On September 27, World Tourism Day is celebrated, and amidst discussions about tourism, a significant concern emerges: environmental pollution. The UN Environment Programme warns that under a “business as usual” scenario, tourism would contribute to a “131 per cent increase in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030”. One solution proposed to address this issue is the implementation of green taxes.

Green taxes aim to make tourism more sustainable by discouraging pollution-causing activities. In this podcast, Nabodita Ganguly is joined by Prakash Bhatia, Associate Professor, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), where they explore the concept of green tax, its significance, potential implementation in India, and its impact on sustainable tourism.

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Bhatia explains that the green tax is a response to the environmental challenges arising from development and increased tourism. To mitigate the environmental impact of activities like increased vehicle use and energy consumption, governments impose green taxes. For instance, in Maharashtra, commercial vehicles must pay green tax for RCS renewal after eight years, while personal vehicles face it after 15 years. This taxation strategy is designed to discourage pollution and promote cleaner alternatives.

Various countries, including Finland and Switzerland, have adopted green taxes to control pollution and encourage eco-friendly practices. Green taxes not only deter pollution but also allocate funds for green projects, such as waste management, water purification, and green energy initiatives.

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The discussion emphasises the need for green taxes on a national level in India to promote sustainable tourism. Bhatia believes that imposing such taxes at the central level would help generate funds to manage pollution and waste, create renewable energy systems, and maintain public infrastructure. However, the challenge lies in coordinating between central and state governments to avoid double taxation and ensure a fair distribution of collected funds.

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In conclusion, green taxes have the potential to play a pivotal role in mitigating the environmental impact of tourism. While their implementation requires careful consideration and coordination between government levels, they offer a promising solution to promote sustainable tourism practices and protect the environment.