.
’ denotes the energy needed when visiting the ‘i’ tourist attraction, and ‘K
represents the emission factor of energy ‘i’.
The ‘shopping’ component involves CO
emissions generated by energy
consumption during tourist shopping. According to our investigation, in
Yunnan province, tourist commodities include native products, jewellery,
tourist souvenirs, and handicrafts, in which jewellery and tourist handicrafts
accounts for about 60%. Storage of the commodities needed very little
energy; the energy type primarily involves electric power. Energy consumption
is in merchandising areas, including such things as air conditioning, lighting,
and merchandise display. After investigating several typical tourist shops in
the itinerary products of Shangri-La, the energy consumption of tourist-shop-
ping was calculated and the result turned out to be 9.5 MJ per capita. Topical
tourism shopping stores were investigated in Kunming city, and total energy
consumption was divided by the number of tourists to obtain the per capita
energy consumption. CO
emissions of the ‘shopping’ component equals
per capita energy consumption multiplied both by the number of shopping
points and the energy emission factor.
Elip ¼X
In Equation (8): mdenotes the number of tourist attractions visited by tourists,
’ denotes the per capita energy consumption, and k’ represents the emission
factor of electric power.
As one of the most important parts of tourist activities, entertainment items
include watching song and dance performances, participatory activities, and
participation in projects. Energy consumed in this sector included electric
power, fuel oil and bio-fuel like firewood. There existed a great difference in
energy consumption between different entertainment items. We refer primarily
to tour groups when talking about tourism itinerary products, and the
entertainments normally consume very little energy; the average level is only
9 MJ per capita (Susanne et al., 2003).
emissions of the ‘entertainment’ component equals per capita energy
consumption multiplied both by the number of entertainment items in which
the tourists participated, and the energy emission factor.
Elie ¼X
In Equation (9) ‘m’ denotes the frequency of tourists participating in entertain-
ment items, ‘w
’ denotes average energy needed, and ‘k
’ represents the
emission factor of energy ‘i’.
GHG Emission-Based Eco-Efficiency Study 611
Tourist activities definitely generate a certain amount of waste. CO
sions of the ‘waste’ component primarily come from storage, decomposition
and transportation of waste. Waste storage and decomposition would generate
and CH
, and waste transportation definitely produces emissions (Tommy
et al., 2003). Tourist waste can be generally divided into three parts: (a) kitchen
garbage, (b) paper and other daily organic waste, (c) inorganic garbage, such as
discarded plastic and metal packages. CO
emissions of the ‘waste’ com-
ponent equal per capita waste generation multiplied both by the unit emissions
of certain waste and emissions of its transportation.
Eliw ¼X
wikli þwsli ð10Þ
In Equation (10), ‘w
’ denotes the average generation of a certain amount of
waste; ‘k
’ represents the emissions of waste ‘i’, s
means emissions when the
transport unit amount of the waste is ‘i’.
Emissions per 1 kg of different waste are shown separately as follows: waste
paper and textiles rubbish, 1.16 kg; park garbage, 0.49 kg; kitchen garbage,
0.44 kg; wood materials, 0.87 kg (Tommy et al., 2003). As for waste transpor-
tation, according to the investigation, for all the Shangri-La itinerary product
series, the average distance of waste-transport (round-trip) was about 60 km.
If a CO
emission factor for diesel of 808.6 g CO
/km is assumed (WWF &
SEI, 2005), the corresponding emissions were 5.11 kg/t. In addition, the data
about waste generation per capita per day was defined roughly according to
the references (Li et al., 2007).
Calculation of total CO
All the components except for the ‘shopping’ mentioned should be taken into
account when discussing eco-efficiency of tourism itinerary products. Thus, the
total emission of the tourism itinerary product is the sum of emission of ‘food’,
‘accommodation’, ‘transport’, ‘sightseeing’, ‘entertainment’ and ‘waste’.
Elt ¼XðElit þElia þElif þElis þElip þElie þEliwÞð11Þ
where E
denotes the total CO
emissions of tourism products.
Case Study
The packaged tour of Shangri-La, Yunnan, is focused on four tourist desti-
nations: Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan, Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La,
which are located northwest of Yunnan. The line is located in the transitional
ecotone between the Yunnan-Guizhou plateau and the Qinghai-Tibet plateau.
This region is the core area of the world natural heritage ‘Three Parallel
Rivers,’ the communication channel of Han, Tibetan, Naxi, and other national-
ities, and also the multicultural intersection of Bashu, Tibet, Nanzhao Dali, and
612 Current Issues in Tourism
Naxi people. Therefore, this region can fully reflect the ecological, ethnic, and
cultural diversity and blending of Yunnan province. The Shangri-La tour itin-
erary was selected as one of the top 10 eco-tourism route of China in 1999,
the Year of Eco-Tourism, and it continues to be the important golden tourism
area promoted by Yunnan Province. Not including Kunming city 2000–2006,
its domestic tourists accounted for 29.6% of the total number of tourists in
Yunnan and international tourists accounted for 66.1%. Tourism on the
Shangri-La itinerary has contributed 38.4% of Yunnan’s provincial total
tourism revenue (TBYN, 2001–2007).
The eight-day tour of Shangri-La is the most typical tourism product, which
gathers together the most important tourist attractions of the line. Visitors
travel by train between Kunming and Dali (round trip) and by bus for the
rest of the tour. Visitors are accommodated in three-star hotels, and meals
for tour groups include eight dishes and one soup. The journey includes
13–15 scenic areas/scenic spots, 18 20 shopping centres and 2–3 amusement
According to an investigation by the Urban Survey Organisation of Yunnan
Province (TBYN, 2001–2007), the East China region (such as Shanghai) and the
surrounding areas (such as Guangxi province, Sichuan province) are the main
source of domestic tourists for Yunnan province. In this study tourists from
Shanghai, Nanning (capital of Guangxi), and Kunming, represented different
categories; ‘the eight day tour of Shangri-La’ was defined as containing three
products, and hereinafter referred to as products I, II, and III. The three pro-
ducts varied in the distance from tourist source regions to destinations as
well as the transport modes. The transport modes (round trip) were airplanes
for tourists from Shanghai and trains for tourists from Nanning. Next in this
study the eco-efficiency of these three products was calculated and analysed.
Data sources
The data and information needed for the study are from three sources.
(a) Data about the tourism development status of Yunnan province and infor-
mation about the ‘Shangri-La tour itinerary’ was obtained by referring to the
Yearbook of China Tourism (2000– 2006), and the Yearbook of Yunnan
Tourism (2000 2006), as well as the local tourism bureau. (b) The structure of
the ‘Shangri-La tour’ product was researched through a process of semi-
formal interview. The task group has taken part in a tour group as participant
observation and investigated the travel agencies with relatively more tourists
from July 2004 to November 2005 to obtain related data of the ‘Shangri-La
tour itinerary’, such as information about: (a) the component elements of the
tour; (b) the time allocation of the tour; (c) the occupation of the land by
scenic areas/scenic spots; (d) shopping places; (e) the types of vehicles and
the distance they cover; (f) daily garbage products per capita by tourists and
the garbage component. The distance by air was gained through GIS and
took into account any detour factors. Energy consumption and CO
of specific activities were mainly obtained through referring to professional
literature and research reports by related international organisations. That
included energy consumption per capita and energy emission factors of
vehicles, tourist attractions, and entertainment items.
GHG Emission-Based Eco-Efficiency Study 613
Calculation results
According to the data collected from field work and statistics data, com-
ponent-based CO
emissions of the three products and their eco-efficiency
were shown in Table 4. It involves eight days when calculating CO
for the food preparation component (E
). For accommodation (E
), since
tourists spend two nights on trains, only five nights are taken into account
when calculating E
. In order to make a comparison internationally on
tourism itself and also between tourism and other industries, CO
should be used here. The US Dollar (USD, $) to Chinese Yuan (CNY, ¥)
exchange rate used here was the average middle rate of foreign exchange pub-
lished by the Bank of China at the beginning and end of the investigation, and it
was 1:8.1781.
Analysis of result
According to the results given here, the CO
emissions, eco-efficiency and
influencing factors of tourism itinerary product-series of Shangri-La were
analysed as follows.
Total amount. The total CO
emissions generated by tourists from the three
different tourist source markets (Shanghai/Nanning/Kunming, China) were
separately 1847.73, 451.88, 310.35, and 230.97 kg, 56.49, 50.24 kg when related
Table 4 CO
emissions and eco-efficiency of tourism itinerary product-series of
Products Items I II III
emissions (CO
kg) Transport Airplane 1440.41 0.00 0.000
Train 21.67 71.67 21.67
Bus 31.52 31.516 31.52
Taxicab 9.06 3.623 3.62
Boat 7.64 7.64 7.64
Subtotal 1510.30 114.447 64.46
Food 139.57 139.57 139.57
Accommodation 65.50 65.50 65.50
Sight-seeing 57.90 57.90 57.90
Shopping 7.55 7.55 7.55
Entertainment 55.94 55.94 55.94
Waste 10.96 10.96 10.96
Total 1847.73 451.88 401.89
Value (¥) Package-price items 3000.00 1480.00 1120.000
Self-help items 929.80 929.80 929.80
Eco-efficiency CO
kg/¥ 0.470 0.188 0.196
kg/$ 3.845 1.534 1.603
614 Current Issues in Tourism
to the daily average. According to the statistics (NBSC, 2006), in China the
annual CO
emissions per capita were 2.7 t in 2000, and 7.40 kg per capita
daily, while the figures turned into 3.8 t per capita per year and 10.4 kg per
capita per day on world average level (Table 5 for details). The CO
from the three tourism products were separately equivalent to 68.43%, 33.57%,
and 4.88% of the annual CO
emissions per capita in China. With regard to the
consumption of the eight-day tour in Shangri-La, CO
emissions generated by
tourists from Shanghai in one day were 31.2 times more than that of the national
average per capita per day (round trip). Even for visitors from Kunming, which
involved the shortest distance among the three products, the CO
generated during the course was 6.8 times more than the national average
per capita per day. As far as international tourism is concerned, there would
be a longer haul, which results in more emissions. Therefore, the greenhouse
gases generated by tourism, especially with long-haul travel, cannot be
Analysis of emissions structure. As far as the three products were concerned,
the tourist items, expenditures and schedules were generally consistent,
except for the distance from source regions to destinations and vehicles used.
For product I, the CO
emissions of the ‘transport component’ accounted for
81.74% of the total which was the largest proportion, followed in turn by the
‘food component’ (7.55%), the ‘accommodation component’ (3.45%), and the
‘sight-seeing component’ (3.13%). Air transport played the most important
role in the ‘transport component’, accounting for 95.4% of emissions in the
‘transport component,’ and 81.74% of the whole product’ s emissions; the pro-
portion of E
in the ‘Transport component’ of other vehicles was relatively low
and less than 5% .
For the other two itinerary products (II and III), CO
emissions from the
‘food component’ accounted for the largest proportion: 30.89% for product II,
followed by 25.33%, for ‘transport’ 14.49%, for accommodation, ‘sightseeing’
(12.81%); and 34.73% for product III, which was followed in turn by ‘accommo-
dation’ (16.04%), ‘transport’ (16.30%), ‘sightseeing’ (14.41%). CO
emissions of
‘entertainment’ and ‘waste’ took up comparatively small proportions for the
three itinerary products. The detailed data for each component are displayed
in Figure 2.
Table 5 World average eco-efficiency and world per capita CO
Nations or regions Eco-efficiency
(Kg CO
emissions per
capita (t)
1990 2000 1990 2000
World 0.7 0.7 4.1 3.8
High income countries 0.5 0.4 11.8 12.4
Middle income countries 1.8 1.7 3.6 3.2
Low income countries 1.7 1.8 0.8 0.8
China 5.8 2.6 2.1 2.2
Source: The National Bureau of Statistics. (2006) World Statistics Yearbook 2005. Beijing:
China Statistics Press.
GHG Emission-Based Eco-Efficiency Study 615
It can be seen from the comparison of the three products that CO
of product I were greater than that of the other two and were concentrated in
the ‘Transport’ component; for products II and III, the CO
emissions pro-
portions of various components were relatively scattered and balanced. So it
could be concluded that distance from the tourist source regions to the
tourist destinations and the transportation modes were the most important
factors influencing the structure and proportion of the CO
emissions of
itinerary products.
Eco-efficiency comparison
The preceding findings above show comparisons and analysis can be done
on eco-efficiency of the tourism industry, social factors, and also on various
sectors within the tourism industry.
External comparison. Although only three itinerary products have been
studied in this paper, a reasonable determination of eco-efficiency of tourism
can still be determined. The national average of eco-efficiency was
2.6 KgCO
/$ in China, and the world average was 0.7 KgCO
/$ (the ideal
numerical value for sustainable development being 0.288 KgCO
¨ssling et al., 2005). In this study, itinerary products II and III enjoyed
better eco-efficiency compared with the national average of China. However,
it is still below that of the world average level and the industry standard of
developed countries (Paul & Frans, 2006; Table 6), not to mention achieving
the ideal value. Eco-efficiency product I was 3.845 KgCO
/$, 47.9% larger
than the national average level, mainly due to the high emissions of air trans-
port. To achieve sustainable development of tourism, tourism eco-efficiency
must be close to the ideal value, and the ideal value should be the guide of
tourism development.
Internal comparison. Tourism is an industry that covers many sectors, such as
transport, accommodation, tourist attractions, and catering. There are differ-
ences among sectors. Combining tourist expenditures and the component situ-
ations, eco-efficiency differences of various sectors could be revealed to some
extent. Taking itinerary product I as an example, the sectors that enjoyed
more favourable eco-efficiency were entertainment (0.024 kg CO
), shopping
Figure 2 CO
emission structure and their components of the three products
616 Current Issues in Tourism
(0.09 kg CO
/¥) and visiting tourist attractions (0.13 kg CO
Transportation and catering did not share the same favourable eco-efficiency,
having values of 0.740 kg CO
/¥ and 0.668 kg CO
/¥, respectively. The stan-
dard price of air travel was 0.65 ¥ km per capita when taking no account of dis-
counts, while the CO
emissions were 0.34 kg CO
/km per capita; thus the
eco-efficiency was 0.57 kg CO
/¥. In fact, airfares for travel agencies were
usually 50–70% and even 80 90% off. Therefore the eco-efficiency of aviation
sectors was even more unfavourable.
Despite its poor eco-efficiency, air transportation is the prerequisite of
modern tourism. According to the data provided by the National Tourism
Administration of China (CNTA, 2000– 2006), 57.3% of international tourists
arrived in China by air in 2004. The proportion will rise to 85–88% when con-
sidering tourists coming to Yunnan. Thus, some measures must be taken to
improve the product mix, to raise the levels of tourism consumption and to
extend tourist stays so as to optimise the eco-efficiency of the whole tourism
Related factors analysis
Based on Equation (2) and the preceding analysis, it is evident that factors
influencing eco-efficiency included economic and environmental factors, both
of which were the combined result of many elements such as ‘food’, ‘accommo-
dation’, ‘sightseeing’, ‘shopping’ and ‘entertainment’ (Table 7).
Economic value. Package-price items and self-help items both influence the
economic value of itinerary products.
(1) Package-price items. Package-price items such as transport, accommo-
dation and catering had small demand elasticity and were necessary for tour-
ists. Travel distance, transportation modes, price level, tourist residence time,
hotel grading and food specification determined the economic value of
package-price items. Without other conditions changed, the raise or increase
in elements such as travel distance, tourist staying time, consumption level
and local price level of destination etc. would improve the proportion of
package price in the economic value.
(2) Self-help items. Self-help items had large demand elasticity and were
dispensable for tourists, such as some entertainments, and shopping. Tourist
participation appeal, participation capacity, and participation degree in relation
Table 6 Eco-efficiency of several economic sectors in Netherlands
Economic sector Eco-efficiency (kg CO
Industry 0.630
Agriculture and fisheries 1.850
Trade and hospitality services 0.071
Business services, communication and
Average Dutch economy 0.330
Source: Adapted from Peeters and Schouten (2006).
GHG Emission-Based Eco-Efficiency Study 617
to these items were key factors influencing the economic value of self-help
items. The former two would impact participation degree, which referred to
participation frequency and economic consumption amounts.
In this study, except entertainment and shopping items, the three itinerary
products, co-efficiency would be 0.595 kg CO
/¥, 0.262 kg CO
/¥, 0.302 kg
/¥, improving by 26.49%, 39.94%, 48.42%, respectively. Therefore it is
evident that self-help items greatly influenced the tourism itinerary products’
eco-efficiency (Table 8).
emissions. With other elements unchanged, different transportation
modes, components and different types of energy consumed affect itinerary
products’ CO
(1) Transportation modes used during the tour. CO
emissions per kilo-
metre per capita of airplane, train, car, and coach were, respectively, 0.340,
0.030, 0.091, 0.022 kg when covering the same distance (Go
¨ssling et al., 2005).
Emissions per kilometre by air were far greater than for other types of trans-
ports; 13.2 times more than for trains, 4.4 times more than for cars, and a
remarkable 18.3 times more than for coaches. For product I, its emissions are
reduced to 1279.8 kg, a drop of 69.26%, but the travel time from the source
region to the destination increases from 3 hours to 37.5 hours. For the itinerary
product II, travelling to Kunming from Nanning by air, travel time would
reduce to 55 minutes from 13 hours, while the emissions are increased by
189.52% from 451.88 to 856.40 kg.
(2) Combinations of tourism itinerary product. Product combination plays an
important role in CO
emissions. Both entertainment forms and hotel grades
would influence CO
emissions. For instance, the tourist activities, experience
projects and participatory projects produced more CO
emissions since they
Table 7 Components comparisons of itinerary product on eco-efficiency
Items CO
emissions (kg) Spending (¥) Eco-efficiency (kg CO
Food and fibre 117.65 209 0.56
Accommodation 65.50 315 0.21
Transport 1510.30 2040 0.74
Sightseeing 57.90 437 0.13
Entertainment 7.55 310 0.02
Shopping 55.94 618.8 0.09
Solid wastes 10.96 0
Total 1769.87 3929.8 0.53
Table 8 Influences on eco-efficiency of itinerary products from entertainments
Items Product I Product II Product III
TEE (kg CO
/¥, including self-help items) 0.470 0.187 0.196
TEE (kg CO
/¥, without self-help items) 0.595 0.262 0.302
Impact (increase) 26.49% 39.94% 48.42%
618 Current Issues in Tourism
were energy-based, involving motorboats and roller coasters. Beckena et al.
(2003) calculated the energy intensity of various tourist activities in New
Zealand; the results showed that energy intensity ranged from 7 MJ per
capita (at visitor centres) to 1300 MJ per capita (skIIng), provided that they
consume the same type of energy, the latter produced 186 times more than
the former. Energy consumption and resulting CO
emissions of Shangri-La
itinerary product-series were relatively low because they were sightseeing-
based tourism products, in which the tourist attractions included were
mostly natural scenery and ethnic customs, and rarely participatory activities.
(3) Type of energy consumed during the tour. There are great differences in
emission factors among different energy types; the emission factor of
primary energy is larger than that of the secondary energy. 1 MJ the consump-
tion of electric power corresponded with 0.280 kg emissions; 1 MJ consumption
of coal gas corresponded with 63.07 kg emissions; 1 MJ, consumption of anthra-
cite corresponded with 98.37 kg (UNCTAD, 2004). Energy consumption of
catering came largely from liquefied petroleum (LGP) and coal gas, due to
the large energy consumption and emissions, and emissions of the ‘Food’ com-
ponent took up a large proportion in the three itinerary products.
‘Entertainment’ and ‘Sightseeing’ components mainly involved electric
power and the emission factor was relatively small. This turned out to be one
of the reasons for the small proportion that the two components’ emissions
Impact of air transport on eco-efficiency deserves further studies
Air transportation influences the tourism’s eco-efficiency so greatly because
of its high-energy consumption, large emission factor, and the impact of the
equivalent factor. Confirmation of the emission factor and equivalent factor
demands further study. Some experts argue that it must impact the research
findings greatly because of air transportation’s prodigious influences in
economic value and emissions of tourism (Go
¨ssling et al., 2005). Therefore, to
evaluate tourism’s eco-efficiency, more studies on the emission factor and
equivalent factor of air transportation should be done.
It is difficult to fully reflect eco-efficiency of tourism when concerning
direct factors only
In China, which is a developing country, tourism is treated as an integrated
industry that could promote economy development. In this paper, eco-
efficiency of the tourism itinerary product is used to reflect the eco-efficiency
of the tourism industry. However, because of the lack of data and the limitations
of methods, the tourism multiplier effect and tourism indirect emissions have
not been researched here. As a result, the eco-efficiency of tourism could not
be fully determined here. To reveal the real eco-efficiency of tourism compre-
hensively and scientifically, indirect influences of tourism must be taken into
account both economically and environmentally.
GHG Emission-Based Eco-Efficiency Study 619
Some other elements should be considered to achieve
more favourable eco-efficiency
In order to measure fully the integrated performance of tourism and the
rationality of tourism itinerary products, eco-efficiency only responded to econ-
omic and environmental requirements. For instance with regard to itinerary
product I, if tourists from Shanghai to Yunnan were asked to travel by train
instead of only by airplane in order to optimise eco-efficiency, it would take
them 72 more hours on round-trips between the two regions, inevitably
raising the time-cost and physical cost of tourists, and thus falling short of
the inherent requirements of modern tourism.
The calculation mode was established
Using a basic calculation approach to eco-efficiency, a calculation model of
tourism products eco-efficiency was built. Tourist expenditures, including
package-price and self-help items were made the economic indicator, and
emissions were made the environmental indicator, including greenhouse
gases generated by energy consumption, storage and transportation of waste in
In the model, tourism itinerary products were divided into seven parts: com-
ponents of ‘food’, ‘accommodation’, ‘transport’, ‘sightseeing’, ‘shopping’,
‘entertainment’ and ‘waste’, and there were different calculation approaches
for emissions of different components. By observing tourist behaviours and
tourist activities during the whole travel process, CO
emissions and eco-
efficiency of tourist activities can be measured effectively.
Greenhouse gases produced by tourist activities can not be ignored
Having established the calculation indicators and calculation models of
tourism itinerary products’ eco-efficiency, tourism in Shangri-La in Yunnan
was used for empirical research. The results showed that CO
emissions of
the three itinerary products were, respectively, 1847.73, 451.88, and 310.35 kg.
This accounted for 68.43%, 33.57%, and 14.88% of the average annual CO
emissions by Chinese residents, and the daily average were 230.97, 56.49, and
50.24 kg, respectively. So CO
emissions that produced by tourist activities,
especially during long-haul travel by air cannot be ignored.
Regarding long-haul and flights-based itinerary products, CO
emissions of
the transportation component comprised a large proportion. For short-haul and
automobile/train-based itinerary products, CO
emissions of food and trans-
port components accounted for a relatively large proportion, but generally
speaking, CO
emissions distribution of the components was relatively
balanced. For the three itinerary products, CO
emissions of ‘entertainment’
and ‘waste’ components accounted for the smallest proportion.
Different sectors and products of tourism possessed different
In the itinerary product-series of Shangri-La, two itinerary products’ eco-
efficiency was better than the national average level, but poorer than both the
620 Current Issues in Tourism
world average and industry standard in developed countries. For the last
product, its eco-efficiency was inferior compared with the national average,
which was mainly due to air transportation. There existed differences in
eco-efficiency among different sectors of tourism. The departments of enter-
tainment shopping and tourist attractions enjoyed more favourable eco-
efficiency than the transportation and catering sectors.
Economic value and CO
emissions were the key elements
Economic value and CO
emissions were the main influencing factors in
eco-efficiency of itinerary products. Influencing elements for economic value
mostly included expenditures of package-prices and self-help items. The
former related to tourist consumption levels, travel distance, transportation
modes and travel time. The latter referred to participation appetency, partici-
pation capacity and participation degree. Compared with package-price
items, self-help items enjoyed better eco-efficiency; it is the key factor in
determining whether the tourism itinerary products’ eco-efficiency was
favourable or unfavourable.
Influential elements for CO
emissions mainly included transportation
modes, product mix and energy types. Covering the same distance, air
transport produced more CO
emissions than other vehicles. Concerning
entertainment, experience and participatory projects brought more CO
emissions than other items. Consuming the same heat and work equivalent,
energy with a large emission factor generated more CO
emissions than
those with a small emission factor.
Energy saving and Emissions reduction are important tasks for tourism
General requirements of energy saving and emissions reduction were pro-
posed throughout the world. GHG emission targets for developed countries
were determined in the ‘Kyoto Protocol’. Not long ago, EU decided to reduce
GHG emissions by 20% by 2020. Both previous studies and this research
showed that tourist activities surely influence the CO
emissions (UNWTO,
2007). Furthermore; CO
emissions will definitely increase along with the
development of tourism, both due to the transfers from other industries and
to natural requirements from the promotion of living standards. Therefore,
there are dual pressures for tourism with regard to energy saving and emission
reductions as well as CO
emissions increase due to tourism development.
The authors gratefully acknowledge Dr. Zhong Linsheng for his helpful sug-
gestions and comments. The project is financed by the National Natural Science
Foundation of China (No. 40561012): The ecological footprint study of tourism
itinerary production in Shangri-La, Yunan Province of China.
Any correspondence should be directed to Peng Li, School of Business and
Tourism Management, Yunnan University, Kunming, China (
GHG Emission-Based Eco-Efficiency Study 621
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622 Current Issues in Tourism
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The eco-footprint analysis of tourism is one of the most up-to-date and effective methods used to analyze the environmental effects of tourism. This study constructs a model to calculate the ecological footprint (EF) of tourism itinerary products by using a component approach, rudimentarily exploring the calculation methods for EF which target necklace-like tourism itinerary products and base tourist trips. By applying the model to calculate and analyze an “8-day tour of Shangri-La”, a typical tourism itinerary product, results of this study suggest that: (a) Tourism is a kind of life style with tremendous ecological consumption, that is, per capita EF that tourists produce in the course of travel is more than the one that local people produce in their daily life in tourist source areas, and it also exceeds the per capita EF that local people produce in their daily life in tourist destination; (b) According to the component approach, EF of tourism itinerary products is broken down into 7 components, among which “Transport”, “Food”, “Waste” and “Accommodation” play important roles; (c) There exist significant differences in ecological efficiency between different departments of tourism; the travel and entertainment sectors maintain a relatively high ecological efficiency, while the food and lodging departments have relatively low ecological efficiency.
The environmental pressure of inbound tourism of both day-visitors and tourists to Amsterdam was analysed using the ecological footprint (EF) concept. The impacts of accommodation, activities, local transport and transport from the normal place of residence to Amsterdam were all included in the study. The total EF of inbound tourism to Amsterdam was 1.42 million hectares. Approximately 70% of the environmental pressure of inbound tourism originated from transport to Amsterdam, 21% from accommodation, 8% from visiting attractions and other leisure activities and 1% from local transportation. Long-haul tourists accounted for less than 25% of tourism revenues but were responsible for 70% of the EF of inbound tourism to Amsterdam. This high share of EF is caused by the long travel distance per trip using air transport, with a relatively high impact per passenger-kilometre. The paper shows that large reductions in the ecological footprint could be made at relatively little economic cost, if marketing effort was switched from long-haul markets to short-haul markets. Opportunities may exist for this kind of market-shift, as the demand for tourist accommodation within Amsterdam exceeds supply during the high season.
Despite growing awareness of environmental issues related to tourism, the interface of tourism and energy use or climate change remains unexplored. However, tourism demands energy at various functions ranging from travel to catering, and the management of tourist attractions. Since a tourist's holiday is composed of a broad selection of travel choices the associated energy use differs substantially. This paper shows how different travel choices within the transport, accommodation, and attraction and activity sub-sectors demand different amounts of energy, and how this adds up to the total ‘energy bill’ of international and domestic tourists in New Zealand. While the total energy use of international tourists (7318 MJ/trip within New Zealand) is four times that of domestic tourists, the energy use per day does not differ between these two types. Transportation clearly dominates the bill, with a contribution of 65–73% for international and domestic tourists, respectively, and is at the centre of energy saving measures. By altering ones’ travel style tourists can substantially influence their energy demand.
Eco-efficiency is a concept that prescribes reducing the amount of energy and natural resources used, as well as wastes and pollutants discharged in the production of goods and services. Numerous approaches to achieving greater levels of eco-efficiency have been suggested for tourism operations and destinations. However, none of these options have been examined with respect to tourist responses to them. This paper uses a discrete choice experiment to examine visitor preferences for a set of hypothetical tourism destination eco-efficiency strategies. Visitors preferred “eco-efficient” planning options to business-as-usual scenarios. The degree of support for the various planning options differed by market segments. Overall, tourist support existed for many options that could increase the overall eco-efficiency of destinations. Visitors were also willing to tolerate additional fees for services that might help to offset the environmental impacts of their behaviours. By having respondents evaluate and trade-off several resort eco-efficiency strategies simultaneously, the discrete choice experiment provided a more comprehensive and realistic assessment of eco-efficiency options than would be possible using traditional survey methods.
This article examines the concept of carrying capacity, the calculation and control of which has not been taken seriously by developers, whether public or private, especially in developing countries. This has resulted in many cases in overcapacity within the areas developed for tourism, causing the destruction or near-destruction of historical landmarks and even of the natural environment. Thus it is necessary for the concept of tourism carrying capacity to be included in the planning for tourism as initiated by governments and other developers, in spite of difficulties in measurement.
The use of fossil energy is one of the major environmental problems associated with tourism and travel. Consequently, the need to limit fossil energy use has been highlighted as a precondition for achieving sustainable tourism development. However, tourism is also one of the most important sectors of the world economy, and fears have thus been expressed by the tourist industry and its organisations that increasing energy prices (for example, as a result of eco-taxes) could substantially decrease the economic welfare of countries and destinations. In this article, the interplay of environmental damage and economic gains is thus analysed within the context of tourism. Carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions are assessed in relation to the revenues generated, allowing for conclusions about the eco-efficiency of tourism.
The term "eco-efficiency" describes business activities that create economic value while reducing ecological impact and resource use. This book outlines the principles of eco-efficiency and presents case studies of their application from a number of international companies, including 3M and the Dow Chemical Company. It also discusses the value of partnerships--with other companies, business associations, communities, regulators, and environmental and other nongovernmental groups. In the conclusion, the authors argue that business must become more eco-efficient and that governments need to change the conditions under which business operates, including tax and regulatory regimes, to make them more conducive to eco-efficiency.
Cruise tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the tourism industry and one that has significant environmental, economic and social impacts on target destinations. Yet, tourism decision makers, developers and managers rarely incorporate or estimate environmental impacts in their tourism development planning. Indeed, the analysis of the resulting resource exploitation is rarely undertaken until carrying capacity is breached and attractiveness diminished. In this article an assessment is offered that determines, quantifies and financially estimates emissions and waste streams so they can be compared with the direct income generated to the local economy by cruising tourism. It is applied to the Croatian part of the Adriatic and financially evaluates environmental impacts, arguing that they are negative externalities due to inappropriate internalization and management. The purpose of the assessment is to give a “snapshot” of the situation, and also to create the groundwork for a model that will assist decision makers and stakeholders, at different levels and of different interests, to prevent and reduce the ecological, health and economic risks associated with dead-end tourism development.
Prevent Global Warming -To Change the Economic System of 20th Century
  • S Takamitsu
Takamitsu, S. (1999) Prevent Global Warming -To Change the Economic System of 20th Century. Beijing: China Environmental Science Press.