Climate change is set to make our holidays look very different


September 14. The tourism sector alone is responsible for an estimated 8%–10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. And conditions at traditional holiday destinations in high summer are becoming increasingly unpleasant if not downright hazardous.

During the past year, numerous climate records have been broken as heatwaves and wildfires ravaged large parts of Europe, Asia and North America. In July, both Sardinia and Sicily experienced temperatures in excess of 46°C, nearly breaking European records.

Most of what we do while on holiday, particularly on holidays abroad, releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and ultimately has an impact on the climate. But the way most of us get there – by flying – is potentially most damaging.

As the effects of climate change become increasingly severe, there’s genuine concern that traditional destinations will become too hot in summer to remain appealing to visitors.

Researchers have been trying to predict the future of tourism for quite some time. One idea is that tourism will undergo a “poleward shift” as global warming causes temperatures to rise not only in traditionally hot regions, but also in locations further to the north and south.

Approximately half of global tourism is concentrated in coastal areas. So another concern is the potential loss of beaches due to rising sea levels. In the Caribbean, an estimated 29% of resort properties would be partially or fully inundated by one metre of sea-level rise – though many of these resorts would have lost a significant amount of their beach area before this.

The impact of climate change on tourism will extend beyond just coastal areas. Many popular city break destinations, including Porto in Portugal, are expecting to endure more severe heat. Tourism in mountainous areas will be affected, too, as accelerated snow melt leads to shorter ski seasons.

Source: The Conversation

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