Current issues in tourism: mitigating climate change in sustainable tourism research.

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This paper adopts a problematising review approach to examine the extent of mitigating climate change research in the sustainable tourism literature. As climate change has developed into an existential global environmental crisis and while tourism's emissions are still increasing, one would expect it to be at the heart of sustainable tourism research. However, from a corpus of 2573 journal articles featuring ‘sustainable tourism’ in their title, abstract, or keywords, only 6.5% covered climate change mitigation. Our critical content analysis of 35 of the most influential papers found that the current methods, scope and traditions of tourism research hamper effective and in-depth research into climate change. Transport, the greatest contributor to tourism's emissions, was mostly overlooked, and weak definitions of sustainability were common. Tight system boundaries, lack of common definitions and incomplete data within tourism studies appear to hamper assessing ways to mitigate tourism's contribution to climate change.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTourism Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Climate change mitigation
  • Problematising review
  • Sustainable tourism
  • Tourism research methodology


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