Part of Tourism Sector in Environment Change – A Perspective

Undeniable evidences throughout the globe indicate that global climate has changed compared to the pre-industrial era and is expected to continue fashionable through 21st century and beyond. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)1 documented that global mean temperature has increased approximately 0. 76°C between 1850-1899 and 2001-2005 and it has concluded that most of the observed changes in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is ‘very likely’ the result of human activities that are increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

As a consequence, we observe various manifestations associated with climate change including ocean heating, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns. Widespread decreases within glaciers and ice caps and warming ocean surface temperature have contributed to sea level rise of 1. 8 mm per year from 1961 to 2003, and approximately 3. 1 mm per year from 1993 to 2003.

The IPCC has projected that the pace of climate change is to accelerate with continued greenhouse gas (GHG) exhausts at or above the current rates. IPCC best estimate suggested that will globally averaged surface temperatures can rise by 1 . 8°C in order to 4. 0°C by the end of the 21st century. Even with a stabilized atmospheric concentration of GHGs at the current level, the earth would continue to warm as a result of past GHG emissions as well as the thermal inertia of the oceans.

Future adjustments in temperatures and other important popular features of climate will manifest themselves in various fashions across various regions of the world. It is likely that the tropical cyclones (typhoons and hurricanes) will become more severe, along with greater wind speeds and weightier precipitation. This will be associated with continuing raise of tropical sea surface temperature ranges. Extra-tropical storm tracks are projected to shift towards the pole, along with consequent changes in wind, precipitation and temperature patterns. The decreases in snow cover are also forecasted to continue.

The environmental and economic dangers associated with predictions for climate change are considerable.
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The gravity from the situation has resulted in various current international policy debates. The IPCC has come out with firm conclusions that climate change would slow down the ability of several nations to achieve sustainable development. The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change found that the present cost reducing GHG emissions is much smaller than the future costs of economic and social disruption due to unmitigated environment change. Every country as well as economic sectors will have to strive with the challenges of climate change through version and mitigation.

Tourism is no exemption and in the decades ahead, weather change will play a pivotal role in tourism development and administration. With its close links to the environment, tourism is considered to be a highly climate-sensitive sector. The regional manifestations associated with climate change will be highly relevant for tourism sector that needs adaptation by all major travel and leisure stakeholders. In fact , it is not a remote future for the tourism sector since various impacts of a changing climate are already evident at destinations around the world.

Being a flip side of the above story, tourism sector itself is a main contributor climate change through GHG emissions, especially, from the transport plus accommodation of tourists. Tourism sector must play a proactive role to reduce its GHG emissions considerably in harmony with the ‘Vienna Weather Change Talks 2007’ which known that global emissions of GHG need to peak in the next 10-15 many years and then be reduced to really low levels, well below half of levels in 2000 by mid-century. The main challenge ahead of tourism sector would be to meet the international sustainable development agenda along with managing increased energy make use of and GHG emissions from substantial growth in activities projected for that sector.

The concern of the tourism community regarding the challenge of climate change has visibly increased over the last five years. The World Tourism Firm (UNWTO) and other partner organizations convened the First International Conference on Weather Change and Tourism in Djerba, Tunisia in 2003. The Djerba Declaration recognized the complex inter-linkages between the tourism sector and weather change and established a construction for on adaptation and minimization. A number of individual tourism industry associations and businesses have also shown excellent concerns by voluntarily adopting GHG emission reduction targets, engaging in public education campaigns on climate alter and supporting government climate change legislation.

Direct impacts

Climate establishes seasonality in tourism demand plus influences the operating costs, like heating-cooling, snowmaking, irrigation, food and drinking water supply and the likes. Thus, changes in the duration and quality of climate-dependent tourism seasons (i. e., sun-and-sea or even winter sports holidays) could have considerable implications for competitive relationships between places and, therefore , the profitability of tourism enterprises. As a result, the aggressive positions of some popular vacation areas are anticipated to decline, whereas other areas are expected to improve.

The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that changes in a number of weather extremes are probable as a result of projected climate change. This includes higher optimum temperature and more hot days, greater storm intensity and peak wind gusts, more intense precipitation and longer and more severe droughts in many areas. These changes will have direct bearing on tourism industry through increased infrastructure damage, additional emergency readiness requirements, higher operating expenses plus business interruptions.

Indirect impacts

Since environmental conditions are critical sources for tourism, a wide-range associated with environmental changes due to climate modify will have severe adverse impacts upon tourism. Changes in water accessibility, loss of biodiversity, reduced landscape visual, increased natural hazards, coastal chafing and inundation, damage to infrastructure together with increasing incidence of vector-borne diseases will all impact tourism in order to varying degrees. Mountain regions and coastal destinations are considered particularly sensitive to climate-induced environmental change, similar to nature-based tourism market segments. Weather change related security risks are actually identified in a number of regions where tourism is highly important to local-national economies. Visitors, particularly international tourists, are averse to political instability and interpersonal unrest. Reduction in tourism demand can affect many economies in kind of reduction in income (Gross Domestic Product). This may result into social unrest amongst the people regarding distribution of wealth which will lead to further decline in tourism demand for the location.

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