As the global climate changes, a variety of iconic tourist destinations are now under threat. From iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Pyramids of Giza to pristine beach resorts, these places will no longer be able to attract tourists. Global warming is contributing to the accelerated sea level rise that is causing frequent flooding, which is already impacting residents and infrastructure. For instance, future visitors may have to take the Red London boat to Big Ben in London or take a canal to the Empire State building in New York City.
The climate is one of the most important natural assets of many tourist destinations, influencing both their spending patterns and behaviour. In addition, favourable weather conditions are critical to tourism, so any changes in weather patterns could have a dramatic impact on the economy and tourism. Moreover, climate change can cause a host of other adverse effects on tourist destinations. For example, when the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg National Park experience experiences increased temperatures, snow levels will likely decrease, and the number of severe weather-related events will most likely increase.
The survey also found that many respondents would reconsider their decision to visit the affected tourist destinations if adaptation measures were implemented. These measures could include price reductions, conservation of coastal habitat, protection of beaches from erosion, and other similar measures. Additionally, such measures could reduce the geographic and seasonal shifts in tourism demand. The study cited a variety of factors for these changes and concluded that many tourist destinations are already facing this threat.
UNESCO, the United Nations Environment Program, and the Union of Concerned Scientists recently published a report on climate change and tourism. The report cites 31 World Heritage sites that could be adversely affected by climate change. These include Angkor Wat, a famous Cambodian tourist site, and the Ruins of Hvalsey, a relic of Viking society in Greenland.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, human activities contribute to the increase in global average temperatures that have occurred since the mid-20th century. Adapting to climate change is critical to the sustainability of tourism. The report also suggests ways to address these challenges. For instance, the World Tourism Organization has proposed a climate adaptation program. The aim of such a program is to help local communities prepare for the change in climate.
Among the most popular tourist destinations that are under threat from climate change are the French Alps, which boast of pristine snow-capped peaks. The region is famous for adventure sports like igloo expeditions. But as the permafrost melts at a rapid rate, the region’s natural beauty is at risk. Not only that, but the local flora and fauna will be impacted, as well.
Even tropical islands could be affected by climate change. The Maldives, for example, could have no beaches at all by the end of this century. Its only beach is a few feet above sea level, making it highly vulnerable to sea level rise. Scientists predict that the Maldives will become uninhabitable in the next few decades as sea levels rise. Moreover, the rising waters will wipe out key infrastructure and fresh water used to drink.