The current development of tourism is environmentally unsustainable. Specifically, tourism’s contribution to climate change is increasing while other sectors are reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. This paper has two goals: reveal the main structural cause for tourism’s emission growth and show the consequences thereof for (mitigation) policies. It is reasoned that the main cause for tourism’s strong emission growth is the time-space expansion of global tourism behavior. Contemporary tourism theory and geography fail to clearly describe this geographical development, making it difficult to understand this expansion and develop effective policies to mitigate environmental impacts. Therefore, this paper explores some elements of a ‘new tourism geography’ and shows how this may help to better understand the causes of the environmentally unsustainable development of tourism with respect to climate change and devise mitigation policies.
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