Potentials for reducing climate impact from tourism transport behavior
Journal article, 2021

Emissions of greenhouse gases from tourism transport are rising globally, with air transport accounting for the largest share. Although travel is not likely to decrease drastically, people could travel differently, and still have similar experiences. This study aims to map the emissions from air travel and analyse the theoretical potential for emissions reduction by changing transport mode and destinations, and the readiness potential for emissions reduction based on tourists’ stated readiness to change their travel behaviour. The theoretical potential was assessed by analysing alternative trips to closer destinations and using transport modes with lower emissions or through virtual meetings. The readiness potential was assessed by a survey designed to capture people’s stated readiness to change their behaviour. The results show a theoretical potential for an emissions reduction of 67%, while the readiness potential is 26%. About half of the readiness potential for reductions is from changing destination, while only a small share is from changing transport mode. This shows that, when accounting for people’s readiness to change behaviour, destination choice has a greater potential to reduce emissions compared to transport mode choice. This finding has implications for policy makers in designing policy measures to reduce emissions.


Anneli Kamb

Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Erik Lundberg

University of Gothenburg

Jörgen Larsson

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Jonas Nilsson

University of Gothenburg

Journal of Sustainable Tourism

0966-9582 (ISSN) 17477646 (eISSN)

Vol. 29 8 1365-1382

Innovationer för ett hållbart samhälle: miljö och transport 2016

VINNOVA (2016-03403), 2016-11-15 -- 2019-12-31.

Mistra sustainable consumtion - from niche to mainstream

The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra), 2018-01-01 -- 2019-12-31.

Region Västra Götaland (MN201700188), 2018-01-01 -- 2019-12-31.

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Economic Geography

Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified

Environmental Sciences



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