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Tourism and Climate Change

Tourism exists because it encourages people to travel for pleasure and enjoy their time. Tourism includes the business of attracting, accommodating and entertaining tourists and depends on security, culture, natural beautifications, education, population. But I believe that tourism is heavily impacted by weather and climate. As someone who loves to go on vacation to warmer regions with nice beaches, I rely heavily on nice weather to enjoy my vacation. It is very important that tourist countries take care of their attractions and learn to adapt with climate changes and any effects caused by it. 

Climate change can affect tourism both negatively and positively, is highly weather and climate sensitive and directly affects the people that work in tourism. Aruba’s tourism represents more than 88% of their total GDP and supports many jobs and locals. Aruba is attractive for their year-round sunny weather, great food, beautiful white sand beaches with clear water ideal for many water activities such as snorkeling, wreck diving and scuba diving. 

Successful tourist business happens more often during specific seasons. If there are more snowy days each year, ski resorts and mountains would have more business as well, since being cold and keeping the snow nice and fresh is very important for their business. If there are more warm days each year, beaches and resorts in Mexico or Florida would have more tourists because nice sunny days is one of the biggest selling points. Not a lot of people would decide that cooler days would be the time to go to all-inclusive beach resorts.

Climate changes heavily affect potential tourist decisions. For example, Maldives is super popular for their beautiful water and coral reef ecosystems. Because increased greenhouse gases from human activities result in climate changes, oceans have changed because of acidification.

Warmer ocean causes thermal stress leading to corals getting more infectious diseases. Changes in storms and precipitation causes stronger storms which leads to destruction of coral reef structure and lack of food. They may all sound like little parts, but together they add up and cause huge issues. Climate changes will affect a popular tourism spot such as Maldives and hurt their economy since tourism accounts for almost 30% of their GDP. 

The effects of climate change can be increased amounts of flood events and the aggravation of erosive processes. This can lead to the destruction and loss of beaches impacting tourist and local infrastructures. Destroyed coastal infrastructure will lead to a decrease in tourism if the coast is the main attraction. There are popular tourist shores that have been destroyed and degraded by severe erosion and filled with contaminated water. Climate change also contributes to sea level rise and more storms in beachy areas, causing loss of sand and suppression of dunes. This strongly impacts tourism if an area depends economically on these tourists. If beaches are slowly deteriorating because of loss of sand, there will be less room for people to enjoy the beach or more sand will have to be bought in to replace it quickly. If the waters are getting dirty, more machines will be needed to clean the water. If sea levels change, it will be harder for water activities – water skiing, surfing, scuba diving, kayaking, etc. Sea level rise will not only affect water activities but also issues on land including storms, floods and more rain. These issues can cause highway traffic and airport delays, which also cause a decrease in tourism. Therefore it is very important that tourist countries take care of their attractions and learn new ways to adapt to climate change. 

Grimm, Isabel. “Tourism under Climate Change Scenarios: Impacts, Possibilities, and Challenges.” SCIelo, 1 Sept. 2018, https://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1982-61252018000300001&script=sci_arttext.

Khan, Naushad. “Factors Affecting Tourism Industry.” SSRN, 23 Mar. 2020, papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3559353.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “How Does Climate Change Affect Coral Reefs?” Ocean Service, 26 Feb. 2021, oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/coralreef-climate.html.

image: https://sustainabletravel.org/climate-change-impacts-tourism-destinations/

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One Response

  1. I enjoyed reading your blog post, you brought an interesting perspective towards tourism and climate change. Tourism is a huge industry all over the world generating much needed revenue for countries as well as providing jobs. It also helps people get away and relax while seeing other peoples culture. I agree with your points on how climate change can negatively impact tourism especially on islands and coastal regions especially in regards to severe storms and rising sea levels. If climate change continues to worsen it can severely damage the ecosystem and views that attract people to the destinations. This can have catastrophic effects on a nation’s economy if people stop coming as seen during the covid 19 epidemic. While I agree that climate change has some benefits to the tourism industry like you mentioned such as more snow in areas and warmer climates in others. This originally appears to be beneficial by extending the tourist season and making it more enticing to travel. These changes appear to be more short term benefits while climate change as a whole, if doesn’t change, can ruin the tourism industry altogether. On the other hand the tourism industry itself affects climate change contributing 8 percent to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. This can be broken down between transportation, accommodations and goods. Climate change and tourism are so intertwined that the tourism industry needs to find a way to lower greenhouse gas emissions in order to protect their industry. You made some excellent points and did a great job showing how climate change affects the tourism industry by showing different examples all over the world.

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