A British parliamentary inquiry launched on Wednesday is considering how the government might compensate for the harm its tourists inflict on the natural world.
The House of Commons environmental audit committee will examine damage to coastlines, oceans and seas; overcrowding (which drains local resources, especially where water is scarce); infrastructural strain; and the carbon output from aeroplanes and cars.
Another argument in favour of limiting tourism’s environmental impact is self-preserving: long-term, the climate crisis threatens some of the world’s top destinations.
However, others note that environmental concerns may mask deeper-rooted xenophobia—and argue that, as providers, holiday and travel companies should shoulder much of the offsetting burden, followed by private individuals.
Should tourists be held financially accountable for the environmental harm their holidays cause?