Tourism is New Zealand's biggest overseas earner, having recently surpassed dairy exports. Whilst the environmental effect of dairy farming is constantly in the news, little is said about the serious environmental consequences of travel to New Zealand. Visitors invariably fly long distance internationally to get here. Chinese visitors who average a 10,000 km flight each way have risen to 410,000, while 1.7 million Australians visited. We are happy to turn a blind eye to the fact that international air travel emissions are not counted as part of any county's emissions. We believe that half of the international flight emissions should be counted as NZ emissions seeing we profit from that journey. As well, many of our internal travel emissions are the result of tourists' travel, which is invariably by car and plane, since our passenger railway system is so minute. We estimate that a flight from Beijing emits more than a tonne of CO2, making that 0.41 Mtns of emissions total just from Chinese tourists
Consequently, Climate First believes that the tourism sector should be part of the Required Emission Reduction Pathway and reduce in proportion to its current emissions, including international flights. This contrasts to the universally positive attitude towards tourism which seems to be embodied in every news story about it, accepting unconditionally that the more tourists the better..