Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tourism industry blind to climate change risk

ClimateChangeCorp: Attach the word “sustainable” to tourism and a sector formerly criticised for its contribution to environmental and social degradation seems to undergo a complete transformation. According to the United Nations and international lending institutions, sustainable tourism can alleviate poverty, help with conservation and create employment for minorities.

But at best, this vision is only in its infancy. At worst, it may never be realised at all. Recent reports indicate that the industry may take a big hit in future years, given the climate-dependent nature of tourism. Hardest hit could be developing economies with a high dependency on tourism. Moreover, the industry appears to be totally unprepared.

The United National World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) says tourism is now among the world’s largest growth industries, ranking ahead of automotive products, chemicals and food as a primary export earner. With an aggregate market share now comprising 40% of the global market, less developed countries, including island states, have been among the major destinations for international tourists….

Beach at Viña del Mar (Chile), photo by G. Küppers (JordiCubero), Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2

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