Travel industry backs strong Paris climate deal


The cruise ship industry aims to cut CO2 emissions by 30 percent in the next 15 years. @bberwyn photo.

Airline industry committed to cutting CO2 emissions 50 percent by 2050

By Bob Berwyn

World travel leaders say they’re on board with efforts to finalize a meaningful global climate agreement at the ongoing COP21 talks in Paris.

Highlighting the economic opportunities that the travel industry creates, several major international organizations reiterated the industry’s commitment to contribute to fight climate change. Continue reading

Can the tourism industry de-carbonize?


Global travel and tourism account for 5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. @bberwyn photo.

Study says modest carbon tax could offset travel industry climate impacts

Staff Report

Offsetting the climate change impacts of tourism and travel won’t be easy — but it might not be as expensive as you think.

According to a new study by the University of Waterloo, the damaging effects of carbon dioxide emissions associated with tourism could be eliminated if travelers paid just $11 per trip, on average. Continue reading

How does ecotourism affect ecosystems?

Researchers urge caution as visitation to wildlife areas booms

A seal is far outnumbered by tourists on the shores of Paulet Island, along the Antarctic Peninsula. @bberwyn photo.

A seal is far outnumbered by tourists on the shores of Paulet Island, along the Antarctic Peninsula. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Ecotourism has been hailed as a sustainable economic driver and a force for environmental conservation, but a new report says we also need to account for the possible adverse effects of visitation to relatively wild spaces.

In a new report published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, researchers said all of those interactions between wild animals and friendly ecotourists eager to snap their pictures may inadvertently put some animals at greater risk of being eaten. Continue reading

Colorado launches new outdoor recreation industry office


Luis Benitez will head Colorado’s new Outdoor Recreation Industry Office.

‘I want to hear what people in small communities are doing and carry those stories to the highest level …’

FRISCO — Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry — from skiing and snowmobiling, to birdwatching and hunting — has become a powerful economic force in the last few decades.

By some accounts, the industry generates as much as $13 billion per year in consumer spending and drives the economy of many communities outside the urban Front Range corridor. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, the industry contributes $4.2 billion in wages and salaries in Colorado.

Now, Gov. John Hickenlooper says he wants to boost the industry’s role to an even higher profile by establishing a new Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, housed in the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Last week, Hickenlooper announced that Eagle County resident Luis Guillermo Benitez will head the new office’s efforts build the state’s outdoor recreation brand. Continue reading

National parks visitation sets all-time record in 2014

Park visitors spent more than $15 billion last year


Visitors enjoy the scenery at Colorado National Monument. bberwyn photo

Elk Rocky Mountain National Park

Elk along Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.  bberwyn photo

Staff Report

FRISCO — As the National Park Service nears its 100th anniversary, the parks it manages are more popular than ever. Visitation to national parks broke a long-standing record last year, with more than 292 million visits. The previous record was set in 1987.

“As the National Park Service strives to share a more inclusive and well-rounded version of the American story through the places we care for, it is gratifying to see more people than ever coming to their national parks to enjoy nature, learn about history, and spend time with their families,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. Continue reading

Environment: Shangri-La no more?


Study examines nexus of forest, tourism policies

Staff Report

FRISCO — It may be Shangri-La no more if centralized government policies from Beijing continue to supplant community based management schemes for the incredibly diverse temperate forests of China’s northwest Yunnan Province.

Dartmouth scientists found in a recent study that China’s anti-logging, conservation and ecotourism policies are accelerating the loss of old-growth forests in the region, which symbolizes the tensions associated with China’s economic transformation. Continue reading

Antarctica’s ice-free fringe needs more protection

Invasive species a huge threat to sparse ecosystems, scientists report


Tourists on Dundee Island hike past birds and pinnipeds. bberwyn photo


Tourists hiking on Deception Island. bberwyn photo

Staff Report

FRISCO — The tiny ice-free fringes of Antarctica are especially prone to ecosystem disruption, including invasive species, an Australian science team warned earlier this year after taking a close look at how human use is concentrated in those slivers of dry land.

Antarctica has over 40,000 visitors a year, and more and more research facilities are being built in the continent’s tiny ice-free area. Most of the Antarctic wildlife and plants live in the ice-free areas – and this is also where people most visit.

Most tour operators in Antarctica follow strict guidelines set to protect ecosystems, including at least basic decontamination procedures, but those measures might not be enough, especially as global warming makes ice-free zones more susceptible to invasive species. Continue reading


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