The quantitative methodology of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), increasingly widespread in several industries to effectively assess and improve environmental performances of products and services, has found a limited application in tourism so far, despite that industry has been growing up in the world economy and the issue of its environmental sustainability has been recurring in the Local Agendas 21 and in the development policies of many Countries. In order to hypothesize on reasons of such a limited application of LCA, the Authors have critically reviewed the international literature on LCA, and have carried out a case-study on the accommodation services provided by an Italian hotel; in this paper, the results of this implementation are presented. First of all, it should be noticed that the characterization phase points out both the transport system and the accommodation system as significant environmental hot-spots of the system studied. Normalization and weighting have also been implemented by the Authors, even if considerable scientific limits of those two Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) phases are recognized. The results point out the following environmental issues as the most critical ones for the whole lifecycle: abiotic depletion, global warming, marine aquatic ecotoxicity, photochemical ozone creation and acidification. In order to substantially improve the environmental performances of the system studied, the Authors have made some suggestions, such as addressing the hotel guests towards more environmentally sustainable transport solutions, and the shift to renewable energy sources.
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