This paper argues for ecological footprint (EF) analysis to become widely adopted as a key environmental indicator of sustainable tourism (ST). It is suggested that EF analysis provides a unique, global perspective on sustainability that is absent with the use of locally derived and contextualised ST indicators. A simple methodology to estimate indicative, minimum EF values for international tourism activities involving air travel is presented. Critically, the methodology accounts for the EF that would have been used by a tourist at home during the tourist trip, providing an estimate of the net, as well as the gross, tourism-related EF. Illustrations of the application of the methodology are provided, including the evaluation and comparison of specific tourism products. It is suggested that some (eco)tourism products may, potentially, make a positive contribution to resource conservation at the global scale. Areas for further research in applying EF analysis to tourism are outlined.
- sustainable tourism
- ecological footprint