Tourism and Environmental Health in a Changing Climate Tunisia
EplerWood International is partnered with the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to review the broad environmental costs of managing tourism with a new project in Tunisia supported by the German cooperation agency, GIZ. The project will use the Paris Accord framework to assess how the tourism economy can be managed to mitigate factors which cause higher GHG emissions, such as energy, solid waste, waste water, and transportation. Data will be gathered for two destinations in Tunisia, Tozeur and Djerba as a pilot to test how well 1) the destinations can measure their total costs and impacts from tourism development 2) Plan for lowering costs per tourist and mitigate the rising costs of tourism consumption, 3) develop strategies for long term low impact tourism infrastructure to power the future of Tunisia.
The framework helps local governments measure consumption of resources related to tourism activities and monitor progress towards a selected set of environmental strategies. It is designed to go beyond operational impact and include broader systems, such as the vital natural resources that need to be protected to improve resilience to climate change impacts.
Local authorities will benefit in a number of ways. For example, the framework will:
Reveal the indirect costs of tourism growth, and the investment required to protect environmental health and local population well-being
Measure municipal costs for servicing tourism and guide decision making on policies and infrastructure
Help to develop strategic mitigation and adaptation plans to protect tourism economies and local populations when climate impacts worsen
Trigger international funding, subsidies, and impact investment for sustainable infrastructure projects, such as solar energy and alternative waste treatment for tourism areas
Create a new category of research based on empirical data to drive global research cooperation on destination planning