• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Unit 3 - Introduction to tourism

Page history last edited by K J Hutchinson 13 years ago

Lesson 1 – What is tourism?


Learning objectives:



- to define the terms tourism and tourist

- to know the main global trends in tourism growth and to consider which destinations ahve increased in popularity in recent years

- to be able to use the terms short-haul and long-haul with confidence


Tourism is the short-term movement of people to places away from where they live and work, normally for pleasure but also for business. A tourist is someone who travels, for work or pleasure, and stays away from home for at least one night. If the person visits somewhere away from their home area but does not stay overnight they are called a day-tripper. Click here to play the penalty shootout game 'Are they tourists?' to check that you understand and can apply these definitions.


The Top 10 tourist destinations (measured by international arrivals) in 2007 were:


France – 81.9 million


Spain – 59.2 million


USA – 56.0 million


China – 54.7 million


Italy – 43.7 million


UK – 30.7 million


Germany – 24.4 million


Ukraine – 23.1 million


Turkey – 22.2 million


Mexico – 21.4 million



All of these countries are in the northern hemisphere and most are in Europe. Europe has experienced a huge growth in international tourist arrivals since the 1950s, as shown on the graph below.



It is only really in the last 60 years that international tourism (i.e. travelling from one country to another) has been available to a wide range of people (we’ll look at the reasons for this later on in lesson 2). Before the 1950s, most foreign travel was by boat and it took a long time so people tended to stay in the destinations for weeks (or even months) rather than days.


Exam question


In the exam, you might be presented with a graph like the one above and be asked to describe the trends in the growth of global tourism. When answering this sort of question you need to refer to




Trends (increase or decrease, rapid or gradual change, differences and similarities between areas)


Examples (eg. How many tourists visited Europe in 1980? Make sure you include figures as marks are often reserved for use of data)


Anomalies (these are things that don’t fit the pattern/trends - if there are any)




Other important definitions


Short haul flights cover short distances, last less than 3 hours and tend to be within a continent (eg. UK to Germany).


Long haul flights cover much longer distances, last at least 7 hours and tend to cross continents (eg. UK to Brazil). Ignore the definition in the textbook as it is incorrect!


Low cost airlines tend to fly short-haul routes because the seats are quite cramped and food is not served. This would not be acceptable to long-haul passengers!


Click here to play the dustbin game to practice using these terms.


The world’s emerging destinations


The majority of the world’s emerging tourist destinations are in less developed countries, with many being in the African continent. The vast majority of these emerging destinations will involve long-haul travel from most European countries.


In addition, some new East European countries and destinations feature on the Top 10 list. This is largely because people from the UK / Western Europe can reach them quickly, cheaply and easily and the costs of living in the Eastern European countries are much lower, meaning than travellers from the Western European countires feel relatively well-off when they reach their destination. For example, the average cost of a pint of lager in Croatia is £1.65 compared to £4.72 in France.


Lesson 2 - Why has the global tourist industry grown?


Learning objectives:


- to be able to explain the social and economic reasons for the growth of the tourism industry

- to understand how technology has helped the growth of the industry

- to consider how the tourism industry is being affected by the recession


The global tourism industry has grown massively since the 1950s, as shown on the graph in lesson 1. Worldwide tourist numbers are expected to grow to 1.6 billion by 2020. You need to be able to explain the reasons for this growth. The exam specification says that you must be able to give social, economic and technological reasons. The exam board state that you must know about greater wealth, mobility and leisure time and changes in lifestyles and technology.



Social reasons


People have much more leisure time now that in the past. In the 1950s, half of the UK's working population had only one week's holiday or less each year.- employees now get more paid holiday than they used to. Within the European Union, paid holidays are a right and an annual minimum of 4 weeks (including Bank Holidays) is a right for every worker. This means that people are more likely to have the time and money to go on holiday. It also means that many families are able to take more than one holiday each year.  


In addition, modern houses have lots of time-saving devices - eg. washing machines, dishwashers- which means that people have more time at weekends to take short breaks.


People are retiring earlier, giving them more time to travel.


Gap-year travel has become more and more popular with students between their A-levels and university and after university courses. Companies such as STA Travel have developed to take advantage of this trend.



Economic reasons and commercial (business) reasons


In general, people are much wealthier now that they have been in the past. This means they have more disposable income to spend on luxuries such as holidays.


There has been much more advertising of holiday destinations in recent years. This is sometimes direct (eg. on websites, brochures) and sometimes indirect (eg. holiday programmes on the TV; showing destinations in films or on TV programmes encourages people to visit them).


The increase in the number of low-cost (budget) airlines such as Ryanair and Easyjet has made it cheaper to fly. These no-frills airlines offer a basic service but at a very cheap price - as shown in the screenshot below.



The growth of package holidays (more on this in lesson 3!) has made it easier to travel and this has boosted the number of travellers.


Transport / Technological reasons


Most families now own at least one car - this is a major development of the 20th century and is shown in the graph below. Car ownership has meant that people can easily travel within their local area and they can also drive to nearby countries (eg. using ferries or the Channel Tunnel to reach mainland Europe from the UK). They can also drive quickly and easily to regional airports such as East Midlands, Stansted, Luton. which have developed in the last 20 years.  



Can you describe the changes in car ownership in Britain from 1951-2008?


Remember to use the TEA approach (look at the notes for lesson 1 if you're not sure about this).














Improved transport systems have made it easier to travel, particularly longer distances. Examples are the Eurostar / Channel Tunnel and the development of larger aircraft that can carry more people. This has resulted in more travel.




Faster travel means that people can visit more widespread destinations. Most places in the world can now be reached within 24 hours by a wide-bodied jet.

The cost of air travel has decreased dramatically (relative to other costs) on charter flights and low-cost arilines. The development of low-cost airlines has been a major factor in the development of city breaks.


The growth of the internet has encouraged travel as people are able to look at information about destinations online and book their flights / accommodation / packages from the comfort of their home.




What effect does recession have on tourism?


The recent recession in the UK has had a number of effects on tourism:


Rising unemployment means that people have less disposable income to spend on holidays so fewer holidays are taken.


More people tend to holiday in their own country during a recession as they think it is cheaper to do this. In 2009, early-bookings for the school holidays at Butlins went up by 15% over the previous year. According to a survey by The Metro newspaper, 1 in 5 Briton's were choosing to holiday in the UK in 2011 as they felt it would cut their costs.


People tend to save rather than spend as they are unsure about their financial future. This means that less holdiays are taken because people are saving their money instead of spending it. According to the Daily Mail, 25% of Briton's will not take a holiday in 2011 due to financial worries.


Prices fall - just look at any holiday website and you'll see what I mean! Travel companies have begun to develop 'supermarket basics' holidays which have none of the frills (see weblink below). Companies offer a range of special offers to encourage people to book their holidays in advance - as shown in the screenshot from the Butlin's webpage below.



Exam question


The specimen exam paper included a 6 mark question (i.e. level marked) about reasons why the number of European and American tourists travelling to places like Brazil has increased in recent years. The mark scheme suggests that the following answer would score full marks:


“Technology means that people know more about Brazil and that it is advertised more effectively. The internet and television allow travellers to find out about distant places and to research and compare holidays quickly and easily. This may lead to a growth of long haul destinations such as Brazil.”

Bigger planes and the building of more airports means that travel is easier and quicker. Airports in places such as Natal mean that it is possible to travel quickly to places which would once have taken much longer to get to.”


Thanks to YouTube user abipowell95 for this revision clip which summaries the points made above:



Useful weblinks:

Daily Mail article - Money Worries: A quarter of Britons' ditch holiday plans as recession bites

Times article - Thomson launches post-recession holiday

Guardian article - Recession-hit Britons abandon foreign holidays in favour of 'staycations'

A superb essay by Year 11 student, Ryan Moden, about the impact of technogical changes on the tourism industry


Lesson 3 - 21st century tourism


Learning objectives:


- To be able to define mass commercial tourism and specialist holidays..

To understand the advantages and disadvantages of planning your own holiday rather than using a travel company.

- To know that the UK’s big four companies serve a very high percentage of British holidaymakers overseas.

- To be able to name the UK’s big four.

- To know how large tour companies operate and have grown.


Mass tourism


Mass tourism is when large numbers of people visit the same area. It is associated with package holidays and holidays booked through travel agencies. Mass tourism requires a very high concentration of tourist facilities in an area.


Specialist holidays


Specialist holidays are based on a particular area, interest or activity. For example, New Zealand is selling itself as the adventure tourism capital of the world offering white-water rafting, trekking, mountain biking, bungee jumping etc.  These activities are aimed at 18-30 year olds.


21st century tourism


Twenty years ago, most holidays would have been booked through specialists at high street travel agencies. Nowadays, increasing numbers of people use the internet to find out about the places they want to visit and then book transport, accommodation and activities directly online. This means that companies and countries are having to develop their own dynamic and attractive websites in order to attract customers. 


Building your own holiday is known as dynamic packaging. You need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of planning your own holiday rather than using a travel company...


Advantages of planning and booking your own holiday


There is freedom of choice - you can go wherever and whenever you want. You have much more flexibility (eg. if you booked with a travel agency you might have to go half-board at the hotel when you don't actually want to do this).


You feel independent and there is a greater feeling of adventure.


You can stay in more than one place during the course of your holiday.


You can stay in more unconventional locations and won't be restricted to certain hotels.


The holiday you like the look of at the travel agency might not fly from the nearest or most convenient airport. If you book the flight yourself you can choose the most convenient departure airport and time for you.


Disadvantages of planning and booking your own holiday


There's nobody to look after you if things go wrong - if you book through an agent you have a tour company and rep to look after you if something goes wrong.


It can take a long time to book as you need to shop around and look at different websites to find the best deals - a travel agency could do this for you. You can be spoilt for choice as you can choose any combination you want - this can make it very difficult to choose!


If you book the parts of your holiday separately your insurance might not cover you for hotel costs if your flight is delayed or cancelled. If you use a travel agency they will be able to sort out insurance for you so you are covered if anything goes wrong - and as it is part of a package you can be confident that everything is covered.


A travel agency may have specialist knowledge of the destination and may, for example, have information about which areas are not safe to stay in. If you book the holiday yourself, you might miss out on this information.


How do the Brits book their holidays?


The 'Big 4' companies cater for about 80% of Brits abroad.


Can you name them?


Have a look at the adverts / slogans / logos below and see if you can work out which companies they are!





YouTube plugin error     YouTube plugin error        


The 'Big 4' are Airtours, TUI (which includes Thomson and First Choice), Thomas Cook and Crystal Holidays. How have they got so big?


One of the main trends in the travel and tourism industry is the move towards greater integration. This is where firms join together, through takeovers and mergers, to form bigger operations. Larger firms can achieve economies of scale - this means that costs are lower and so they can make more profit.


Vertical integration is where firms integrate at different levels of the distribution chain. If a tour operator buys a travel agency, this is known as forward vertical integration. Where a tour operator buys an airline, this is known as backward vertical integration.



Travel businesses may be large enough to be able to take over other smaller businesses that offer other travel products and services. For instance, if an airline was taken over by a tour operator, this would be an example of vertical integration; the tour operator would be looking to benefit from lower costs in allocating customers their air travel services. This would mean that the tour operator should be able to make more profit from its overall business. The same tour operator might also take over a travel agency in order to find a more profitable way of selling its travel products and services. The whole organisation would then be a vertically integrated travel business offering holiday packages to customers through its own retail outlets. The business should be able to control its costs more effectively and be able to communicate well with all parts of its travel operations. Problems may occur if the whole business becomes too large to operate efficiently. If the different parts of the whole business were branded differently, say by giving each part a different name, this might be regarded as being unethical. Customers should have the right to know when there is a relationship between a tour operator and a travel agent. If not, they may believe they are getting a fair price for their holiday, when in fact the price is being kept artificially high because the operator and the agent are different parts of the same business.


Examples of vertical integration in the travel and tourism industry include:


- TUI Travel UK owns Thomson and First Choice tour operating businesses, and the Thomson and First Choice travel agency chains (TUI UK is itself controlled by the German company TUI AG)

- Thomas Cook AG (a German group) owns the Thomas Cook and MyTravel tour operating companies (including Airtours), plus the Thomas Cook and Going Places chains of travel agencies


Where two travel firms which offer competing services join together, this is known as horizontal integration. The aim is still to make economies of scale. For example, when EasyJet took over Go! arlines in 2002, it was a case of one budget airline taking over another no-frills airline. Although the two companies became one, they could have retained their different brand names. In fact in this case, EasyJet very quickly re-branded all of Go!'s planes with their own distinctive livery.


TUI Travel

TUI Travel operates in over 180 countries and owns over 200 brands including First Choice and Thomson Holidays. It employs about 50,000 people in over 200 companies. In 2010, it had over 30 million customers. TUI Travel operates in four sectors - mainstream, accommodation and destinations, specialist and activity holidays and emerging markets. The company's headquarters are in the UK. It is the only leisure travel company listed on the London Stock Exchange in the FTSE 100. Some of the most famous brands in the TUI group are shown below.


Useful weblinks:

How to build your own dream - article by Chris Dale

The pros and cons of booking with a travel agent - article by Ed Perkins


Lesson 4 - What opportunities do different places and environments offer for tourism?


Learning objectives:


- To be able to describe the types of environment that attract tourists.

- To be able to classify the types of environment that attract tourists.

- To be able to distinguish the primary and secondary resource base of a destination.

- To know how the primary and secondary resource bases can provide opportunities for tourist activities.


What opportunities do different places and environments offer for tourism? Try to think of at least 10 ideas - use the photos below to help you.



Here are some examples. Obviously, not everyone wants to go on holiday to the same place or do the same thing!


Coastal tourism – 3 Ss – sun, sea, sand

Mountain tourism – 3 Ss – snow, scenery, skiing

Adventure tourism – climbing, trekking, surfing

Cultural tourism – historical and religious sites

City breaks – variety of man-made attractions

Countryside tourism – mainly natural attractions

Specialist tourism – eg. ice hotels, safari trips

Event tourism – eg. World Cup, Olympics


Recently, a number of specialist holiday companies have been started up to cater for the needs of tourists - for example, brands in the TUI Travel group include Headway (specialising in guided walking, cycling and canoeing tours in the UK) and Urban Adventures which offers tours in over 100 cities around the world.


The resources in a destination can be classified into primary and secondary resources.


Primary resources are natural resources (such as climate, scenery and ecosystems) and cultural resources (such as historical and religious buildings). They are what people go to see and form the basis for a place's tourist potential.


Secondary resources include accommodation, eating places, entertainment, infrastructure (such as airports, motorways, railways), and guiding and information services. They are the facilities provided by governments, companies and individuals, without which mass tourism cannot take place. These determine the extent to which a place’s tourist potential is realised.


Sketch this photo and then add labels to show the primary and secondary resources.



Useful weblinks:


Lesson 5 - The development of package holiday destinations


Learning objectives:


- To be able to define the term 'package holiday'.

- To know how the development of package holidays affected Benidorm.

- To be able to apply Butler's model to the development of Benidorm.


A package holiday is one where transport, accommodation and food are all included in one prices. It may also include insurance. Package holidays were first sold in the 1950s/1960s and they were a major factor in the growth of international tourism. Package holidays can take the stress out of travelling as everything is done for you by the tour operator.


Benidorm is a resort on the Costa Blanca in Spain. Its location is shown on the map below. Benidorm was heavily affected by the development of the package holiday.



Look at the two photos of Benidorm. The photo on the left shows the resort in 1960; the photo on the right was taken in 1995. What are the main differences between these two photos?




Summary of changes in Benidorm


In the 1950’s Benidorm was a small, attractive fishing village bordered by fine sandy beaches. Few people visited it despite the attractive scenery and warm summers. There were very few facilities for tourists and the majority of the town's income was from fishing. In the late 1950s, the resort started to grow and local people started to realise that they could make money from tourism. They invested in developing hotels, restaurants and bars. The first package holidays to Benidorm were sold in 1957, and travellers began to flock there from the UK. The ALicante airport opened in 1967, making the area easily accessible.


By 1970 Benidorm had been transformed from a small fishing village to a sprawling mass of hotels based around the needs of the tourists. The town had changed functions completely. The vast majority of jobs were in the tourism industry and hotels ran for miles along the coastline. By 1977, over 12,000,000 people were visiting the town every year with northern Europeans being attracted by the hot summer temperatures, the huge beach, all-day bars and all-night clubs.


By 1990 the resort had begun to stagnate and the government was forced to step in with a scheme aimed at rejuvenating the resort and its facilities. It has had to expand its attractions and the local government has worked with private companies to develop water and theme parks based on Mediterranean civilisations. It is hoped that these facilities will appeal to families. Benidorm now attracts about 4 million visitors a year and tourism spending in Benidorm accounts for about 1% of Spain's national income. The government has put a lot of money into an official advertising campaign for the resort.



Butler's model


Butler suggested that a tourist resort would go through a series of stages over time. The graph shows these stages and they are outlined below:




The place gets very few tourists. Someone discovers it, and tells a few other friends how good it is. This tends to be based on a primary resource, such as scenic beauty ot a heritage site. They start to go to the place as well. There are very few, if any, services for tourists.



More people find out about the place as it starts to get mentioned in articles, brochures and tourist guides. This means that more people visit.

A few shops, cafes, hotels etc. start to open up because people are staying there in enough numbers for local people to earn money.



Large numbers of visitors begin to arrive. As a result, many local people stop what they were doing before and begin to work in tourism.

Consequently, more shops and hotels open. Tourist facilities are greatly expanded. This attracts even more tourists.

The roads to the resort get busier.



Everyone now knows about the resort. People move to the resort in search of work. During the tourist season, the place is full of people, and hotels are full. Local people are now mostly employed in tourism rather than the jobs they used to have. Some local people will begin to feel that the tourists are starting to be in ‘control’.

Traffic problems start to occur on busy days, with car parks filling up early in the day. This can lead to gorwth slowing down.



The peak is reached. The place gets so popular that some people stop going there. They will say “it’s too busy” or “it’s not what it used to be like…”

Local people will complain that they are being ignored and that tourists get priority.

People start going to other places. As a result, some of the shops and hotels close down.Some people stay away because it is so busy, and look for somewhere ‘quieter’ or ‘prettier’ or ‘more like the real….’


Decline or rejuvenation:


The place starts toi get run down - bars close, shops shut dowen and charity shops move in.

Out of season, many hotels start to be used to house homless people and people on benefits as a way of making a bit of money.

The place begins to get a 'reputation'... so people stay away.


Rejuventation (requires investment):

New money starts to come into the resort. Some of the older hotels are regenerated and attract new shops to the area.Cafes reopen on the High Street.

People start to return to the resort out of season.There is a new ‘buzz’ about the place.

Jobs start to be created.

A whole new crowd of visitors starts to come regularly to the resort.


I find it really difficult to remember the order of these stages so I use a mnemonic to help me...



Entertainers In Demand Can Sing, Dance or Rap!


The video below shows how Benidorm is now being marked by the company Low Cost Holidays.



Useful weblinks:


Lesson 6 - What were the effects of the rise and fall of tourism in Benidorm?


Learning objectives:


- To further develop the case study of Benidorm as an example of the rise and decline of a mass tourism destination.

- To understand that the rise and fall Benidorm has had social, economic and environmental effects and to be able to describe and explain some of these effects.


The development of tourism in an area has social, economic and environmental effects. You need to be able to describe and explain a variety of these effects in detail.


Social effects - negative

Noise from bars and clubs disturbs local residents.

Loss of local community feeling as outsiders arrive.

Shortage of housing at affordable prices.

Influx of outsiders (both temporary and permanent).

Employment may be seasonal.


Social effects - positive

Influx of newcomers stimulates activities and brings new ideas.

Local customs and traditions can be enhanced by responding to visitor needs eg. for crafts and produce.

Young people are no longer forced to leave in search of work.


Economic effects - negative

Employment in tourism may be seasonal, leaving workers unemployed outside the main season.

Increases in council taxes to help fund development.


Economic effects - positive

Diversification of the economy makes it more resilient.

More jobs available.

Tourism earns foreign income.

Some of the new infrastructure is useful to local people.

Threshold numbers needed for the economic survival of services scuh as shops, post offices and pubs are met.


Environmental effects - negative

Benidorm has more than 130 hotels with 30,000 swimming pools across the resort. It has a dry climate almost all year round and depends on extracting water stored underground. As its level drops, seawater creeps in poisoning surrounding farmland. Water is being removed from aquifers 2 or 3 times faster than it can be replenished. A single golf course in the area consumes as much water as a town of 10,000 people in the area.

Pressure for development of touyrist facilities on greenfield sites leads to loss of habitats.

Air and groujnd piollution from traffic.

Noise and visual pollution.

Environmental effects - positive

Protection and conservation of landscapes.

Greater awareness of the value of landscapes and heritage.

Redundant buildings that were landscape eyesores are improved.


Lesson 7 - What are the impacts of increased global travel?


Learning objectives:

- To be able to explain a range of local and global environmental effects increased global travel.

- To understand how the greenhouse effect operates.

- To be able to suggest impacts of climate change and acid rain.


It is vital that you can distinguish local and global effects of increased travel - exam questions may well focus on just one of these categories!


As air travel continues to grow, there are two areas which potentially lead to increased environmental pollution:


- extra passengers bring added flights, which in turn means more fuel usage – and additional carbon – together with all the necessary requirements to accommodate them.

ore travellers also often means airport expansions and additional runways, a greater number of vehicle movements – and larger car parks – as more passengers pass through the terminals and escalating demands on water, sewage treatment and waste services.


The carbon issue of more flights is the one that has attracted most attention in the media - this is the area that you should focus on if the examiner asks you about the global effects of increased global travel.


Aviation fuel, like petrol, is made from oil, which was itself formed over millions of years – hence the description of these products as “fossil fuels”. Burning any fossil fuel releases the “old” carbon into the atmosphere. While this is true of all fossil fuels – coal, oil, natural gas and any form of travel which uses them, be it steam train or car – flying is commonly seen as making a particularly significant contribution.


Around 1 tonne of CO2 is produced for every 4,000 miles flown by an air traveller – which means the average London Heathrow to New York JFK flight makes you responsible for adding a little over a tonne-and-a-half. While flying is undoubtedly the fastest growing carbon contributor, it certainly is not currently the largest, accounting for only 5.5 per cent of the UK’s total CO2 emissions. To put this in perspective, domestic households and road transport are each responsible for around 20 per cent apiece.


However, as with so many things in the global warming debate, it is not quite this straight-forward. The contribution of air travel is growing very swiftly and will soon account for a much larger proportion of the total if the number of flights made continues to rise at its current rate. Moreover, carbon released at 30,000 feet is more damaging than the same amount at ground level and in addition, aeroplanes produce nitrogen oxides and water vapour – also greenhouse gases – making the flight’s global warming effect three times greater than the CO2 alone. To return to our London to New York example, one tree offsets the carbon dioxide, while two more will account for the effects of the other two gases.


One of the major problems comes down to the sheer numbers of us wanting to fly. Around 120 million passengers a year pass through the UK’s three busiest airports alone – Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester – and the figure is growing. Extra passengers and additional flights often means expanding the facilities needed to service them – new runways, more vehicle movements, larger car parks and greater demands for energy, water, sewage treatment and waste management.


Reducing the environmental cost of flying is not solely about carbon. Aside of the effects of the fuel burnt and the age-old issue of noise, air travel requires the use of other potentially harmful chemicals and produces waste. Keeping aircraft wings free of ice, for instance, calls for the use of glycol and potassium acetate – though the good news is that increasing numbers of airports are installing “green” systems to treat the run-off. Reed beds, for example, have been shown to be able to treat de-icer run-off in a natural way. Heathrow has a series of pilot beds, while the airport at Wilmington, Ohio and Ontario’s Pearson Airport both have full scale systems. To combat the amount of food and packaging waste generated, many airlines have taken steps to recycle aluminium cans and much of the catering equipment is returned to the outside caterers for recycling or reuse where appropriate. In addition, many operators have embraced the “paper-less” idea – electronic tickets replacing their printed counterparts and computerisation being used to reduce the need for much of the actual paperwork which was previously routinely produced.


Is long haul really worse?


Given the figures for the amount of CO2 released from different types of aircraft – a Boeing 747, for example, releases around 35kg of carbon dioxide per kilometre – it seems fairly straightforward to argue the case that the longer the flight distance, the greater the damage. However, the issue is not quite so clear-cut. For one thing, most of the fuel use takes place during take-off and landing, making the relative contribution of the mileage in the air less pivotal than might be supposed.


In addition, fuel consumption – and hence emissions – is not the same for all aircrafts, especially when viewed on a “per-passenger” basis. Since long haul planes tend to be flown nearer to their full passenger capacity, they can often achieve twice the fuel efficiency per passenger per kilometre of shorter flights by less-full small turboprops and jets – and some of the latest designs exceed even this.


The final part of the case for the defence lies in practicality. How else can we get from one side of the globe to the other, unless we have a few months to spare to go by boat? While this is the most compelling argument in favour of long haul, it may also be the only really justifiable use of flying at all. There are practical transport alternatives available for many internal and short international trips; by contrast, trains and ferries are simply not viable substitutes for long haul flights.


However, the fact remains that KLM have estimated that trips longer than 1,500km are responsible for around 80 per cent of the CO2 produced by air travel, so there is no doubt that if we all stopped long-distance flying altogether, emissions would unquestionably fall.


The aviation industry itself may hold part of the key to the future of long haul. Designed to carry over 500 passengers at a time within its double decked fuselage, the A380 – the latest from Airbus – uses high-efficiency engines and lighter alloys to promise 20 – 30 per cent lower fuel consumption per passenger than equivalent aircrafts. With air transport the fastest growing contributor of greenhouse gases – and all that this entails in terms of PR – where one manufacturer goes, others will surely follow, hopefully making this level of fuel economy and low emissions standard in the long-haul arena. If so, it will not solve the problem entirely, but it must surely help.


How does the greenhouse effect work?


There are two meanings of the term "greenhouse effect". There is a natural greenhouse effect that keeps the Earth's climate warm and habitable. There is also the man-made greenhouse effect, which is the enhancement of Earth's natural greenhouse effect by the addition of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels (mainly petroleum, coal, and natural gas).

Greenhouse gases trap some of the infrared radiation that escapes from the Earth, making the Earth warmer that it would otherwise be. You can think of greenhouse gases as sort of a blanket for infrared radiation-- it keeps the lower layers of the atmosphere warmer, and the upper layers colder. About 80-90% of the Earth's natural greenhouse effect is due to water vapour, a strong greenhouse gas. The remainder is due to carbon dioxide, methane, and a few other minor gases.

It is the carbon dioxide concentration that is increasing. This has been attributed to the burning of fossil fuels. This is the man-made portion of the greenhouse effect, and it is believed by many scientists to be responsible for the global warming of the last 150 years.

What are the effects of global warming?






Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.