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Tourism and Water Use: Supply, Demand and Security – An International Review


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This article reviews direct freshwater consumption in tourism from both quantitative and qualitative viewpoints to assess the current water demand of the tourism sector and to identify current and future management challenges. The article concludes that even though tourism increases global water consumption, direct tourism-related water use is considerably less than 1% of global consumption, and will not become significant even if the sector continues to grow at anticipated rates of around 4% per year (international tourist arrivals). The situation differs at the regional level because tourism concentrates traveller flows in time and space, and often-in dry destinations where water resources are limited. Furthermore, the understanding of tourism’s indirect water requirements, including the production of food, building materials and energy, remains inadequately understood, but is likely to be more substantial than direct water use. The article concludes that with expected changes in global precipitation patterns due to climate change, it is advisable in particular for already water scarce destinations to engage in proactive water management. Recommendations for managing tourism’s water footprint are made.
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Progress in Tourism Management
Tourism and water use: Supply, demand, and security. An international review
Stefan Gössling
, Paul Peeters
, C. Michael Hall
, Jean-Paul Ceron
, Ghislain Dubois
La Vergne Lehmann
, Daniel Scott
Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Box 882, 391 82 Kalmar, Sweden
Western Norway Research Institute, Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism, Box 163, 6851 Sogndal, Norway
NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, Centre for Sustainable Tourism and Transport, P.O. Box 3917, 4800 DX Breda, The Netherlands
Department of Management, College of Business & Economics, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
CRIDEAU, Université de Limoges, France
Tourisme Environnement Consultants (TEC), Marseille, France
Water In Drylands Collaborative Research Program (WIDCORP), University of Ballarat, Horsham Campus, Baillie St, PO Box 300, Horsham 3402, Victoria, Australia
Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave. West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada
article info
Article history:
Received 31 December 2010
Accepted 30 March 2011
Climate change
Water consumption
Water security
Water stress
Water quality
This article reviews direct freshwater consumption in tourism from both quantitative and qualitative
viewpoints to assess the current water demand of the tourism sector and to identify current and future
management challenges. The article concludes that even though tourism increases global water
consumption, direct tourism-related water use is considerably less than 1% of global consumption, and will
not become signicant even if the sector continues to grow at anticipated rates of around 4% per year
(international tourist arrivals). The situation differs at the regional level because tourism concentrates
traveller ows in time and space, and often-in dry destinations where water resources are limited.
Furthermore, the understanding of tourisms indirect water requirements, including the production of
food, building materials and energy, remains inadequately understood, but is likely to be more substantial
than direct water use. The article concludes that with expected changes in global precipitation patterns
due to climate change, it is advisable in particular for already water scarce destinations to engage in
proactive water management. Recommendations for managing tourisms water footprint are made.
Ó2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
In the last 50 years global water use has tripled (Carbon
Disclosure Project, 2010a). Water stress affects a large and
growing share of humanity, with an estimated 450 million people
already living under severe water stress in 1995 (Vörösmarty,Green,
Salisbury, & Lammers, 2000). An additional 1.4e2.1 billion people
live in water-stressed basins in northern Africa, the Mediterranean
region, the Middle East, the Near East, southern Asia, northern
China, Australia, the USA, Mexico, north eastern Brazil and the west
coast of South America (Arnell, 2004; Vörösmarty et al., 2000), and
up to 3.2 billion people would face water stress by 2100 under a 4
global climate change scenario (Parry et al., 2009a; Parry, Lowe, &
Hanson, 2009b). These gures underline the importance of water
management for humanity and are even more signicant when
bearing in mind the Millennium Development Goal target to halve,
by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe
drinking water and basic sanitation (United Nations Development
Programme, 2007).
Water stress is a function of renewable fresh water availability,
abstraction rates and the share of consumptive use. Global water use
is increasing due to population and economic growth, changes in
lifestyles, technologies and international trade, and the expansion of
water supply systems. The most water-consuming activity is irriga-
tion for agriculture, which accounts for 70 per cent of total water
withdrawals and more than 90 per cent of consumptive water use
(Bates, Kundzewicz, Wu, &Palutikof, 2008). Agriculture is also the
most important factor in the future growth of water consumption
(Bates et al., 2008; UNESCO, 2009). While strong growth in water
demand can thus be expected, available water resources will decline
in many regions because of the depletion of non-renewable fossil
water resources (both groundwater and glacial ice), pollution of
water bodies and groundwater sources, and climate change leading
to declining precipitation levels and increased frequency of drought,
increased evaporation, and changes in patterns of runoff (IPCC, 2007;
Parry et al., 2009a; Parry et al., 2009b). The Carbon Disclosure Project
*Corresponding author. Western Norway Research Institute, Research Centre for
Sustainable Tourism, Box 163, 6851 Sogndal, Norway. Tel.: þ46 480 497194.
E-mail address: (S. Gössling).
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Tourism Management
journal homepage:
0261-5177/$ esee front matter Ó2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Tourism Management 33 (2012) 1e15
Table 1
Selected water use and tourism parameters.
Country Total natural
water resources
(note 2)
(note 2)
water use
in 2000
water use
(10^6 L/yr)
2020 (000)
of stay,
Water use
per tourist
per day
(note 6)
Total Int.
water use,
(million m
Mauritius 2210 0 0 612 16 27.7% 761 5.3 2138 10.4 400 3.17
Cyprus 780 0 11 244 62 31.3% 2470 2.5 4047 11 400 10.87
Malta 51 31.4 1.6 55 33 107.8% 1171 2 1740 8.4 400 3.93
Barbados 80 0 0 84 24 105.0% 548 4.3 1272 10.1 400 2.21
Spain 111,500 ee 35,635 4576 32.0% 55,916 2.6 93,429 12.9 400 288.53
France 203,700 ee 39,959 5814 19.6% 75,910 2.3 119,622 7.5 400 227.73
Switzerland 53,500 ee 2571 276 4.8% 7229 1.7 10,127 8.1 150 8.78
Greece 74,250 ee 7759 870 10.4% 14,276 2.1 21,633 8.1 400 46.25
Uruguay 139,000 0 0 3146 42 2.3% 1808 5.3 5079 6.9 150 1.87
Tunisia 4560 8.3 20 2726 364 59.8% 7106 3.1 13,086 6.6 400 18.76
Indonesia 2,838,000 0 0 82,773 4458 2.9% 5002 7.7 22,052 12.3 300 18.46
India 1,907,760 0 0 645,837 25,000 33.9% 3915 5.9 12,321 31.2 150 18.32
Ireland 52,000 ee 1129 128 2.2% 7333 3.8 15,461 7.4 150 8.14
Israel 1670 ee 2041 624 122.2% 1903 2.3 2999 15 300 8.56
Cape Verde 300 0 0 28 13 9.3% 198 3.6 402 7 300 0.42
Thailand 409,944 0 0 87,065 1655 21.2% 9579 6.9 36,381 7.8 300 22.41
147,000 0 0 9541 2360 6.5% 29,970 3.4 58,492 8.1 200 48.55
Italy 191,300 ee 44,372 7980 23.2% 36,513 2.1 55,330 8.1 400 118.30
Denmark 6000 ee 1267 360 21.1% 4699 3.8 9907 8.1 200 7.61
Portugal 77,400 ee 11,263 1095 14.6% 12,097 2.1 18,331 6.7 400 32.42
Germany 154,000 ee 47,052 5093 30.6% 21,500 1.2 27,293 8.1 200 34.83
Finland 110,000 ee 2478 264 2.3% 3140 3.8 6620 5.9 150 2.78
Brazil 8,233,000 0 0 59,298 11,529 0.7% 5358 5 14,216 12.1 300 19.45
South Africa 50,000 0 0 15,306 2261 30.6% 7518 8 35,041 8.1 300 18.27
Turkey 231,700 0.5 0 37,519 5680 16.2% 20,273 5.5 59,152 10 400 81.09
Bahrain 116 44.1 8 299 53 257.8% 3914 6.6 14,053 2.4 200 1.88
20,995 0 0 3386 913 16.1% 3691 5 9793 10 400 14.76
Norway 382,000 ee 2185 400 0.6% 3859 3.8 8136 8.1 150 4.69
China 2,896,569 ee 630289 26,275 21.8% 46,809 7.8 210,235 8.1 200 75.83
Morocco 29,000 3.4 0 12,758 1150 44.0% 5843 4.9 15,211 9 200 10.52
Hungary 104,000 ee 7641 612 7.3% 10,048 0.7 11,552 8.1 200 16.28
Netherlands 91,000 ee 7944 390 8.7% 10,012 1.9 14,588 2.7 150 4.05
Saudi Arabia 2400 714 217 17,320 1530 721.7% 9100 5.3 25,563 8.1 200 14.74
Austria 77,700 ee 2112 792 2.7% 19,952 1.2 25,328 4.6 150 13.77
Japan 430,000 0 0 88,432 17,366 20.6% 6728 4.5 16,226 8 200 10.76
United States 3,069,400 ee 479,293 60,749 15.6% 49,402 3.5 98,300 8.1 300 120.05
United Arab
150 385 108 2306 504 1537.3% 3907 7.1 15,404 8.1 200 6.33
Malaysia 580,000 0 0 9016 1397 1.6% 16,431 5 43,596 5.8 200 19.06
Sweden 174,000 ee 2965 1044 1.7% 3133 3.8 6606 8.1 150 3.81
& Tobago
3840 0 0 305 204 7.9% 399 4.3 926 8.1 400 1.29
Philippines 479,000 0 0 28,520 4432 6.0% 2623 7.7 11,564 8.8 300 6.92
Egypt 86,800 25 200 68,653 4620 79.1% 8244 7.4 34,373 6 400 19.79
Chile 922,000 0 0 12539 1015 1.4% 2027 4.7 5079 10.1 200 4.09
Bulgaria 21,300 ee 10,498 417 49.3% 4837 4.6 11,891 8.4 150 6.09
Mexico 457,222 0 0 78,219 13,226 17.1% 21,915 3.6 44,457 9.9 300 65.09
Australia 492,000 ee 23,932 9490 4.9% 5020 6.4 17,359 26 300 39.16
of Korea
69,700 0 0 18,590 6162 26.7% 6023 4.1 13,453 8.1 200 9.76
Poland 61,600 ee 16,201 1599 26.3% 15,200 4.2 34,610 4.8 150 10.94
Cuba 38,120 0 0 8204 2548 21.5% 2261 9.2 13,145 10.5 300 7.12
Argentina 814,000 0 0 29,072 4576 3.6% 3895 5.1 10,533 9.9 150 5.78
4,507,250 0 0 76,686 14,649 1.7% 21,169 6.8 78,909 8.1 150 25.72
Czech Republic 13,150 ee 2566 1107 19.5% 6336 4 13,883 3.5 200 4.44
Canada 2,902,000 ee 45,974 8118 1.6% 18,768 3.6 38,073 5.2 150 14.64
Ukraine 139,550 0 0 37,523 4680 26.9% 4406 4.2 10,032 5.3 150 3.50
Romania 211,930 ee 23,176 2080 10.9% 1430 2.8 2484 2.5 150 0.54
Totals 34,076,497 1212 566 2,886,364 272,674 8.5% 653,575 4.2% 1,501,535 8.5 286 1593
1) WTO (2001):2)WTO (2001) regional average; 3) WTO (2001): 4) extrapolation based on growth rate; 5) weighted average; 6) Estimate by Gössling (2006). Categories:
countries with i) high share of friends & relative related tourism, high percentage of small accommodation establishments or city hotels, high share of mountain tourism:
150 L per tourist per day (t/d), ii) Mediterranean & countries with high percentage of resort hotels: 400 L t/d, iii) other, individual judgement: 200e300 L t/d; 7)
extrapolation does not consider increases/decreases in per tourist water use estimates; 8) Peeters and Dubois (2010): 9) source: Dorling (2007);*global average applied in
absence of national data, calculation in Gössling (2002a). Table originally presented in Gössling (2006), and based on FAO (2003);WTO (2001, 2003);UNTWO (2010);
UNWTOeUNEPeWMO (2008); WWF (2001, 2004).
S. Gössling et al. / Tourism Management 33 (2012) 1e152
Total Int
water use
(million m
water use
as % of total 2000
water use
as % of
total 2020
Share of
water for
int. tourism
(note 9)
note 8)
Net domestic
water use
per night
(million m
water use
tourism share
of domestic
water use
share of
8.89 0.52% 1.45% 20.17% 13 632380 197 3.08 6.25 19.64% 20.17% 39.81%
17.81 4.45% 7.30% 17.43% 78 258138 184 1.24 12.11 1.99% 17.43% 19.42%
5.85 7.15% 10.63% 11.89% 83 212068 183 0.78 4.71 2.35% 11.89% 14.24%
5.14 2.64% 6.12% 9.40% 78 162749 184 0.72 2.93 3.06% 9.40% 12.46%
482.10 0.81% 1.35% 6.31% 112 47853461 178 260.46 548.99 5.69% 6.31% 12.00%
358.87 0.57% 0.90% 3.92% 97 110581890 181 355.60 583.33 6.12% 3.92% 10.03%
12.30 0.34% 0.48% 3.18% 38 13174153 67 17.06 25.85 6.18% 3.18% 9.36%
70.09 0.60% 0.90% 5.32% 79 8782982 184 31.12 77.37 3.58% 5.32% 8.89%
5.26 0.06% 0.17% 4.46% 12 1453856 73 1.73 3.60 4.11% 4.46% 8.57%
34.55 0.69% 1.27% 5.15% 38 4010240 192 12.10 30.86 3.32% 5.15% 8.48%
81.37 0.02% 0.10% 0.41% 21 79200275 146 337.50 355.96 7.57% 0.41% 7.98%
57.66 0.00% 0.01% 0.07% 24 359906297 70 1872.88 1891.21 7.49% 0.07% 7.56%
17.16 0.72% 1.52% 6.36% 33 1094255 68 1.32 9.46 1.03% 6.36% 7.39%
13.49 0.42% 0.66% 1.37% 99 6826685 130 31.66 40.22 5.07% 1.37% 6.45%
0.84 1.49% 3.01% 3.16% 26 176207 145 0.42 0.84 3.22% 3.16% 6.38%
85.13 0.03% 0.10% 1.35% 27 28396535 145 76.10 98.51 4.60% 1.35% 5.95%
94.76 0.51% 0.99% 2.06% 40 51729235 92 91.55 140.11 3.88% 2.06% 5.94%
179.27 0.27% 0.40% 1.48% 139 102717268 172 340.31 458.62 4.26% 1.48% 5.75%
16.05 0.60% 1.27% 2.11% 67 7739837 87 12.90 20.51 3.58% 2.11% 5.70%
49.13 0.29% 0.44% 2.96% 110 7312650 178 20.72 53.14 1.89% 2.96% 4.85%
44.21 0.07% 0.09% 0.68% 62 118930724 88 200.48 235.31 3.94% 0.68% 4.62%
5.86 0.11% 0.24% 1.05% 51 10128860 65 9.20 11.98 3.49% 1.05% 4.54%
51.61 0.03% 0.09% 0.17% 65 116616298 137 458.80 478.25 3.98% 0.17% 4.15%
85.15 0.12% 0.56% 0.81% 50 27165910 140 73.11 91.37 3.23% 0.81% 4.04%
236.61 0.22% 0.63% 1.43% 81 33131820 184 144.64 225.73 2.55% 1.43% 3.97%
6.75 0.63% 2.26% 3.57% 75 158505 85 0.08 1.96 0.15% 3.57% 3.72%
39.17 0.44% 1.16% 1.62% 106 4309247 179 18.29 33.06 2.00% 1.62% 3.62%
9.89 0.21% 0.45% 1.17% 89 8525806 57 9.38 14.07 2.35% 1.17% 3.52%
340.58 0.01% 0.05% 0.29% 20 455490233 96 840.58 916.41 3.20% 0.29% 3.49%
27.38 0.08% 0.21% 0.91% 38 13141443 92 25.94 36.46 2.26% 0.91% 3.17%
18.71 0.21% 0.24% 2.66% 62 1251864 88 2.11 18.39 0.34% 2.66% 3.00%
5.91 0.05% 0.07% 1.04% 24 16682315 70 7.50 11.56 1.92% 1.04% 2.96%
41.41 0.09% 0.24% 0.96% 65 15882165 87 26.57 41.31 1.74% 0.96% 2.70%
17.48 0.65% 0.83% 1.74% 98 10888857 55 6.59 20.36 0.83% 1.74% 2.57%
25.96 0.01% 0.03% 0.06% 136 300132715 73 414.86 425.62 2.39% 0.06% 2.45%
238.87 0.03% 0.05% 0.20% 209 625357944 108 1302.09 1422.14 2.14% 0.20% 2.34%
24.95 0.27% 1.08% 1.26% 174 4206132 65 5.28 11.61 1.05% 1.26% 2.30%
50.57 0.21% 0.56% 1.36% 58 8778800 88 10.68 29.74 0.76% 1.36% 2.13%
8.03 0.13% 0.27% 0.36% 117 17711966 52 17.56 21.37 1.68% 0.36% 2.05%
3.00 0.42% 0.98% 0.63% 157 869956 169 2.82 4.11 1.38% 0.63% 2.02%
30.53 0.02% 0.11% 0.16% 56 28072134 139 81.38 88.30 1.84% 0.16% 1.99%
82.50 0.03% 0.12% 0.43% 66 26114735 187 69.54 89.33 1.51% 0.43% 1.93%
10.26 0.03% 0.08% 0.40% 65 7133925 87 14.88 18.98 1.47% 0.40% 1.87%
14.98 0.06% 0.14% 1.46% 52 1086473 65 1.40 7.49 0.34% 1.46% 1.80%
132.04 0.08% 0.17% 0.49% 130 54439380 124 158.79 223.87 1.20% 0.49% 1.69%
135.40 0.16% 0.57% 0.41% 487 27840371 53 90.53 129.69 0.95% 0.41% 1.37%
21.79 0.05% 0.12% 0.16% 130 43960097 74 62.57 72.33 1.02% 0.16% 1.17%
24.92 0.07% 0.15% 0.68% 41 8983700 67 6.83 17.78 0.43% 0.68% 1.11%
41.41 0.09% 0.50% 0.28% 225 6065600 105 15.87 22.99 0.62% 0.28% 0.90%
15.64 0.02% 0.05% 0.13% 120 27991886 51 33.51 39.29 0.73% 0.13% 0.86%
95.87 0.03% 0.13% 0.18% 102 69776802 55 73.37 99.09 0.50% 0.18% 0.68%
9.72 0.17% 0.38% 0.40% 109 2881736 78 1.88 6.31 0.17% 0.40% 0.57%
29.70 0.03% 0.06% 0.18% 259 45477126 23 12.99 27.63 0.16% 0.18% 0.34%
7.98 0.01% 0.02% 0.07% 96 13706940 56 9.64 13.14 0.21% 0.07% 0.28%
0.93 0.00% 0.00% 0.03% 93 7203059 56 2.41 2.95 0.12% 0.03% 0.14%
3531.48 0.06% 0.12% 0.58% 2992316683 143 7681.43 9274.56 2.82% 0.58% 3.40%
S. Gössling et al. / Tourism Management 33 (2012) 1e15 3
(2010b) reports that future water shortages are an increasing concern
for the worlds largest companies, with more than half of the rms
responding to a survey expecting problems with water in the next
ve years, including disruption from drought or ooding, declining
water quality, increases in water prices, and nes and litigation
relating to pollution incidents.
Tourism is both dependent on fresh water resources and an
importantfactor in fresh water use. Tourists need and consume water
when washing or using the toilet, when participating in activities
such as ski or golf tourism (snowmaking and irrigation), when using
spas, wellness areas or swimmingpools. Fresh water is also needed to
maintain the gardens and landscaping of hotels and attractions, and
is embodied in tourism infrastructure development, food and fuel
production (Chapagain & Hoekstra, 2008; Gössling, 2001; Hoekstra &
Hung, 2002; Pigram, 1995; Worldwatch Institute, 2004). Recreational
activities such as swimming, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, diving, or
shing are take place at lakes and rivers, which also form important
elements of the landscapes visited by tourists (Gössling, 2006; Hall &
Härkönen, 2006; Prideaux & Cooper, 2009). Many forms of tourism
are also indirectly dependent onwater, including, for instance, winter
tourism (white winter landscapes), agritourism or wildlife tourism.
Changes in the availability or quality of water resources can conse-
quently have a concomitant detrimental impact on tourism, with
many documented examples indicating the enormous costs associ-
ated with the ecological restoration of ecosystems such as the Ever-
glades or Great Lakes in North America (UNESCO, 2009).
In light of this, the article examines tourism-related freshwater
use and its signicance for the sustainable use of freshwater
resources. Tourism is typically overlooked as a salient sector in global
scale discussions of water use and this paper examines whether this
is justied by using a review of tourism-related water use studies to
estimate fresh water consumption in tourism at the country level.
The paper also provides a review of the wide range of fresh water
uses in tourism, documented use conicts, and discusses manage-
ment issues related to water provision, abstraction, and efcient use
of fresh water.
2. Water availability and use by country and sector
Fresh water availability is unevenly distributed between coun-
tries and within countries, where water scarce and water abundant
watersheds can be only a hundred kilometres apart. For example,
renewable per capita water resources range from 10 m
per year in
Kuwait to more than 1,500,000 m
in the State of Alaska in the USA
(in 2000; Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 2010). While
many countries have vast water resources, desalination has become
of major importance in some large industrialized countries such as
the United States, Italy, Spain, as well as a range of island states.
Some countries, particularly islands, have also started to import
fresh water with tanker ships, including Bahamas, Antigua and
Barbuda, Mallorca, the Greek Islands, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan,
Nauru, Fiji and Tonga (Black & King, 2009; UNESCO, 2009).
The FAO distinguishes agricultural, domestic and industrial fresh
water consumption. Onglobal average, approximately 70 per cent of
water use is for agriculture, 20 per cent for industrial and 10 per cent
for domestic purposes, including households, municipalities,
commercial establishments and public services (UNESCO, 2009;see
also Bates et al., 2008). Considerable differences in these shares exist
within countries and on an averaged per capita basis. For example,
daily domestic water use varies between 12 L per capita in Bhutan (in
2000) and 1226 L (in 2005) per capita in Australia. On a global
average, domestic water use is in the order of 160 L per capita per day
(Gössling, 2006;basedonWRI, 2003).
However, the impact of water use is dependent on abstraction
rates in comparison to renewable water resources, and the share of
consumptive uses. For instance, only about 10% of water used for
snowmaking will sublimate or evaporate, while 90% will return to
the regional water cycle (Smart & Fleming, 1985). In cases where
water can be re-used, as is often the case with grey water, changed
water properties (temperature, toxic components) can be more
relevant in sustainability terms than the amount of water actually
As shown in Table 1, great differences exist between the most
important tourism countries in terms of renewable water resources,
desalination capacity, use of treated wastewater, and overall water
use. Forexample, in countries such as Bahrain, Barbados,Israel, Malta,
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, water use exceeds
renewable water resources by up to a factor 15. In many other
countries, such as Poland, Republic of Korea, Ukraine, Mauritius,
Germany, South Africa, Cyprus, Spain, India, Morocco, Bulgaria or
Tunisia, a signicant share of renewable water resources is used. In
these, as well as other countries, considerable problems can be
expected in the future, when water consumption is likely to grow.
Furthermore, the values in Table 1 mask that in many countrieswater
scarcity exists at the regional and local scale, but is not reected in
national water use statistics.
Table 1 also shows that international tourism generally accounts
for less than 1 per cent of national water use. Barbados (2.6 per cent),
Cyprus (4.8 per cent) and Malta (7.3 per cent) are exceptions, and
indicate that islands with high tourist arrival numbers and limited
water resources are more likely to face water conicts. This becomes
even more obvious when calculating the share of tourism-related
water consumption in comparison to domestic water use, and
when water consumption by domestic tourism is also considered.
As shown in Fig. 1, the proportion of water consumption by the
tourism sector is typically below 5 per cent of domestic water use,
but can be as high as 40 per cent (Mauritius). In the 54 countries
included in this analysis, comprising the worlds most important
tourism countries (by arrivals) and a sample of highly tourism-
dependent islands (high percentage of GDP), the tourism sector
was found to represent greater than 10 per cent of domestic water
use in 19 of them. This nding suggests that national-scale discus-
sions of water security should not overlook tourism as a sector.
By 2020, tourisms contribution to water use is likely to
increase with i) increased tourist numbers, ii) higher hotel standards
and iii) the increased water-intensity of tourism activities (cf.
UNWTOeUNEPeWMO, 2008, see also Tables 2 and 5 below). The
World Tourism Organization (2003) maintains projections of its
Tourism 2020 Vision (WTO, 2001) and forecasts over 1.56 billion
international arrivals by the year 2020. To these gures, about 5 times
the number of domestic tourism trips would have to be added,
assuming the current (2005) ratio of international to domestic
tourism (cf. UNWTOeUNEPeUNWTO, 2008). Higher average hotel
standards, identied as a trendby UNWTOeUNEPeWMO (2008),are
likely to go along with increasing water use, because of spas, wellness
areas, or swimming pools, but also greater indirect water demands
for higher-order foods and an increase in average fossil fuel use per
trip. Growth in water-intense tourism activities, such as golf or skiing,
will also lead to greater water consumption in the sector. For
example,the US and EU countries added over 3000 new golf courses
each between 1985 and 2010, with much of this development in
areas with limited water resources (e.g., Arizona,Texas, Spain) (Scott,
Hall, & Gössling, 2011). Future development of new courses is antic-
ipated to be strongest in China, the Mid-East, South East Asia, South
Africa and Eastern Europe; many of which are expected to face water
shortages in the decades ahead (Arnell, 2004; Bates et al., 2008).
Although the number of ski areas and skiable terrain has increased
slowly over the past 25 years (with the exception of some emerging
markets such as China), the proportion of skiable terrain covered by
snowmaking has grown substantially (OECD, 2007; Scott, 2005)and
S. Gössling et al. / Tourism Management 33 (2012) 1e154
this trend is expected to continue as ski areas seek to reduce their
vulnerability to recent climate variability.
These developments must also be considered against the
background of observed and anticipated changes in hydrological
cycles anticipated under climate change, including:
1. Observed changes in large-scale hydrological cycles over the
past 50e100 years include, regional changes in precipitation
patterns, changes in precipitation intensity and extremes,
reduced snow cover and widespread melting of glacial ice, as
well as changes in soil moisture and runoff.
2. Climate models project annual increases in precipitation in the
high latitudes and parts of the tropics, and decreases in sub-
tropical and lower mid-latitude regions.
3. Climate models also project an increase in annual average river
runoff and water availability in high latitudes and some wet
tropical areas, and decreases over dry regions at mid-latitudes
and in the dry tropics.
4. Increased precipitation intensity and variability are also pro-
jected, resulting in greater likelihood of ooding and drought in
many areas.
5. Higher water temperatures and changes in extremes, including
oods and droughts, will affect water quality and exacerbate
many forms of water pollution.
6. Changes in water quantity and quality would also affect food
availability, stability, access and utilization.
7. The operation of existing water infrastructure, including
hydropower, structural ood defences, drainage and irrigation
Fig. 1. Share of domestic and international tourism in national domestic water use.
S. Gössling et al. / Tourism Management 33 (2012) 1e15 5
systems, and water supply and treatments systems will be
affected by these ongoing and future climate-induced hydro-
logical changes. (Bates et al., 2008)
Examination of the countries where tourism represents a more
substantive sectoral user of water, i.e. the 19 countries in Table 1
where tourism represents >5% of total use, revealed that 12 of 19
are projected to have lower annual precipitation and lower annual
runoff underclimate change (a 15 model ensemblemean for the SRES
A1B scenario for the 2080s eIPCC, 2007). When increased evapo-
ration is also considered, 15 of 19 countries are projected to have
reduced annual soil moisture. While further analysis is needed to
examine whether the seasonal timing of increased precipitation in 7
of the 19 countries coincides with peak tourism arrivals and could
therefore potentially contribute to alleviating tourism-induced water
use pressure, in the majority of countries where tourism is a more
signicant sectoral water user, climate change is projected to exac-
erbate current water demand and scarcity problems. Sub-national
scale analysis reveals additional climate change-induced water
challenges emerge for some prominent and emerging tourism
destinations, including in the southwestern USA, southern Australia,
central-coastal Brazil, the Middle East, and central and southern
Throughout many of the regions where reduced runoff and soil
moisture are projected, drought frequency and intensity are also
projected, which will further test water supply systems in extreme
Table 2
Water use per tourist per day, various tourism contexts.
Country/region Accommodation type Water use per tourist
per day
Mediterranean Mostly hotels 250 L Grenon and Batisse (1991), quoted in GFANC (1997)
Mediterranean Campsites 145 L Scherb (1975), quoted in GFANC (1997)
Mediterranean All accommodation 440e880 L WWF (2004)
Benidorm, Spain Campsites 84 L Rico-Amoros, Olcina-Cantos, and Sauri (2009)
Benidorm, Spain 1 star hotel 174 L Rico-Amoros (2009)
Benidorm, Spain 2 star hotel 194 L Rico-Amoros (2009)
Benidorm, Spain 3 star hotel 287 L Rico-Amoros (2009)
Benidorm, Spain 4 star hotel 361 L Rico-Amoros (2009)
Tunisia Hotels 466 L Eurostat (2009)
Morocco Apartment 180 L Eurostat (2009)
Morocco 3 star hotel, or villa 300 L Eurostat (2009)
Morocco 4 star hotel 400 L Eurostat (2009)
Morocco 5 star hotel 500 L Eurostat (2009)
Morocco Luxury 5 star hotel 600 L Eurostat (2009)
Sarigerme, Turkey 4 star hotel 400 Le>1000 L Antakyali et al. (2008)
Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt Hotels/resorts 500 L (per bed) Hafez & El Manharawy (2002)
Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt 5 star hotels 1410e2190 L (per room) Lamei et al. (2006) in Lamei (2009)
Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt Hotels 400 L Lamei, Tilmant, et al. (2009) and
Lamei, von Münch, et al. (2009)
Zanzibar, Tanzania Guesthouses 248 L Gössling (2001)
Zanzibar, Tanzania Hotels 931 L Gössling (2001)
Zanzibar, Tanzania Hotels & guesthouses 685 L (weighted average) Gössling (2001)
Jamaica Unclear 527e1596 L (average 980 L) Meade and del Monaco (1999), quoted in
Bohdanowicz and Martinac (2007), and
Antakyali et al. (2008)
Thailand 913e3423 L (per room) CUC and AIT (1998), quoted in Bohdanowicz
and Martinac (2007)
Philippines 4 star hotel 1802 L (per room) Alexander (2002)
Philippines Unclear 1499 L (per room) Alexander and Kennedy (2002), quoted in
Bohdanowicz and Martinac (2007)
Hong Kong Hotels 336e3198 L (per room) Deng and Burnett (2002)
Australia Hotels 750 L (per room) Australian Institute of Hotel Engineers (1993),
quoted in Bohdanowicz and Martinac 2007
Australia Large Hotels 300 L (per room) The Natural Edge Project (2008)
Melbourne, Australia Various 227e435 L City West Water (2006)
USA Unclear 382e787 L (per room) Davies and Cahill (2000), quoted in Bohdanowicz
and Martinac (2007)
Las Vegas, USA Hotels/resorts 303L Cooley, Hutchins-Cabibi, Cohen, Gleick, and Heberger (2007)
Seattle, USA Hotels evarious 378e1514L (per room) ONeill, Siegelbaum and The RICE Group (2002)
Germany Unclear 90e900 L (average 340 L) Despretz (2001), quoted in Bohdanowicz & Martinac 2007
and Antakyali et al. (2008)
Germany Unclear 275 L Nattrass and Altomare (1999), quoted in
Bohdanovicz and Martinac (2007)
Scandinavia Hilton chain 516 L Bohdanovicz and Martinac (2007)
Scandinavia Scandic chain 216 L Bohdanovicz and Martinac (2007)
Coastal Normandy, France Second home 102 L Langumier and Ricou (1995)
Coastal Normandy, France Campsite 92 L Langumier and Ricou (1995)
Coastal Normandy, France Hotel-restaurant 259 L Langumier and Ricou (1995)
Coastal Normandy, France Hotel 175 Langumier and Ricou (1995)
Coastal Normandy, France Other tourist accommodation 115 L Langumier and Ricou (1995)
Coastal Normandy, France Main home 114 L Langumier and Ricou (1995)
S. Gössling et al. / Tourism Management 33 (2012) 1e156
years. For example, in large parts of the European Mediterranean,
the current 1 in 100 year drought is projected to occur once
a decade in the latter part of the 21st century (IPCC, 2007).
Furthermore, Black and King (2009) identify a range of important
tourism countries that will be chronically short of water by 2050,
including Tunisia, Malta, Morocco, South Africa, Cyprus, Maldives,
Singapore, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, and
Overall, these gures illustrate that even though water use in
the tourism sector is typically less than 1 per cent of national water
use, the situation may be different on the regional level, particularly
where water may already be scarce and the number of tourists is
substantial. In the future, tourism in many regions will face
considerably greater problems with regard to water availability and
quality due to increasing water use and climate change. As these
changes are likely to affect individual tourism businesses in water
scarce regions in particular, the following section will review water
uses in tourism to establish the major categories of water use (and
where water management initiatives might best be focused) and
provide a better understanding of the water footprints of various
types of holidays.
3. Water use by tourists
In comparison to other economic sectors, such as agriculture,
there are no specic regional or national water use statistics for
tourism, and tourism-related water use is still under investigated.
The following sections discuss the range of estimates for direct
(Accommodation,Activities) and indirect water use (fossil fuel use
for transports, food, infrastructure) available in the literature.
3.1. Accommodation
The literature suggests water consumption rates in a range
between 84 and 2000 L per tourist per day, or up to 3423 L per
bedroom per day (Table 2). A considerable share of these volumes
can be staff related, with for instance Lamei, Tilmant, van der Zaag,
and Imam (2009) and Lamei, von Münch, van der Zaag, and Imam
(2009) reporting use values of 250 L per day per person in staff
housing and 30 L per day for each staff during working hours.
Overall, there is a tendency for higher-standard accommodation to
consume signicantly higher water volumes, with Bohdanowicz
and Martinac (2007) nding highest water use rates in hotels with
spas and large or multiple swimming pools (see also Table 5). Water-
intensive facilities typically have landscaped grounds, requiring
irrigation. Higher laundry volumes per guest per day are a result of
sport and health centres, as well as affected by textile quality and/or
weight of laundry items, including very large towelsfor spa facilities
or beach use. On global average, it has been suggested that an
international tourist consumes 222 L per day (Gössling, 2005), but
evidence from the newer studies summarized in Table 2 suggests
this estimate should be considered conservative.
With regard to water use categories and shares, various factors
are found to inuence water use, including the geographical loca-
tion of accommodation establishments (climate zone, urban-rural)
as well as the hotel structure (high-rise, resort style) and comfort
standard (e.g. campsite, 1e5-star hotel). According to one study of
hotels in a tropical environment (Zanzibar, Tanzania eGössling,
2001), most water in hotels was used for continuous irrigation of
gardens (50 per cent, or a weighted average of 465 L per tourist per
day), a result of the poor storage capacity of the soils, high evapo-
ration, and plant species not adapted to arid conditions. In contrast,
in guesthouses, the second dominant accommodation category,
irrigation accounted for only 15 per cent of the total water use (37 L
per tourist per day). The major proportion of water in guesthouses
was spent for direct uses including taking showers, ushing the
toilet, and the use of tap water (55 per cent, 136 L per tourist per
day), with a corresponding consumption of 20 per cent or 186 L per
tourist per day in hotels. The higher demand of hotel guests was
found to be a result of additional showers taken after swimming,
and more luxurious bathroom facilities. Swimming pools repre-
sented another important factor of water use, accounting for about
15 per cent of the water demand of hotels (140 L per tourist per
day). Indirectly, swimming pools added to laundry, for example
when additional towels were handed out to guests. Guesthouses in
the study area did not have swimming pools, which can partially
explain lower water use rates. Laundry accounts for about 10 per
cent (25 L per tourist per day) of the water used in guesthouses and
5 per cent (47 L per tourist per day) in hotels. Cleaning adds 5 per
cent to the water demand in both guesthouses (12 L per tourist per
day) and hotels (47 L per tourist per day). Finally, restaurants in
guesthouses account for 15 per cent of the water used in guest-
houses (37 L per tourist per day) and for 5 per cent (47 L per tourist
per day) in hotels (Gössling, 2001).
Considerably different results were presented by Smith,
Hargroves, Desha, and Stasinopoulos (2009) for hotels in Australia,
where major areas of water usage included guest rooms (42%), fol-
lowed by kitchens (16%), laundry (15%), public toilets (12%), cooling
towers (10%), irrigation (3%) and swimming pools (2%; no absolute
water use gures presented). Yet another study of two hotels in
Seattle, USA identied kitchens and public areas as the major factor
in water use, followedby guest showers, guest toilets, laundry, leaks,
cooling towers, guest oor ice and guest sinks (ONeill, Siegelbaum,
& the RICE Group, 2002). Finally, a study of water use in the Iberotel
Sarigeme Park hotel in Turkey found that kitchen and laundry
together constituted the largest water use (30 percent), followed by
swimming pools (20e25 per cent), and guest rooms (12 per cent)
(Antakyali, Krampe, & Steinmetz, 2008).
Deng and Burnett (2002) undertook a study of water use in
hotels in Hong Kong, assessing water use performance by using
a Water Use Index (WUI, m
), which is dened as the total
annual water consumption divided by the total oor area of a hotel.
The study found:
The WUIs varied signicantly from one hotel to another, the
maximum 7.7 m
and the minimum 2.1 m
, with the
average being 4.5 m
. This reects the diversied water use
situations in Hong Kong hotels.
The averaged WUI for the ten hotels with an in-house laundry
was signicantly higher (5.1 m
) than that for the other
seven hotels (3.6 m
The average WUI for ve-star hotels was 5.1 m
, and those
for four-star and three-star hotels were 4.1 and 3.3 m
respectively. This again conrms that higher-class hotels
consume more water than lower-class hotels.
3.2. Activities
Various tourist activities add to water use, with prominent
examples being golf and skiing where snowmaking is utilized. The
consumption of water by golf courses varies considerably,
depending on soils, climate and golf course size (Baillon & Ceron,
1991; Ceron & Kovacs, 1993; Throssell, Lyman, Johnson, Stacey, &
Brown, 2009). For instance, a standard golf course may have an
annual consumption of 80,000 m
e100,000 m
in the North of
France and 150,000 m
e200,000 m
in Southern France. Much
higher values can be found in dry and warm climates. For instance,
Van der Meulen and Salman (1996) report that an 18-hole golf
course in a Mediterranean sand dune system is sprinkled with
S. Gössling et al. / Tourism Management 33 (2012) 1e15 7
0.5e1 million m
of fresh water per year. In a large-scale study of
golf courses in the USA, Throssell et al. (2009) found annual water
use varied from an average of 52,000 m
in the Northeast to
566,000 m
in the desert states of the Southwest. Likewise,
snowmaking can be highly water intense. In France, for instance,
snowmaking accounted for 19 million m
of water use in 2007, of
which about 70 per cent is runoff (Badré, Prime, & Ribière, 2009).
Snowmaking in the US in 2004/05 was estimated to use approxi-
mately 60 million m
(Scott et al., 2011), but could be substantially
higher as the assumptions used in the analysis were conservative.
Convention, event and attractions infrastructure can add to
water demand (e.g. Meyer & Chaffee, 1997; Sebake & Gibberd,
2008; Zaizen, Urakawa, Mutsumoto, & Takai, 2000). For example,
a study of the Millennium Dome in London indicated that in 2000,
each of the six million visitors used about 22 L of water, 48 per cent
of this for toilet ushing, 32 per cent for cleaning and canteen use,
13 per cent for hand washing, and 7 per cent for urinal ushing
(Hills, Briks, & McKenzie, 2002).
3.3. Infrastructure
Although there is insufcient research of water within the life-
cycle of tourism infrastructure, Roselló-Batie, Molá, Cladera, and
Martinez (2010) report that the use and construction of buildings
are responsible for 17 per cent of water consumption worldwide. In
a life cycle analysis of three hotels in the Balearic Islands they found
that water accounted for about 5 per cent of the total mass of the
construction materials. According to Low (2005), concrete is the
second most consumed material in the world after water, with Van
Oss and Padovani (2003) estimating that the annual worldwide
water consumption for cement hydration is approximately one
billion m
of water. Tourisms contribution to this is likely to be
substantial given that the major end uses of concrete are residential
buildings (31 per cent), highways and roads (26 per cent) and
industrial and commercial buildings (18 per cent) with increasing
second home ownership being a signicant driver of increased
demand in building materials (Low, 2005).
3.4. Fuel use
As outlined by UNESCO (2009) energy and water use are inter-
linked, as water is needed for energy production (e.g. thermo-
electric cooling, hydropower, minerals extraction and mining, fuel
production, emission controls). Energy is also used for water
production (pumping, transport, treatment, desalination). In
particular fuel production is water-intense, with the Worldwatch
Institute (2004) reporting that it takes 18 L of water to produce
1 L of gasoline. As air travel entails an average energy consumption
of 4.1 L of fuel per passenger for every 100 km of ight distance
(UNWTOeUNEPeWMO 2008), the average international air-based
tourist trip over 7600 km (return distance) would consequently
lead to embodied, virtualwater use of 5600 L. This would be
equivalent of the direct water use associated with a stay in a higher-
standard resort hotel over a 14-day period (at 400 L per tourist per
Biofuels, currently seen by industry as having the greatest
potential for providing sustainable fuels, in particular for air trans-
port (e.g. IATA, 2009), will also increase water use. For instance,
UNESCO (2009: 11) reports that 44 km
or 2 per cent of all irrigation
water are already allocated to biofuel production, with the realiza-
tion of all current national biofuel policies and plans requiring an
additional 180 km
of irrigation water. Water use for the production
of bioethanol from sugarcane, corn, sugar beet, wheat and sorghum
tripled between 2000 and 2007, and production of biodiesel from
oil- and tree-seeds such as rapeseed, sunower, soybean, palm oil,
coconut and jatropha even increased 11-fold between 2000 and
2007. The production of 1 L of liquid biofuels currently takes on
global average 2500 L of water. Most of these biofuels are consumed
in the European Union, the United States and Brazil, now including
23 per cent of maize production in the US (ethanol production) or 47
per cent of vegetable oil produced in the EU (biodiesel) - and
necessitating higher imports of vegetable oil to meet domestic
consumption needs. Yet, biodiesel accounts for only 3 per cent of
fuel use in the European Union so far (UNESCO, 2009).
3.5. Food
Considerable amounts of water are also embodied in food
consumption. UNESCO (2009) reports, for instance, that depending
on local climate, cop varieties and agricultural practices, it takes
400e2000 L of water to produce 1 kg of wheat or 1000 to 20,000 L
of water to produce one kg of meat, depending on animal, feed and
management. Based on these gures, it is estimated that daily
water requirements to support human diets range from 2000 to
5000 L of water per person per day, with an estimate of 1 L of water
for 1 kcal of food. Of importance in the context of tourism is the fact
that tourists may consume a greater share of higher-order, protein-
rich foods with greater water footprints, while also requiring
additional energy for transport by air over large distances, for
instance in the case of small islands (Gössling Garrod, Aall, Hille, &
Peeters, 2011). In conclusion, a 14-day holiday may involve water
use for food exceeding 70 m
of water.
Overall, water use in tourism can be considerable, and higher
than currently assumed in the literature. As shown in Table 3,
indirect water use is likely to be more relevant than direct uses,
within particular food consumption and fuel use constituting
important consumption categories ealso because a higher share of
this water use appears to be consumptive, i.e. lost to regional water
cycles and unavailable for re-use, for instance as grey water.
Moreover, Table 3 reveals that overall water use embodied in
a holiday will vary considerably, depending in particular on hotel
standard, distance to the destination, as well as the type and
amount of food consumed. These results would indicate that water
management in tourism should look beyond direct water use, and
have a close look at sustainablesolutions currently seen as
promising, such as the greater use of biofuels in global transports.
4. Further aspects of tourism and water consumption
The following sections examine in more detail three important
aspects of the sustainability of global tourism-related water use,
including i) spatial and temporal aspects of water use, ii) changes in
water quality, and iii) competing water uses.
The worlds major tourism ows occur between six regions,
North America, the Caribbean, Northern and Southern Europe,
North East Asia and South East Asia (WTO, 2003). Of the 715 million
international tourist arrivals in 2002, 58 per cent took place within
Table 3
Water use categories and estimated use per tourist per day.
Water use category edirect L per tourist per day
Accommodation 84e2000
Activities 10e30
Water use category - indirect L per tourist per day
Infrastructure n.a.
Fossil fuels 750 (per 1000 km by air/car)
Biofuels 2500 (per 1 L)
Food 2000e5000
Total per tourist per day Estimated range: 2000e7500
S. Gössling et al. / Tourism Management 33 (2012) 1e158
Europe, 16 per cent in North and South East Asia and 12 per cent in
North America. Together they represent 86 per cent of all interna-
tional tourist arrivals. Within sub-regions, about 87 per cent of all
international arrivals in Europe are from Europe itself (some 350
million arrivals), while 71 per cent of international arrivals are
regionally in the Americas (92 million), and 77 per cent in the Asia
Pacic region (88 million). Six major tourist ows characterize
international travel: Northern Europe to the Mediterranean (116
million), North America to Europe (23 million), Europe to North
America (15 million), North East Asia to South East Asia (10 million),
North East Asia to North America (8 million) and North America to
the Caribbean (8 million).
Because tourists use more water when on holiday, here esti-
mated at an average of 300 L per day (direct water use), than at
home (160 L per day), tourism increases global water use; an
argument also supported by Eurostat (2009: 16):
Water consumption by hotels is far higher than household
consumption, due largely to the collective consumption of water
in hotels (watering of gardens that must be kept attractive, daily
cleaning of rooms, lling of swimming pools, kitchen and above
all, doing the laundry). Furthermore, holidaymakers have
apleasureapproach to the shower or bath and generally use
more water than they would normally.
Furthermore, each tourist travelling to another region increases
water use in the destination, while there is possibly a concomitant
reduction of water use at home (Gössling, 2005). Fig. 2 indicates
that tourism causes water use shifts from water-rich to water-poor
areas at large continental scales (shifts from Northern to Southern
Europe, shifts from Europe and North America to the Caribbean),
but possibly also at regional scales (e.g. shifts to coastal zones, cf.
Eurostat, 2009). Given the limited understanding of water use in
various regions, as well as actual reductions at home, the actual
geographic changes in water use because of tourism remain
somewhat uncertain.
Exacerbating these ndings is that tourists may often arrive
during the dry season, when rainfall drops to a minimum and water
availability is restricted (e.g. Eurostat, 2009; Gössling, 2001; WWF,
2004). For instance, in the French Départment of Charente-
Maritime, water use is reported to be 126 per cent higher on the
coast and 260 per cent higher in the islands of Ré and Oléron in
July/August than on annual average (IFEN, 2000). Strong season-
ality in combination with arrival peaks during dry season might
thus put considerable strain on available water resources, particu-
larly in generally dry regions. This interrelationship is shown in
Fig. 3 for Zanzibar, Tanzania where tourist arrivals are highest when
rainfall drops to a minimum. This is the period when most water is
needed by the tourist industry and recharge of the aquifers through
rain is lowest. Similar relationships between water scarcity and
tourist arrival peaks have been found in the Mediterranean
(Eurostat, 2009).
While overall water use thus increases in the dry season, per
capita water use is likely to decline, as there are water uses that
have to be maintained irrespective of guest numbers (gardens,
cleaning, pools). A distinction between xed and variable water
use, the latter referring to water use that is related to occupancy
rates (taking showers, toilet use, laundry), thus appears to be
meaningful. Fig. 4 exemplies water consumption and occupation
rate ratios of hotels in Tunisia, indicating that higher occupation
rates reduce averaged water consumption rates per tourist per day.
Similar relationships were also found by Antakayali et al. (2008),
who found considerably higher water use per guest occurred in low
Fig. 2. Tourism-related shifts in global water use. Source: Gössling (2005)
S. Gössling et al. / Tourism Management 33 (2012) 1e15 9
occupancy periods. In early summer months water use per guest
exceeds 1000 L per guest per day, dropping to 400 L when occu-
pancy rates are high.
Given these ndings, a last concern is whether tourism-related
water abstractions are sustainable, and whether these interfere
with other uses or users. Where tourism-related fresh water
demand is signicant, the sector can add considerable pressure on
available fresh water resources, particularly when these are
concentrated in regions with few or no fossil water resources, low
aquifer renewal rates, and few or no surface water sources, such as
many coastal zones and islands (e.g. Gössling, 2002b; Rodriguez
Diaz, Knox, & Weatherhead, 2007). In such areas, tourism-related
water consumption may also compete with local demands. For
instance, weighted average water use in villages on the east coast of
Zanzibar was found to be in the order of 48 L per capita per day,
whereas weighted average water use in accommodation in this area
was 685 L per tourist per day (Gössling, 2001). Similar gures
indicating higher water use by tourists than residents have also
been reported for Lanzarote, Spain, where tourist water consump-
tion is four times that of residents (Medeazza, 2004). Second home
tourism has also been recognised as placing pressure on water
supplies and water quality, potentially leading to conicts between
permanent residents and temporary visitors (Medina, 1990; Müller,
Hall, & Keen, 2004). In a study of Mayne Island, British Columbia,
Thompson (2008) found that permanent residents perceived that
seasonal second home residents were decreasing the availability
and sustainability of water resources (Langumier & Ricou, 1995).
Competition for water also occurs between economic sectors,
such as tourism and agriculture. In Spain, for instance, the value
added to water by tourism can be 60 times higher than in the
agricultural sector (Auernheimer & González, 2002; quoted in
Downward & Taylor, 2007), putting tourism in a position to
outcompete agriculture for water. Eurostat (2009: 9) reports that in
the Mediterranean summer high season, use conicts exist
between agriculture, hydro-electricity production and household
consumption, with tourist facilities sometimes being given priority
in the supply of water.
Even more serious can be water use conicts between countries.
The combination of growing populations, demands of water for
industry and tourism, and increasingly unpredictable water supply
combined with pre-existing political and religious tensions makes
the Middles East eIsrael, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt,
and parts of Lebanon and Syria especially vulnerable to water
security issues (Hall, Timothy, & Duval, 2004; Lipchin, Pallant,
Saranga, & Amster, 2007):
The water question is crucial in Israel, where water resources are
particularly scarce. The massive use of surface water pumped
from the Sea of Galilee has considerable environmental and
social impacts, such as drying up of the Jordan and the Dead Sea,
and tensions with neighbouring Jordan, which also depends on
this resource (Eurostat, 2009: 21).
Even though not investigated in further detailin this article, a nal
aspect of relevance is tourismsinuence on water quality. Tourism
can contribute to improvements in water quality, for instance when
sewage treatment systems are built that can also process so far
untreated local wastewater, or when municipalities decide to build
treatment systems to improve local water quality to meet tourist
expectations of pristine environmental conditions. However, in most
regions,tourism appears to contribute to declining water quality. One
region where the lack of sewage treatment systems is well docu-
mented is the Mediterranean. Scoullos (2003) reports that only 80
per cent of the efuent of residents and tourists in the Mediterranean
is collected in sewage systems with the remainder being discharged
directly or indirectly into thesea or to septic tanks. However, only half
of the sewage networks are actually connected to wastewater treat-
ment facilities with the rest being discharged into the sea. The United
NationsEnvironment Programme Mediterranean ActionPlan Priority
Actions Programme (UNEP/MAP/PAP, 2001) estimated that 48 per
cent of the largest coastal cities (over 100,000 inhabitants) have no
sewage treatment systems, 10 per cent possess a primary treatment
system, 38 per cent a secondary system and only four per cent
a tertiarytreatment system (Hall, 2006). Anecdotalevidence suggests
that the direct discharge of wastewater from coastal towns and
resorts into the sea is also practiced in many other countries outside
the European Union, and in particular small island states (Hlavinek,
Winkler, Marsalek, & Mahrikova, 2011). While this is not directly
relevant to fresh water quality, tourism can thus contribute to
a decline in the environmental assets it is dependent upon elost
opportunities to apply for a Blue Flag beach- or similar beach and
seawater quality label could be an example of this.
The amounts of sewage and wastewater generated by tourism
can be large, as tourism is usually concentrated in comparably small
areas. For instance, Chan (2005) reported that the Hong Kong hotel
sector generated more than 12 million m
of sewage in 2003. Data
provided by Antakyali et al. (2008) for Turkey suggests that
approximately 40 to 50 per centof the supplied water was returned
to the sewer system. Tourism wastewater contains nutrients, as
well as chlorinated swimming pool water and chemicals used to
dissolve fats and oils (Kuss, Graefe, & Vaske, 1990;Lazarova, Hills, &
Birks, 2003). Its impact on ecosystems will depend on concentra-
tions, ocean conditions, and currents, but nutrient discharges are
particularly critical in the tropics, where coastal watersare typically
oligotrophic (DElia & Wiebe, 1990). Positive changes in nutrient
content trigger increased primary production and growth of
Apri l
Ju ne
Ju ly
Aug ust
Precipitation (mm)
Tourist arrivals
Fig. 3. Water availability and tourist arrivals in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Source: Gössling
Fig. 4. Water consumption and occupation rate of hotels in Tunisia. Source: Eurostat
S. Gössling et al. / Tourism Management 33 (2012) 1e1510
macroalgae, with potentially negative consequences for ecosystems
and tourism activities (e.g. Englebert, McDermott, & Kleinheinz,
2008; Tomascik & Sander, 1986).
In summarizing the above ndings, tourism is only relevant in
a few countries as a signicant factor in national water use. The
volumes abstracted by the sector are usually dwarfed by water use in
agriculture and industry. However, the situation can be dramatically
different when water demand is concentrated in time and space, and
when trends in water consumption are considered. Further, water
demand is likely to increase in the future due to climate change and
its consequences for water availability, and increasing water use due
to growth in tourist arrivals, higher average per tourist water
consumption, and more water-intense activities. Tourisms contri-
bution to water use should thus be assessed critically at the desti-
nation level, where it may often be a signicant factor in water (over)
use. Globally, indirect water use in tourism is likely to be more
relevant than direct water use and deserves more attention in the
future. Overall, results would call for water management measures
to be implemented on a broad basis in tourism, particularly in dry
regions. The role of climate change in exacerbating water scarcity in
some regions may be considered in this context as well.
5. Water management
Previous sections have shown that the impact of tourism on fresh
water availability and quality is dependent on a wide range of factors,
such as the relative abundance and quality of water in the respective
tourismregion, current and anticipated future waterabstraction rates
and the share of non-consumptive versus consumptive uses, the
seasonal and spatial character of water abstraction, competing uses,
and the treatment of sewage and wastewater. This means thatlocal or
regional water capacity assessments and water use audits are needed
to understand and put in perspective the role of tourism as a poten-
tially unsustainable agent in water use (for assessments see e.g.
Bohdanowicz & Martinac, 2007; ONeill, Siegelbaum, & the RICE
Group 2002;Cooley et al., 2007). Once such audits have detailed
water consumption by use category, recommendations can be made,
which businesses and local water agencies can implement within the
framework of regional water use plans.
Currently, water use inventories are usually not available for
destinations (regions or countries), even though they are an
important precondition for water management (Eurostats, 2009).
In adding complexity, effects of climate change can be modelled for
regions and integrated in water use scenarios to identify suitable
strategies to deal with water stress in the future (for an example see
Kent, Newnham, & Essex, 2002;Essex, Kent, & Newnham, 2004).
Depending on outcomes, destination managers and tourism
stakeholders can re-consider their business plans, including
perspectives on (emerging) politics. For instance, in the European
Union, water abstraction for golf courses will become increasingly
regulated through national policy implementation of the European
Water Framework Directive (European Union, 2000). Generally,
water management can be based on two strategies, i.e. demand
side management (reducing water use), and supply side manage-
ment (increasing water provisions) (Bates et al., 2008).
5.1. Demand side management
All tourist facilities can save substantial amounts of water. For
instance, Cooley et al. (2007) estimate that hotels can reduce indoor
water consumption by 30 per cent by installing water-efcient
xtures. There is even greater potential to reduce outdoor water
demand. Somewhat lower estimates of efciency gains are provided
in ONeill, Siegelbaum and the RICE Group (2002), suggesting
average reduction potentials of 10e20 per cent, though up to 45 per
cent in individual hotels. A number of specic measures as dis-
cussed in the literature are presented in the following.
5.1.1. Gardens
Where irrigation is an important factor in water use, land-
scaping can considerably reduce irrigation needs. For instance,
Smith et al. (2009) suggest that minimising water consumption in
landscaping can conserve 30e50 per cent of water. Measures
include installation of water metres to monitor water use, selection
of drought resistant plants and grasses, mulching of garden beds to
reduce evaporation, installation of drip irrigation systems with
electronic controllers and moisture sensors, and the use of rain or
grey water for irrigation. In many locations use of indigenous plants
for landscaping purposes along with appropriate garden designs
may reduce the need to irrigate altogether (Carmody, 2007; Harris
& Varga, 1995; Thompson, 2008).
5.1.2. Pools
Pools can be responsible for considerable water consumption,
and the most important measure is consequently to reduce their
size and to avoid large pool-landscapes when designing hotels.
Likewise, fountains, waterfalls or other features increasing evapo-
ration should be avoided. Pool night covers can reduce evaporation
in hot climates, while drainage barriers can collect overows and
direct them back to the pool (Smith et al., 2009). For energy- and
water conservation details regarding heating, ventilation and air-
conditioning (HVAC), cooling towers, laundry and other aspects of
water use see e.g. Gössling et al. (2011), ONeill & Siegelbaum and
the RICE Group (2002), Smith et al. (2009), and Cooley et al. (2007).
5.1.3. Guest rooms
In tourism facilities and accommodation guest rooms, toilets,
showerheads and faucet ow restrictors can be replaced with
efcient ones. Given the proportion of water use related to toilet
ushing, the use of dual ush, reduced ush and dry composting
toilets can signicantly reduce water usage (Carmody, 2007;
Kavanagh, 2002; Thompson, 2008). For instance, the most ef-
cient toilets can use as little as 1 L for a miniush, compared to up
to 12 L for older models. It is also possible to use recycled water to
ush toilets and urinals (Hills et al., 2002; Lazarova et al., 2003).
Efcient and low ow showerheads can use less than 7 L per
minute, compared to 13 L used by older ones. Faucet ow restrictors
can reduce water consumption by half to 2.5 L per minute (e.g.
ONeill, Siegelbaum, & the RICE Group, 2002). Usually, these
changes will be highly economical (Table 4).
5.1.4. Kitchens
Kitchens use water for washing and preparing food, thawing
food and cleaning dishes. Changing cooking practices, use of ef-
cient dishwashers and pre-rinse spray valves with smaller nozzles
to achieve higher water velocity, use of boiler less food steamers
and efcient ice-makers, as well as ow control regulators at sinks
and basins can signicantly reduce water use while being highly
economical (Smith et al., 2009).
5.1.5. Activities
Golf courses can engage in soil moisture measurements to control
and optimize water use (Rodriguez Diaz et al., 2007), reduce irriga-
tion in excess of what the turf needs; consider specic playing surface
requirements (Balogh & Walker, 1992); reduce playing surfaces, i.e.
return to smaller greens and more narrow fairways, accept fairways
and greens that pitchless; change turf species to less water
demanding or salt tolerant ones (Ceron & Kovacs, 1993); use grey
water or treated water for irrigation, and stop watering altogether
when and where it is notindispensable (Ceron,1990;Hawtree,1983).
S. Gössling et al. / Tourism Management 33 (2012) 1e15 11
Treated wastewater can also be used for watering parks and gardens
as well as snowmaking (Tonkovic & Jeffcoat, 2002).
5.1.6. Management
Management can focus on educational programmes for staff,
and informative signs on how to save water, addressing tourists.
Measuring water consumption and establishing benchmarks
(Table 5) can help to better understand consumption patterns. With
regard to indirect water use, destinations can seek to reduce
average travel distances and to increase the average length of stay,
as well as to consider the choice of foods offered. Water-saving
measures will also help to reduce sewage, for which treatment
with closed organic matter ow cycles should be the standard
(Appasamy, 1993). Greater use of recycled water for non-potable
uses is also a way of reducing pressure on water supplies and is
attracting increased interest from water management authorities
and tourism businesses (Gikas & Tchobanoglous, 2009a, 2009b;
Hills et al., 2002; Lazarova et al., 2003).
Overall, reducing water use will usually be economical. Fortuny,
Soler, Cánovas, & Sánchez (2008) show, for instance, that many
water-saving technologies such as ow limiters on tapsand showers,
or lavatory cisterns with reduced ush options have short payback
times between 0.1 and 9.6 years, making them economically
attractive(see also Table 4). However, as pointedout by Prettenthaler
and Dalla-Via (2007), low water costs are a potential barrier to
action, which have, for instance, been quantied at 0.6 per cent of
turnover in Steiermark, Austria (Prettenthaler & Dalla-Via, 2007)or
1.6per cent of turnover in Morocco (Eurostat, 2009). This needs to be
considered in water politics, which may focus on steering
consumption through increases in costs, and where considerable
increases in water prices may be demanded to raise awareness and
to engage stakeholders pro-actively in water-saving measures.
5.1.7. Supply side management
Various technical options are available to increase available water
capacities. For instance, prospectingand extracting groundwater can
supply additional water in situations where sufcient water
resources are available while further attention can be given to using
recycled water for non-potable urban uses such as toilet ushing
(Lazarova et al., 2003). In the case of small islands, this may also
include water abstraction from further inland, and distribution to
coastal zones through pipelines (e.g. Bates et al., 2008; Gössling,
2001). However, groundwater is extremely vulnerable to water
pollution as a result of poor sewage and water treatment infra-
structure, while many coastal aquifers are also increasingly vulner-
able to salinication as a result of sea-level rise often associated with
ground subsidence, itself due to excessive use of groundwater.
Reservoirs and dams can increase storage capacities for areas or
entire regions, while rainwater storage in cisterns can be a viable
alternative for smaller hotels. Where only limited amounts of water
are used, sealed plant beds can be used to remove nutrients from
wastewater (cf. Gössling et al., 2011:140e141). Desalination and
wastewater reuse have been advocated as the best technological
alternatives for arid region destinations such as Lis Cabos, Baja Cal-
ifornia Sur, Mexico (Pombo, Brecada, & Aragón, 2008).
Desalination might currently be the most widely considered
option to enhance water resources, but it increases energy
consumption and, in many areas not connected to the national grid,
the dependence on imports of fuels to run generators, leading to
considerable additional emissions of greenhouse gases. Desalination
is also costly, and can involve energy use of 3e
12.5 kWh of electricity,
corresponding to emissions of 1e10 kg CO
per m
of water, with
lower values referring to state-of-the-art desalination plants (Gude,
Nirmalakhandan, & Deng, 2010;Sadhwani & Veza, 2008). Some
forms of desalination, such as distillation, can even involve energy
use of 25e200 kWh of electricity per m
(Black & King, 2009). Gude
et al. (2010) argue that using renewable energy sources for desali-
nation may not always be economical, particularly when involving
small-scale installations, while combined grid-renewable energy
plants can produce freshwater with lower emissions and at
competitive costs. Bermudez-Contreras, Thomson, and Ineld (2008)
consider renewable energy powered desalination systems as
economically viable in water-scarce areas (for costs see also
Kavanagh, 2002).
More generally, the costs of dealing with current and future
water demands under serious climate change scenarios are likely to
be considerable. Downward and Taylor (2007), for instance, report
that meeting southern Spains anticipated water requirements of
an additional 1.063 billion m
per year will cost V3.8 billion. In
Australia, actual and anticipated payments for national water
initiatives, treatment plants to supply recycled water, pipelines and
drought aid payments to communities will total US$4.75 billion in
the period 2001e2015 (Bates et al., 2008). Globally, Parry et al.
(2009a) estimate that dealing with water scarcity because of
climate change will cost an additional US$9e11 billion per year.
While Parry et al. (2009a) emphasise that this is likely to be an
under-estimate of the costs for adaptation, it is worth noting that
the sum does not include costs to tourism-related lost assets such
as lakes, rivers and streams, lowering or loss of amenity values, or
deteriorating water quality (e.g. Blakemore & Williams, 2008;
Englebert et al., 2008; Oliveira & Pereira, 2008). Even if only
a share of these costs would fall on tourism, these would never-
theless advocate serious climate policy to curb emissions and
greater efforts in water management by businesses.
Table 4
Typical water-savings per guest room of a hotel in Australia.
Component Best Practice Existing
Saving per room Supply & installation
Description Payback Period
kL/year $/year
Showers 9 L/min
(AAA Rated)
15 L/min 28 $100 $50e$120 New showerhead, plus option
of ow control
Toilet 6/3 dual ush 11 L 17 $30 $400 New pan and cistern >5
Basin 6 L/min 12 L/min 5.3 1$5 $20e$40 Flow control in spout or in taps 1.3e2.6
Cleaning ee3.7 $10 0 Typical saving 0
Total: 54 $155 $470e$560 e0e2.6
Source: Sydney Water (2001), quoted in Smith et al. (2009)
Table 5
Benchmarks for hotel managers of the ACCOR group.
Per occupied
Per meal Gardens
(per m
Formule 1 0.14 n.a. 0.3
Etap 0.20 n.a. 0.3
Ibis 0.26 0.05 0.3
Mercure 0.34 0.08 0.3
Novotel 0.31 0.08 0.3
Sotel 0.58 0.15 0.3
Source: ACCOR (1998).
S. Gössling et al. / Tourism Management 33 (2012) 1e1512
As outlined, many tourism stakeholders are likely to perceive
adaptation to climate change as being lesscostly, given that they only
deal with direct operational costs. For instance, new seawater desali-
nation plants canproduce freshwater at costs as lowas V0.45eV0.52
per m
over the 15e20 year design life of the facility (Albiac et al.,
2003; cited in Downward & Taylor, 2007). This would indicate that
additional costs inwater scarce areas for providing even high levels of
water to tourists is not likely to act as an incentive for water conser-
vation in coastal areas, as per tourist per day costs may on average
increase by less than V1. Consequently, it is important for tourism
stakeholders to understand that the overall costs of inaction are far
greater than technical adaptation costs, because they may irreversibly
affect important tourist assets and create unstable socio-economic
situations in many parts of the world.
6. Discussion and concluding remarks
Tourism depends to a considerable degree on water, which is
both a resource needed to provide services related to basic human
needs, such as hygiene or food, as well as a precondition for fuel
production, and an asset essential for a wide range of tourist
activities, such as swimming in lakes or pools, or golf and winter
sports. Furthermore, water is a central element of tourism land-
scapes in various forms, from irrigated hotel gardens to white
winter landscapes, to lakes and streams embedded in park land-
scapes. Limited water availability, poor water quality or media
portrayal of a water crisis can consequently do great harm to the
image of tourism destinations (Hall, 2010; Hall & Stoffels, 2006).
In comparison to water use in other economic sectors, tourism is
usually less relevant, because in virtually all countries of the world,
agriculture dwarfs tourism-related water consumption. However, in
some countries, as well as regionally, tourism can be the main factor
in water consumption. In such areas, it can increase direct pressure
on already diminished water resources and compete with other
economic sectors as well as the subsistence needs of local pop-
ulations (Thiel, 2010). In addition, tourism can also contribute to
a decline in downstream or destination water quality and potable
water supplies as a result of poor or no treatment of wastewater,
which then enters aquifers and the water system (Dillon, 1997;
Kocasoy, Mutlu, & Aylin Zeren Alagöz, 2008). Signicantly, in
a number of increasingly water-scarce regions such as the Mediter-
ranean, the concentration of tourism in time and space as a result of
seasonal tourist demand, can place enormous pressures on domestic
and industrial water supplies as well as wastewater infrastructure,
often at a period when they are least able to cope. Such situations
also highlight the importance of analysing tourisms water demands
at an appropriate temporal and spatial scale rather than just relying
on assessments conducted on an annual or national basis.
Results provided in this article suggest that direct water use in
tourism is anything from 80 to 2000 L per tourist per day, with
a tendency for larger, resort-style hotels to use signicantly more
water than smaller, less luxurious establishments. Depending on
geographical location and environmental and/or climate conditions,
the main water-consuming factors are irrigated gardens, swimming
pools, spa and wellness facilities, as well as golf courses, followed by
cooling towers (where used), guest rooms and kitchens. However,
while direct water use is more relevant for water management in
the destination, indirect water use is responsible for a greater
contribution to the overall amount of water used. In particular, food
and fuel production have been shown to have comparably large
water footprints: transport to the destination alone can more than
double direct water use. Food is, perhaps, the most relevant factor in
water use, though people eat whether they travel or not, and the
addition tourism makes to water use through the consumption of
higher-order food is not as yet identied.
Given the global growth in tourism, the trend towards higher-
standard accommodation and more water-intense activities, which
are likely to coincide with changes in the global climate system
leading to declining water resources in many regions, pressure on
water resources and related water conicts are bound to increase in
many destinations. As a consequence, tourism development in many
areas of the world may become less sustainable or no longer feasible.
This may be due to foregone opportunities to carry out certain
tourism activities, declining water levels or lack of fresh water
availability, costs associated with provisions of fresh water, or
declining water quality. Impacts will ultimately depend on several
factors, including the relative scarcity of fresh water in tourism areas,
also with regard to seasonal aspects, competition with other
economic sectors such as agriculture (e.g. Downward & Taylor, 2007),
institutional contexts such as water policies, as well as the structure
of the water industry (protorsocialbene
ts) and of the tourist
industry (small guesthouses or large resort hotels). Such situations
will clearly require a more integrated approach to tourisms role in
water management at a catchment level than what has hitherto been
the case (Hall & Härkönen, 2006; Matias, Gago, & Boavida, 2008).
Furthermore, the increasing competition between tourism and other
users, including the water rights and the food and water security of
local people in a number of destinations raises fundamental ques-
tions about the ethics and politics of water access.
In order to adapt to inevitable changes in water availability, as
well as to mitigate its own contribution to climate change and its
pressure on limited water resources, tourism needs to engage in
energy and water management, focusing on policy (e.g. compliance
with national greenhouse gas reduction goals, building codes,
measurement and charging of water consumption), management
(e.g. including measuresto reducewater use, treat sewage and reuse
water), research and development (e.g. to implement renewable
energy-driven desalination; understanding the religious, philo-
sophical and ethical issues of wastewater recycling and reuse), as
well as education and behavioural change to encourage tourists and
staff to engage in water-saving measures.
Even though a clear picture of the overall costs associated with
unsustainable water use in tourism still has to emerge, it seems
beyond doubt that most of the measures that can reduce water use
are economical and that investments to ensure sustainable water
use will help to secure a future for tourism. In the same way that life
cycle analysis is beginning to investigate the full energy and
emissions impacts of tourism infrastructure and transportation, so
it also needs to be conducted with water consumption. Investments
in sustainable technologies and water conservation management
are thus key strategies to be pursued. However, it is likely that
strong policy environments are required to achieve this, including
the expanded use of economic incentives and appropriate water
pricing to encourage water conservation. This is because the
tourism industry is not likely to make water use a key priority by
itself, given the low cost of water in comparison to other opera-
tional costs.
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... Toth et al. [6] demonstrated that the gathering of tourists and certain water-consuming activities in both time and space will increase the pressure of local water supply. Tourism needs more fresh water not only for flushing toilets, replenishing swimming pools, and maintaining green space of hotels and attractions, but also for making high-grade food and producing fuel [7]. Many scholars even conclude that tourists consume two or three times as much water as local residents [8]. ...
... During the sample period, water use for tourism in Xinjiang exceeded 10 m 3 per capita per day. Apart from practitioners, each tourist consumed 12.27 m³ every day in 2019, much higher than 2-7.5 m³ proposed by Gössling et al. [7]. The reason is that Xinjiang's per capita water consumption is about five times that of the national level, due to its high water consumption rate for social and economic development. ...
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The concept of green development requires that tourism development should be constrained by water and energy. This paper first constructed the calculation model of tourism water supply (TWS) based on water resources, economy, population, and employment. Second, according to the tourism life cycle theory, the energy-related water footprint account was built and combined with energy and water consumption, to realize water-energy dual constraints. Then, a suitability model between TWS and tourism water footprint (TWF) was established. Last, this paper predicted the growth rate of tourists in Xinjiang under the “suitability” state between TWS and TWF. Results show that in a future emergency-free setting, the average annual growth rate of tourists must be below 9.63% to maintain the “suitability” state, and in the context of emergencies damaging public health or socio-economic stability, the average annual growth rate may rise to 12.79%. In any scenario, the cap on tourist numbers in Xinjiang should be around 1.326 billion person-days in 2025, in line with the government’s planning goal. Last, this paper proposed suggestions to advance the green development of tourism from three angles: strengthening water conservation policies, promoting digital tourism, and setting multiple environmental monitoring mechanisms.
... Although manufacturing is still the main contributor for carbon emission [3], this paradox has resulted in a sharp increase in fossil energy consumption caused by the booming tourism development, becoming an important incentive for climate change. The greenhouse gas emissions of China's tourism industry also show a growing trend [4][5][6]. The damage to the ecological environment becomes an inescapable obstacle to the development of sustainable tourism. ...
... The bottom-up method refers to the summation of carbon emissions and energy consumption from various sub-sectors in the tourism industry, while the up-bottom approach mainly relies on tourism satellite accounts that evaluate carbon emissions and energy consumption from the total level. Since China has not established a national-or regional-level greenhouse gas emission monitoring system, this paper employed the bottom-up method to measure the CO 2 emissions and energy consumption of the tourism industry by dividing it into three sub-sectors (tourism transport, tourism accommodation, and tourism activities), then estimated energy consumption and carbon emissions for each sub-sector [4] . According to Shi et al. (2011), the specific method is as follows [39]. ...
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The environmental impact of carbon emissions and the carbon footprint from tourism activities are significant for promoting low-carbon development in the tourism industry. This paper employed a bottom-up approach to estimate the carbon footprint and energy consumption of China’s tourism industry. Then, the three-stage undesirable SBM-DEA model was employed to evaluate and decompose the eco-efficiency of China’s provincial tourism industry from 2008 to 2017. The results showed that the eco-efficiency of most provinces has experienced a slight increase during the past ten years, while management inefficiency within the tourism industry has been the main restriction of the utilization of tourism resources in most regions. The decomposition and quadrant analysis indicated that scale efficiency was the direct driver of the poor ecological performance in Northeast China, while technical efficiency dominated the tourism eco-efficiency in South-Central China. These two issues have together led to the poor utilization of the rich tourism resources and the natural environment in Southwest China. On the basis of these discussions, differentiated policy implications towards different kinds of regions were provided to promote low-carbon development and to realize the potential of tourism resources in China’s tourism industry.
... Although usually higher than that of permanent residents, water consumption by tourism is strongly influenced by the tourist modality as well as location. Gössling et al. (2012) estimated wide variations of consumption, ranging from 84 l person -1 day -1 for campsites in Spain to close more than 2,000 l person -1 day -1 in hotels in Thailand. A correspondence between hotel category and water consumption has been found with establishments in upper categories consuming more water than establishments in lower categories (Gössling et al. 2015;Rico et al. 2020) but hotel-based tourism shows also less consumption per capita than residential tourism based on house rentals (Rico-Amoros et al. 2009). ...
... High water use is related to the presence of outdoor amenities such as lawns, swimming pools or golf courses (Gössling et al. 2015). In the Mediterranean, small insular states dedicate a significant part of their total water supply to tourism (5% in Cyprus and more than 7% in Malta) while in the large countries, tourism represents at the most 1% of total water use at the country level but sometimes 5% or more of domestic use (Gössling et al. 2012). ...
... Research has shown that employees' environmental behavior is affected by personal and organizational factors [28,30,31]. Sandvik et al. (2011) [32] point to the impact of oversight support on employee "ecological initiatives" and environmental policies. ...
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In the field of tourism, casino hotels consume considerable energy and water resources. They differ from general hotels due to their specific features; consequently, the environmental practices of casino hotels differ from those of general hotels. Thus, the application of a general hotel’s environmental management system (EMS) to a casino hotel is not suitable. To this end, in this study we developed an EMS for green casino hotels in Macau. We selected the casino hotel EMS indicators from ISO 14000 and nine representative green hotel evaluation systems. We additionally employed the Delphi method to determine the preliminary EMS evaluation framework. Based on our findings, indicators in 10 dimensions were identified and prioritized according to their relative importance and feasibility. The EMS developed in this study provides management suggestions for governments, hoteliers, and consumers to improve environmental management.
... Yanchi county was awarded as the demonstration area for all-for-one tourism in 2021. Tourism will increase the water demand and in particular the fresh water resources when drinking, washing, using the toilet, and maintaining the landscape [48]. ...
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Water scarcity limits the coordination between economic development and ecological protection of arid regions. This study presented the consumption pattern and future challenges for water resources and proposed sustainable use strategies for water security in Yanchi county from the arid region of northwest China. Our results showed that water withdrawals were close to the total available water resources. Agriculture consumed about 84.72% of the total water supply. Agricultural water use was influenced by breeding stock, rural per capita net income and effective irrigation area. Estimation of agricultural water demand was about 6582.20 × 104 m3 under the rural revitalization scenario. Limited water supply and increased water demand pose challenges and impediments for rural revitalization and water security in Yanchi county. Water sustainable utilization can be achieved by increasing water supply from unconventional water resources and improving water use efficiency with governmental management. These findings may help policymakers to develop sustainable water use strategies during rural revitalization in arid regions.
... There is strong evidence that tourists use considerably more water at their destination than they do when at home and compared with local inhabitants. 352 Water consumption in tourism is closely linked to energy and food production, and best addressed in accommodation facilities, where much of the consumption in tourism takes place. 353 To make water usage circular, the aim should be that all demand is covered by renewable water sources, including closed cycle usage. ...
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The seventh pan-European assessment reports on the state of the environment for the period until the end of 2021. It is intended to inform discussions and decision-making by ministers during the Ninth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference (Nicosia, 5–7 October 2022). It is the latest in a series of assessments dating back to 1995, with the last one having been presented to the Eighth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference (Batumi, Georgia, 8–10 June 2016). On that occasion, the assessment took the form of the regional assessment of the Global Environment Outlook. The assessment is the result of a collaboration between the secretariat of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in cooperation with numerous partner organizations and individual experts.
Destination strategies are central to the future development of tourism. They are typically created using a traditional management studies approach, characterized by an emphasis on growing visitor numbers along with varying commitments to sustainability. This article argues that this approach has significant shortcomings which present a research gap. To address this, the idea of critical tourism strategy is first further developed and then applied. Using a framework analysis based on critical tourism strategy, a sample of 17 English-language strategies is evaluated. The findings note many areas of good practice but also highlight important silences, omissions, and hidden biases. The conclusions advocate the widening of strategic horizons to deliver tourism guided by values as well as volumes.
Purpose The main stance of this paper is to draw an authentic and rigorous outlook in terms of the financial and operational performance of small lodging establishments (SLEs) and put forth achievable and practical economic solutions that demonstrate the relative effectiveness of the adopted measures. This paper also suggests practical solutions to help minimize SLEs' financial vulnerability to long-term crisis and to boost their resilience with relative measures by applying recovery revival strategies for this particular segment of the lodging industry. Design/methodology/approach The authors have picked a locally owned resort hotel in Central Florida area and structured a real-life, case study-based inductive approach that is purposeful and offers rich economic outlook and analysis for the entire lodging industry, especially for the resort-hotel type of accommodation facilities. The main reason for why they only focus on one company is that they can fully understand the financial effects of COVID-19 on resort type of hotels and layout countering strategies. To achieve paper objectives, they have implemented cost–benefit (C–B), break-even (B-E) analyses along with a sensitivity testing approach. Findings The most striking result was that during the state-mandated shutdown period in 2020, overhead and overall operational costs associated with room sales and revenues were very high during this period that shrank the contribution margin ratio for rooms CMRw (room) and eventually yielded high sales volumes to be achieved at the B-E points vs lower sales volumes with almost the same average daily rate (ADR) levels needed for the B-E levels. Research limitations/implications Future studies should specifically delve further into a portfolio of SLEs in the region or state or nation wise because the units comprising the SLEs might be too small to muster the changes required to bounce forward for the entire lodging industry in the world. Practical implications The resort's revenue re-optimization focus should center on financial re-benchmarking and business re-viability stress under different levels of shock scenarios. According to the different scenarios and calibrations for the ADRs, room nights, net present values (NPVs) of cash flows and profit margins derived from our main analyses, minimizing expenses and preserving cash would be the best key strategy for financial recovery during an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Originality/value It is obvious that the lodging, hospitality and tourism industry are the hardest-hit industries by the harsh and adverse effects of COVID-19. The effects of pandemic are differently shaped on operations in different industries and subsectors. Therefore, the operational and financial evaluation for the SLEs as the core and a catalyst in the entire lodging industry can shed a light on the strategic financial recovery procedures with broadly applicable real-life and endogenous capabilities and reasoning.
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This work proposes a novel indicator (HCWI) for evaluating water consumption efficiency in hotels. The indicator is built as a relative index that compares the current water consumption with an estimated minimum achievable value. To ensure the representativeness and applicability of the index, the evaluation of this water consumption baseline considers each water consumption micro-component individually and has been simplified, so it only requires fundamental characteristics of the hotel and those that are easy to identify and quantify. A value of the HCWI equal to one indicates the best water use efficiency that can be theoretically achieved with the technology available. On the contrary, larger values of the HWCI indicate high levels of water use inefficiency by the hotel. The applicability of the indicator is tested in six different hotels located in a touristic region in the north of Spain.
Snowmaking has been an integral part of the multi-billion-dollar ski industry in most regional markets for more than 20 years and is one of the most visible and widespread forms of climate adaptation in the tourism sector. Under accelerating climate change, snowmaking is projected to increase at most destinations - some substantially. Snowmaking has come under increasing criticism in recent years and branded by some scholars and ski industry observers as unsustainable and maladaptive as a climate change response. Using data on snowmaking from across the diverse US ski market, this study assesses snowmaking against multiple established criteria that define maladaptation. The analysis demonstrates that snowmaking is highly place-context specific, varying at the individual operator and regional market scales, and represents a continuum from successful (and sustainable) adaptation to maladaptation. Regions of the US where snowmaking is most likely to be maladaptive are identified (water insecure and carbon intense electricity grids). The framework highlights the importance of scale and a tourism system perspective when assessing (mal)adaptation and provides decision-makers with a tool to evaluate the compatibility of snowmaking with climate action plans at the destination and regional scale.
Integrated Water Resources Management and Security in the Middle East brings together diverse voices relating to the critical issue of water management in one of the world’s most politically volatile areas: the Middle East. The book brings together Palestinian, Israeli, Jordanian and international expert opinions on creating a holistic and comprehensive view of water management challenges and strategies in an area of conflict and resource scarcity. The book takes security studies to the next level beyond military preparedness to address the security implications of the most fundamental of resources, that of water. Indeed, the book delves deeply into the underlying ideological underpinnings of various water regimes and possible opportunities for new decision-making models and regional cooperation. This book serves an important place in the scholarly literature on this topic for its breadth of participants and perspectives and its concrete steps forward. It moves the academic discourse beyond pointing fingers and toward constructive solutions and dialogue.
Lakes are an essential element of some of the world's most popular tourism destinations. However, increased pressure from visitors and the tourism industry as well as from other, sometimes competing, land and water uses has made the sustainable development of lakes increasingly problematic. This book represents the first attempt to bring together some of the key elements of lake tourism within a single volume in order to present the urgent need for an integrated approach to lacustrine tourism systems management.The book presents comprehensive overviews of lake tourism including branding and marketing, visitor management and planning, historical and cultural dimensions, and environmental quality. The volume is international in scope with cases from Europe, North America and Oceania. The book concludes by noting that tourism needs to be established as a complimentary land and water use at a time when lakes and their watersheds are facing challenges in the form of climate and environmental change, increasing numbers of visitors as well as an overall increase in competing demands for water.