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The Impact of a Carbon Tax on International Tourism

  • Richard S.J. Tol

    (Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI))

A simulation model of international tourist flows is used to estimate the impact of a carbon tax on aviation fuel. The effect of the tax on travel behaviour is small: A global $1000/tC would change travel behaviour to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from international aviation by 0.8%. This is because the imposed tax is probably small relative to the air fare. A $1000/tC tax would less than double air fares, and have a smaller impact on the total cost of the holiday. In addition, the price elasticity is low. A carbon tax on aviation fuel would particularly affect long-haul flights, because of high emissions, and short-haul flights, because of the emission during take-off and landing. Medium distance flights would be affected least. This implies that tourist destinations that rely heavily on short-haul flights (that is, islands near continents, such as Ireland) or on intercontinental flights (e.g., Africa) will see a decline in international tourism numbers, while other destinations may see international arrivals rise. If the tax is only applied to the European Union, EU tourists would stay closer to home so that EU tourism would grow at the expense of other destinations. Sensitivity analyses reveal that the qualitative insights are robust. A carbon tax on aviation fuel would have little effect on international tourism, and little effect on emissions.

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Paper provided by Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in its series Papers with number WP177.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esr:wpaper:wp177
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  1. Andrea Bigano & Jacqueline M. Hamilton & Richard S.J. Tol, 2004. "The Impact Of Climate On Holiday Destination Choice," Working Papers FNU-55, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Oct 2004.
  2. Jacqueline M. Hamilton & David J. Maddison & Richard S.J. Tol, 2004. "The Effects Of Climate Change On International Tourism," Working Papers FNU-36, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Jan 2004.
  3. Maria Berrittella & Andrea Bigano & Roberto Roson & Richard S.J. Tol, 2004. "A General Equilibrium Analysis Of Climate Change Impacts On Tourism," Working Papers FNU-49, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Nov 2004.
  4. Schipper, Youdi & Rietveld, Piet & Nijkamp, Peter, 2001. "Environmental externalities in air transport markets," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 169-179.
  5. Jacqueline M. Hamilton, 2004. "Climate and the Destination Choice of German Tourists," Working Papers 2004.21, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  6. Andrea Bigano & Jacqueline M. Hamilton & Richard S.J. Tol, 2006. "The Impact of Climate Change on Domestic and International Tourism: A Simulation Study," Working Papers 2006.86, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  7. Wohlgemuth, Norbert, 1997. "World transport energy demand modelling : Methodology and elasticities," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(14-15), pages 1109-1119, December.
  8. Tol, Richard S. J., 2005. "The marginal damage costs of carbon dioxide emissions: an assessment of the uncertainties," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(16), pages 2064-2074, November.
  9. Richard S.J. Tol & Andrea Bigano & Jacqueline M. Hamilton & Yuan Zhou, 2005. "A Global Database of Domestic and International Tourist Numbers at National and Subnational Level," Working Papers 2005.3, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  10. Tae H. Oum & Waters, W.G. & Jong Say Yong, 1990. "A survey of recent estimates of price elasticities of demand for transport," Policy Research Working Paper Series 359, The World Bank.
  11. Schafer, Andreas & Jacoby, Henry D., 2005. "Technology detail in a multisector CGE model: transport under climate policy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 1-24, January.
  12. Greening, Lorna A., 2004. "Effects of human behavior on aggregate carbon intensity of personal transportation: comparison of 10 OECD countries for the period 1970-1993," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-30, January.
  13. Witt, Stephen F. & Witt, Christine A., 1995. "Forecasting tourism demand: A review of empirical research," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 447-475, September.
  14. Jacqueline M. Hamilton & David J. Maddison & Richard S.J. Tol, 2003. "Climate Change And International Tourism: A Simulation Study," Working Papers FNU-31, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Sep 2003.
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