Tourism, is not only the biggest source of income for the town of Tofino, it is the sector that contributes the largest amount of carbon into the global atmosphere.
Whilst the carbon released into the atmosphere of Tofino will increase each year due to the number of cars in town, this figure will be a lot less than the amount of carbon output by the distance people travel to Tofino.
In that case, for the tourism industry to reduce it’s indirect cause of pollution and reliance on fossil fuels, the tourism sector might consider “advertising” Tofino to a more local crowd in an attempt to reduce the towns footprint.
Perhaps, the tourism industry could also partner with companies that use sustainable travel methods, or encourage sustainable travel.
The huge question remains though, “Is tourism actually sustainable?”
Businesses in the Area
Most businesses in the area are geared towards tourism, it is down to each of these businesses to be conscious of their reliance on fossil fuels and for them to look at all possible ways to reduce this dependance.
The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), Parks Canada, and the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) have worked together to provide a resource for the tourism sector on how to “Green your Business”.
Transition Town encourages all businesses to download this document and work through the guide to becoming a greener business in the tourism sector.
Whale watching is a large part of Tofino’s tourism industry and the amount of carbon it puts out into the atmosphere does not align with the Transition Town model.
In order to continue educating people about the importance of our marine eco-systems and to treat people to the special experience of seeing a whale in their natural habitat, it is imperative that the whale watching industry makes the transition away from fossil fuels.
Back in July 2015 in Iceland, an electric powered schooner completed it’s maiden voyage. The boat is entirely powered by renewable energy, making it, not only a clean way to visit the wildlife, but makes the boat virtually silent too, so that it won’t disrupt the whales.
‘Transition Town Tofino/Ucluelet’ encourages local tour operators to truly stand for what they believe in and to move towards a more sustainable, carbon free operation. Tofino is on the world stage and has the opportunity to set the standards for other operators around the globe. Which company will be the first ‘carbon-free’ whale watching operator on the west coast?
For more on the ‘Carbon-Free” tour operator in Iceland, check out their page at nothsailing.is.