About the project
Moving Towards Carbon Neutral Tourism in Montenegro
Tourism is an important source of income and employment of every country and fulfills an important role in social development and satisfaction. However, its rapid growth has had detrimental environmental and socio-cultural impacts.
As a main driver of Montenegro’s economic growth and investment, the tourism sector is directly and indirectly responsible for a large share of GHG emissions, especially from the transport and accommodation. The tourism sector contributes over third of GDP and half of the capital investment in infrastructure; it will increasingly be a significant, if not leading factor in projected GHG emissions growth.
There is a growing awareness of these environmental problems within the tourism industry and amongst tourists as responsible consumers about tourism’s carbon footprint.
UNDP and the Ministry for Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro, are leading the way in implementing the innovative project Towards Carbon Neutral Tourism in Montenegro, financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
The project is dedicated to promoting carbon neutral tourism development through fostering sustainability and encouraging innovation in business. The approach engages partners from industry, government and other broader community and identifies and prioritizes innovation opportunities, by explaining interrelationships of tourism and climate change from a mitigation perspective.
With a budget of 3 million USD, the project facilitates GHG emissions reductions from the Montenegrin tourism sector and thus lowers its environmental impact. It is doing so by:
- Promoting the country’s transition towards carbon neutral travel & tourism thus enhancing Montenegro’s green reputation on the global market;
- Maximizing the efficient use of energy and promoting greenfield investments in tourism;
- Promoting development of low carbon spatial planning and development of sustainable transport solutions;
- Helping tourism sector identify and implement cost-effective mitigation options – especially in the accommodation sector;
- Introducing carbon offset schemes and other innovative financial mechanisms to compensate for the residual emissions, and to generate additional revenues for climate mitigation and adaptation actions in tourism;
- Raising awareness on importance and benefits of developing carbon neutral / green tourism and thus help transform Montenegro into the next carbon neutral green-friendly hot spot.
The project mobilizes a wide range of stakeholders from the Central and local Government, public institutions and companies, private sector, civil society organizations, international organizations, academia, media community, local population and tourists to work towards the successful achievement of the project’s goals.
Four dimensions of the project:
1. Regulatory framework on low carbon tourism.
The aim is to cooperate with decision makers on revision and development of new legislation and strategic documents, which will support different, more environmentally and climate friendly tourism offer of the country. Introduction of the ecological certification schemes for accommodation capacities will benefit the quality improvement and introduce resource efficiency standards. The ecological certification schemes, or green operations, will result in several direct benefits, including:
- Lower energy consumption;
- Lower water consumption;
- Waste reduction;
- Reduction of purchasing costs;
- Reduction of their impact on the environment;
- Stepping into the growing market of environmentally-conscious travelers;
- Higher profitability.
The innovative approach will incorporate mandatory climate mitigation measures into new tourism development projects, programs and plans, as well as low carbon measures in spatial plans.
The project will support development of permanent GHG emissions monitoring in tourism, being one of the few global frontrunners on piloting climate mitigation requirements in the service sector.
2. Low carbon transport infrastructure to support tourism sector related public and non-motorized transport.
Montenegro's transportation network is growing along with its profile as a tourist destination. The project started facilitating low carbon investments in transport infrastructure and promoting low carbon transport options for the sector. It further seeks opportunities where their carbon footprint can be reduced or offset.
The Polycentric Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for Boka Kotorska Bay and Cetinje which is being developed, will facilitate development of a more accessible, secure, clean, environmentally friendly and reliable urban transport system for the area. In addition to that, low and no-carbon opportunities will be explored and promoted in the context of new public transport initiatives such as the planned Kotor – Cetinje cable car, new solar-electric or hybrid intercity boat and ferry service in the Kotor Bay, increased use of electric shuttle buses, biogas and/ or biodiesel.
Tourism infrastructure, such are racks for electric bicycles and urban furniture using renewable energy sources will be constructed and installed in the tourist centers, bus stations and the most visited tourist sites. Non-motorized transport options are being promoted by improving walkways and cycle lanes thus raising public awareness of the carbon footprint of different transport modes.
3. Financing mechanisms to support climate change mitigation actions in tourism sector.
Carbon neutrality offers a new frame for businesses. Where others see threats, frontrunners see potential opportunities to combine their business success with positive, measurable impact on the environment and society.
One of the objectives is to mobilize additional financial resources for climate mitigation activities in the tourism sector and support the introduction of carbon offset schemes for tourists, hotels and the car rental industry. A web-based carbon calculator is developed along with carbon compensation offers. Introduced carbon compensation schemes and programs serve as a marketing tool for the green positioning of Montenegro as a carbon neutral destination attracting environmentally conscious tourists. This can only be accomplished by not releasing more carbon dioxide than you can capture or compensate.
A number of flagship investment projects are in the process of financing and many more are planned, to demonstrate the social, environmental and economic benefits of climate change mitigation in tourism. By making innovative partnerships and helping high quality carbon finance projects to deliver emission reductions, we aim to develop Montenegro as a carbon neutral tourism destination, offering visitors an enhanced experience of its natural environment. Assistance is provided to partners in helping them understand and meet the requirements, identify and assess feasibility of low carbon measures, as well as to quantify and monitor the eventual carbon footprint of new tourism projects.
4. Public awareness rising about the carbon footprint of the tourism sector, its GHG reduction potential and measures.
Carbon neutral tourism is a newly developing branch of tourism, appealing to those tourists seeking to minimize the carbon footprint of their travel. Because of its diverse geography - mountains, coastlines, lowlands, rivers and lakes - Montenegro could immensely benefit from this emerging trend. Environmentally conscious tourists are drawn to locations offering natural wild beauty experiences. By taking up the road towards carbon neutrality, Montenegro could become regarded not just as a vacation destination but as an interactive sensory experience. While implementing environmentally sustainable business practices boosted by behavioral change could benefit the tourism industry, the environment and conserve biodiversity.
What's My Carbon Footprint?
We all produce surprisingly high emissions of CO2 in everyday life thus contributing to climate change. Our daily activities —when driving a car, heating a house, watching TV, cooking, working, or flying cause CO2 and other emissions.
There are many things each of us, can do to reduce our carbon footprint by slightly changing our daily habits - including reducing our energy consumption, choosing to travel in s sustainable way, and being conscious of what we purchase.
Lower your impact, start today!
When people hear of carbon neutrality, often the first thoughts that come to mind are some brainstorming physics phenomena, cigarettes, expensive cars, solar panels, etc. But, in fact, the opposite is true. There are many simple ways how each of us can reduce our impact on the environment at no cost, hence many of the things that we can do will actually save us money. Following are only several ways to lover our environmental impact:
- Take public transport, bike or walk whenever possible;
- Drive cars efficiently: STOP IDLING!
- Use air conditioner only when necessary;
- Install an energy efficient showerhead-it saves water and energy costs;
- Avoid running washing machines and dishwashers only half-filled;
- Fix dripping taps;
- Switch TV’s off when you are not watching;
- Switch computers and other equipment when they are not in use;
- Buy energy efficient equipment;
- Install energy-efficient lighting;
- Buy local food whenever possible;
- Recycle waste.
The tourism industry- hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, and travel industry largely begin to realize that they need to reduce their CO2 emissions. If companies measure their carbon footprint and start reducing it where possible, then offsetting remaining emissions, they can:
- Substantially increase their profits;
- Increase their market share;
- Improve customer loyalty and attract new environmentally conscious customers;
- Differentiate their brand.
Take photos. Share memories. Leave only footprints behind. Montenegro’s wild beauty deserves to be shared but preserved. #lovemontenegro