The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa is now underway, and already running into difficulties with rumours that Canada may formally renounce the Kyoto Protocol due to fears about economic competitiveness. While tourism is not a major component of the Durban talks, aviation is one of the contentious issues, with individual countries and the EU controversially setting emissions targets for airlines using their airports in the absence of any global regulation of aviation. The tourism industry has long argued that taxes and emission charges on aviation would harm the economic development of some of the world's least developed countries which depend on long-haul tourism for much of their foreign exchange. However, a number of NGOs have issued a Position Paper suggesting that aviation should not be excluded from the talks, and that negotiators should "seriously and objectively address the role of tourism in the international climate negotiations."
The international alliance of civil society organisations, including AKTE (Switzerland), EED/Tourism Watch (Germany), ECOT (Thailand), Fair Trade Tourism in South Africa (FTTSA) and Naturefriends International, says that it is irresponsible to exclude aviation on the grounds that tourism is an "engine of development" and argues that globally binding negotiations on aviation emissions will, if managed properly, enhance rather than undermine poverty reduction.