Australia’s tourism authorities fear any backlash against long-haul flying in Europe would decimate its travel industry.

Patricia Kelly, deputy secretary at Australia¹s Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, pointed out the country¹s geographical position makes
air travel indispensable.

She told the Ministers’ Summit on Tourism and Climate Change: ‘Policies being discussed about long-haul travel [in some quarters in Europe] would be a major concern to Australia.’

However, Kelly said the country is already suffering the effects of climate change and tourism will be one of eight economic sectors to have the impact and its ability to adapt assessed in a major study undertaken by the government.

Plans to address the issue within the sector should be formalised by next May, she said.

Australia will follow the European Union in introducing an emissions trading scheme for airlines from 2012. Kelly said: ‘The aim is to reduce emissions at the least cost to the economy and proportionate to the industry¹s contribution to climate change.’