The objective of the project was to identify and assess environmentally motivated measures applied facing the tourism industry in countries with comparable challenges as in Norway. Another objective was to use instruments in relation to the operationalisation of the concept of "sustainable tourism".
The introductory part of the project final report gives a general presentation of the relations between tourism and environment. In the second part, we give a presentation of central concepts and definitions linked to the phenomenon of tourism and the relations between tourism and environment. The third part is a presentation of empirical data from a case study in the region of Nordfjord in western Norway, and in the final part we discuss on a more fundamental basis the issue of a sustainable tourism and how the implementation of policy measures can make tourism more sustainable. The first three parts are mainly a summary of previous reports in the project, whereas the last part is an attempt to relate the findings of the project to a more fundamental context.
There are some conclusions of the report:
The problem issue of tourism still emerges as highly problematic for the local management level. If anything is to be done about the perhaps most important and most controversial challenge - the volume of tourism-related transportation - policy measures must be implemented at national and, or for that matter at international level. Even if local authorities can screen certain areas of the municipalities from through traffic or establish car-free zones, taxes and duties are the only known effective measures today which may have any substantial effect in this area. So far there has been little political will - both nationally and internationally - actually to resort to this type of policy measures. Until that is the case, we can only to a limited degree influence tourism in a more sustainable direction. The ongoing international negotiations on reductions of greenhouse gases make it however still relevant to assess what effect any possible taxes intended to cut down emissions of greenhouse gases will have on tourism. If we comply with the recommendations in the Norwegian Commission on Green Tax Reform of combining such taxes with a corresponding reduction in the employer's contributions (payroll tax), it is possible to foresee that the tourism industry in Norway as a whole can manage economically after such a restructuring. The main effect of a moderate taxation level will probably be that Norwegians will take their holidays in their own country rather than flying to the Mediterranean. A possible increase in the cost of travelling may be compensated for by a corresponding reduction linked to the labour-intensive part of tourism, which again means that there may not necessarily be a dramatic reduction in the number of foreign tourists to Norway.