Global Warming and effect on Tourism
Tourism is not only an important branch of the economy, but also an essential element of human recreation. There can be little debate against the assertion that climate is one of the essential factors that influence the tourism industry. Tourism shares a dual relation with Global warming, it is both the victim of and contributor to Global Warming.
The tourism industry and Global warming share an intricate relation.
On one hand, while global warming has a few positive short term effects on the tourism industry, the long term effects of the same hang above the industry like Damocles’ Sword. Positive impacts could include longer beach seasons, development of rural or seaside tourism etc. However, the negative impacts, namely rise of sea levels (thus submerging small islands and negating their tourist appeal), desertification and scarcity of water (affecting the appeal of numerous destinations), deforestation and harm to biodiversity (reducing appeal of such destinations and loss of the Earth’s natural heat sinks) and melting of snow and glaciers.
Global warming and by extension, climate change shall have quite a few effects on the tourism industry, namely,
1. Desire to travel: Changing weather patterns would also have an impact on travel seasons and when people feel the urge for a change of scenery.
2. Means of mobility and associated risks: With emerging trends in ecological conservation, there may be changes in means of mobility due to price hikes. Also, global warming causes weather extremes to be more frequent and intense, thus scaling up the possibility of natural disasters, which endanger tourists far more than locals, since natural disasters also open up chances of vector borne diseases, which locals are better resistant to than compared to tourists.
3. Appeal of tourist destinations: Due to global warming, tourist destinations will have a change in appeal. New tourist destinations may prop up, whereas a few may disappear off the map.
Thus, tourist destinations will be forced to respond and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Climate change would not only impact superficial aspects such as water levels, amount of snow, etc. but also impact the health risks associated to a location.
A very prime facie model predicting the changes in the tourism industry due to climate change could be this. Consider Europe as a tourist destination. If currently there is a great influx of tourists due to a demand for Mediterranean weather then due to global warming that region will no longer cater to such demand, but the northern regions, which are currently chilly, shall actually start catering to said demands. Thus, countries with a tourist economy that would be impacted must start a shift to other parts of the economy, whereas countries that can expect an influx of tourists must make preparations to respond to this change.
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