Scenario analysis of tourism's water footprint for China's Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei region in 2020: implications for water policy
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Based on the life cycle footprint analysis method, this paper undertakes a comprehensive assessment of tourism-related direct and indirect water consumption under four counterfactual tourism scenarios in China's Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei metropolitan region (Jing-Jin-Ji), which has been increasingly constrained by extreme water stress. Food consumption appears to have a major impact on the tourism water footprint (WF) such that high calorie-dominated diets are nearly five times more water intensive than vegetable diets for a typical foreign tourist. It is necessary to design specific policy to improve water-use efficiency in upstream agricultural production, in parallel with reduced high-calorie food intake in tourism products supply. Furthermore, transport mode is found to have significant impacts on domestic tourist WF due to the stark variation in water embodied in upstream fuel production and supply. Forecasts for tourism's WF under low and high scenarios suggest that tourism may account for a considerable proportion of total water use in Jing-Jin-Jiby 2020. Specifically, tourism patterns appear to be a determining factor influencing water consumption across different scenarios. It is argued that water policy needs to emphasise water-use efficiency to raise awareness of tourist WF by differentiating water prices for various purposes and segments of the tourism consumer market.
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