Towards Carbon Neutral Tourism


As a main driver of Montenegro’s economic growth and investment, the tourism sector is responsible (directly and indirectly) for the large share of GHG emissions from the transport, accommodation and other tourism-related activities.

According to Montenegro’s Initial National Communication (INC) to UNFCCC, in the business-as-usual scenario Montenegro’s GHG emissions will rise by 40% in 2020 above 1990 baseline. By contributing to over third of GDP and a half of capital investment in infrastructure, the tourism sector will inevitably be an important, if not the leading, factor in a projected GHG emissions increase.

What is the project about?

Main project objective is to reduce GHG emissions from Montenegro’s tourism by:

  • promoting adoption of low-carbon policies and regulation,
  • establishing sustainable financing mechanisms, and
  • supporting design and implementation of flagship investment in low-carbon tourism infrastructure

The project will adopt a comprehensive approach to minimizing the carbon footprint of Montenegro’s main and most dynamic economic sector, the tourism. Its ultimate objective is to reduce GHG emissions from Montenegro’s tourism sector. It will do so by promoting country’s transition towards a carbon neutral travel & tourism, minimizing energy use and transport in and around new green-field development projects, helping tourism industry to identify and implement cost-effective mitigation options in travel and accommodation sectors, as well as introducing carbon offset scheme and other innovative financial mechanisms to compensate for the residual emissions and generate additional revenues for climate mitigation and adaptation actions in tourism.

Further, the project will directly support four out of the seven priority areas identified by the Montenegro Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSP), namely 1) sustainable mobility through appropriate management in transport; 2) sustainable tourism as a leading sector of the economy; 3) sustainable urban development, and 4) improved rational use of energy, increased use of energy from renewable sources.

Project components and expected outcomes

Component 1: Low-carbon policies and regulations in tourism sector. Project will help develop and facilitate adoption of legal and regulatory framework that introduces stringent carbon emission reduction requirements and standards in spatial plans and tourism development projects; The Law on Spatial Planning and Construction will be revised to incorporate mandatory climate mitigation measures into all new tourism development projects, programs and plans; Also, the project will amend the existing Wild Beauty Eco Standard for tourist accommodation to make its mandatory for all new tourism facilities. Expected Outcome: New  tourism facilities planned, designed and developed in line with Wild Beauty Eco/Zero emission Standard resulting in cumulative CO2 emission reduction by at least 60,000 tCO2/year or 1.2 mln tCO2 over the project lifetime.

Component 2: Low-carbon tourism infrastructure. Under this component, a number of flagship investment projects will be supported to demonstrate the social, environmental and economic benefits of climate change mitigation in tourism; Project will work with selected investment partner to ensure that the design of new green-field tourism projects is in full compliance with adopted low-carbon standards; Assistance will be provided to the partners to help understand and apply the requirements, identify and assess feasibility of low carbon measures, as well as to quantify and monitor the eventual carbon footprint of the new tourism projects. Expected Outcomes: Energy savings realized from investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy in tourism facilities and municipalities in Kotor Bay resulting in: energy saving by 2,000MWh/year and 2,600 MWh/year of RES-based energy produced.

Component 3: Sustainable Transport in Kotor Bay. This component will provide technical assistance and investment in carbon emission reduction from road travel in the area of Kotor Bay; Development of travel-demand model and the Sustainable Coastal Transport Strategy and Action Plan for Kotor Bay; Sustainable transport options for tourism travel; Measures to raise awareness and provide incentives for tourists to use low-carbon travel modes. Expected Outcomes: Increased use of public transport in coastal areas; Increased average speed of transit and reduced traffic jams on the coastal roads; Reduced fuel use and GHG emissions from road transport in Kotor bay along the 107 km coastline.

Component 4: Financing for low-carbon and sustainable tourism. This component will aim at mobilizing additional financial resources for climate mitigation activities in tourism sector and support the introduction of carbon offset scheme for tourists, hotels, rent-a-car industry (initially voluntary, but with the intention to make it mandatory). Assistance will be provided to develop carbon footprint estimation tools and implementation arrangement for the scheme. The project will also raise awareness of tourists and other actors of the importance of carbon offsetting and their potential to contribute to climate mitigation activities. Expected Outcomes: Carbon offset program for tourists, hotels, rent-a-car and other industry stakeholders designed, independently validated, and operational; Other suitable financial mechanisms analyzed and adopted as appropriate (e.g. airlines carbon tax, penalties for non-compliance with green standards, credited NAMAs in tourism sector, etc); Tourism Climate Fund established and capitalized from the proceeds of the offset project.

Component 5: Knowledge, Information and Awareness about carbon footprint, mitigation potential and measures in tourism sector. The PR campaign will build on the on-going efforts by the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism and the National Tourism Oragnization to promote Montenegro as an eco-friendly holiday destination, but with a much more targeted focus on climate change and its mitigation by the industry and individuals.This will also include activities to promote carbon offset scheme among the tourists. Expected Outcomes: Accurate measurement and accounting of GHG emission baseline and  reductions from mitigation actions in the tourism sector; Awareness raised among tourists and tourism industry stakeholders about sector’s carbon footprint, GHG reduction potential and measures.

Who finances it?

Donor Name

Amount contributed

Global Environment Facility (GEF)

USD 3,399,000


USD    250,000


USD 3,424,000

Delivery in previous fiscal years

December 2013 USD 93,700                       

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