Even though the importance and role of urban areas in GHG emissions are well understood, there are not many studies that deal with how to actually achieve the reduction. Most studies consider direct emission from transport, building, industry, energy sectors, waste and industrial processes. This study, however, focuses on one important economic sector in some cities, namely, the tourism sector, which encompasses many traditional sectors. This sector also provides employment for a large number of people in the developing countries. For example World Travel and Tourism Council estimated in 2009, Thailand had 4 million jobs associated to tourism and Vietnam 4.8 million jobs. Among the top ten countries with greatest expected relative growth in tourism related employment over the next ten year, seven will be from Asian countries including Thailand and Vietnam.
Thus, this research not only focuses on an under-researched area, but also approaches the problem in a new way, by exploring opportunities for lowering GHG emission as well as creating green and decent jobs, and awareness on socially inclusive urban development, where people in the margins of urban development will be able to benefit from the development process. For example, introducing 3R (reduce, reuse and recycle) could not only help reduce GHG emissions, but could also generate green and decent job opportunities for local citizens. It is estimated that the total number of recycling jobs in China is over 10 million, while in the United States it is more than 1 million and in Brazil, it is about half a million.
Usually, the emission estimation and exploring opportunities for addressing the emission reduction is carried out independently by researchers only. However, this project involves researchers and city authorities (and other relevant city groups/institutions) right from project formulation to completion as important stakeholders/boundary partners, which is expected to provide additional and useful inputs for addressing GHG mitigation in cities and sustainable urban tourism development. For the purpose of this study, tourism sector involves all activities that sustain the tourism industry (hotels, tours and transport, small businesses catering to tourists and related operations, entertainment, buildings and heritages, energy supply, food supply, water supply and treatment, and waste and waste treatment).