Climate Change as a Serious Threat to Tourism

By Jannatul Ferdaos

Tourism is one of the most growing sectors of the world without any doubt. The contribution of tourism to the society and economy of any nation is undeniable. Hence, countries around the world provide significant concentration on developing tourism as a major economic driver of the country. In order to ensure the continuous growth of tourism sector throughout the world, it is imperative to identify the factors that can act as core barriers for flourishing tourism sector. Though tourism sector entails threats from various factors but in recent time ‘Climate Change’ is incredibly the most pronounced one.

Major changes in global climatic pattern over a significant period of time is known as climate change. Many climate scientists have detected long-term changes in global climate such as, higher global temperature than last century. The changing climate has several adverse impacts on the environment such as: temperature variability, sea-level rise, coastal flooding, salinity intrusion, glacier retreat, drought, and erratic rainfall. These climate induced adverse impacts have wide ranging effects on various tourism destinations. For instance, coastal tourism destinations are mostly affected by sea-level rise (beach erosion, damage to tourism infrastructure) and salinity intrusion (affect coastal vegetation, creates health problem for tourists and local communities). On the other hand, mountain destinations are mostly affected by temperature variability (decrease biodiversity, cause forest fire, lower hiking and trekking) and glacier retreat (short term flooding near streams).

Climate change affect the basis of tourism industry by reducing destination attractiveness and impairing tourism activities which in turn decrease tourism demand in many destinations. However, these climate induced direct impacts, not only affect the tourism destination or tourism demand, but also creates difficulties for local communities depending on tourism. Local communities are the worst sufferer of climate change. At one hand, they loss their valuable resources and face various health problems due to climate induced natural disasters on the other hand, they loss their livelihood too due to lower tourist flows within the communities or tourism destinations. Therefore, to ensure sustainable tourism development around the world, addressing climate change impacts in tourism are indispensable.

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