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Towards more sustainable tourism under a carbon footprint approach: The Camino Lebaniego case study

Abstract: From an economic point of view, the tourism sector is one of the most important in the world with religious tourism, such as pilgrimages, being a growth area. Tourism activities also make a significant contribution to CO2 emissions (roughly 8% of the world's carbon emissions). In this framework, the main objective of this research is to develop an integrated sustainable model by assessing the impact of pilgrimages to the Camino Lebaniego (Lebaniego Way) in the Cantabrian region, which is one of the most popular routes in northern Spain. To do this, it is necessary to quantify the environmental impacts of this activity since this is a key element in establishing appropriate and effective environmental management programmes. This study uses the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method, focused on the Carbon Footprint (CF) impact category, to assess the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of this activity considering "a pilgrim who completes the route in three days" as the selected functional unit (FU). In addition, the sub-sectors of accommodation, food and beverages, and waste management are taken into account. Following this route generated a total of 13.69 kg CO2 eq./FU, of which accommodation and the services offered there contributed almost 71.47%, food was 17.08%, and waste management 11.45%. The evening meal and propane consumption were the hotspots in the hostel, accounting for almost 74% of the total impact, so alternatives were proposed to reduce the impacts associated with these. In terms of transport, it was found that for the same destination, it was better to use a car rather than a plane, because the associated CO2 emissions were lower. Finally, these aspects are discussed and improvement measures for reducing GHG emissions are proposed, involving the introduction of good practices and environmental commitments from the pilgrims themselves, as well as enterprises and local communities. Ecolabels and environmental certifications should become a key tool for sending this signal to the market as should the use of public transport to the destination, among other actions. Ultimately, religious and nature tourism seems to be on the upturn, and it is likely that pilgrimage routes could be the next post-COVID travel trend.

 Autoría: Campos C., Laso J., Cristóbal J., Albertí J., Bala A., Fullana M., Fullana-i-Palmer P., Margallo M., Aldaco R.,

 Congreso: Conference on Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems: SDEWES (16º : 2021 : Dubrovnic, Croacia)

 Fuente: Journal of Cleaner Production, 2022, 369, 133222

 Editorial: Elsevier

 Fecha de publicación: 01/10/2022

 Nº de páginas: 13

 Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.133222

 ISSN: 0959-6526,1879-1786

 Url de la publicación: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.133222