Spectatorless Tokyo Olympics May Offer Climate Change Lessons for Green Tourism

While the “spectatorless” Tokyo 2020 Olympic games may seem less exciting for some, environmentalists are saying this approach is exactly what’s needed in a world confronting climate change. Initially, the Tokyo Organising Committee had estimated the event would result in emissions of some 2.73m tonnes, more than Vancouver reported emitting in all of 2019. Now that spectators have been removed from the equation, that carbon footprint will be cut by 12 per cent to about 2.4m tonnes of CO2, the organisers said in a sustainability report this month. Sociologist John Karamichas at Queen’s University in Northern Ireland, who has studied sustainability practices at the Olympics, says that he hopes the Games sets a minimalist precedent that future Olympics follow. “From an environmental perspective, there is a concept that small is beautiful,” he said. “This is the direction we are moving in.” The tourism industry may see this affect it as well, with more consumers focused on sustainable travel recently. A poignant example are towns, some even as famous as Venice, banning cruise ships over environmental concerns, overcrowding, and more.

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