Water and tourism

Authored by: Michalis Hadjikakou , Jonathan Chenoweth , Graham Miller

The Routledge Handbook of Tourism and the Environment

Print publication date:  July  2012
Online publication date:  August  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415582070
eBook ISBN: 9780203121108
Adobe ISBN: 9781136325564


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This chapter examines the use of water in the tourism sector with the aim of highlighting how relevant the issue of water scarcity is to the sector. It should be obvious to tourism scholars that tourism development requires a reliable supply of good-quality water. What is less obvious is the extent to which tourism development is a major user of water and can contribute to water scarcity and water-quality impairment, with serious social, economic and environmental repercussions. In order to devise measures that can be used to promote the prudent use of water in the tourism sector, research is needed to further understand the scale and nature of the problem. Despite heightened academic and media interest in sustainable tourism in recent years, this has mostly concentrated on the contribution of carbon emissions from travel and accommodation to climate change, with the result that water use in the tourism sector remains a seriously understudied area (Gössling 2005).

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