Tourism has been a major contributor to economic growth and employment both within and outside of the OECD. It is one of the worlds most productive economic sectors accounting for approximately 12% of world GNP.
There is a growing awareness on the negative impacts that tourism has on the environment especially in coastal and mountain areas. This concern, along with the principle of sustainable development, has brought the tourism industry and international organisations to re-assess tourism activity in light of its long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability.
Tourism can also generate positive environmental and social impacts ranging from providing travellers with a broader appreciation of distant cultures and environments to the creation of income and incentives to protect and preserve natural and cultural amenities. The development of tourism infrastructures can have a net benefit.
The OECD Sector Case Study on Household Tourism Travel Patterns addresses the environmental significance of household decision-making for tourism-related travel, and describes trends in tourism activity, travel and environmental impacts. It outlines policy issues and options for reducing and/or otherwise mitigating the environmental impacts from households' tourism travel. The report will be available by the end of 2001.