Globally, communities and ecosystems are being impacted by the rise in the temperature of our oceans, severe weather changes, and dwindling natural resources as a result of global warming. Not only does this affect the various ecosystems of the planet, but it also greatly impacts the tourism industry, as well. Your typical tourist destinations — both in tropical climates and freezing tundras — are at great risk of irreversible damage. With this global issue at hand, travel and tourism are placed in a tight spot. Let’s explore how global warming is hurting the tourism sector.
Change in weather patterns
As previously mentioned, one of the most notable effects of climate change is extreme weather conditions, such as massive typhoons and intense snowstorms. These phenomena can make it much more difficult to travel to certain regions, especially during seasons when they occur much more frequently. Conversely, some destinations can experience weather that doesn’t suit the season. Imagine planning a beach getaway, for example, in the summer in order to enjoy the sun and sand, only to be met with gloomy weather throughout the entire duration of your trip.
With the weather being disrupted, you can expect higher temperatures to affect your trips, as well. Species are moving to higher elevations and the poles as a result of rising temperatures. With natural reserves becoming more physically isolated, this could have major effects on ecotourism, including safaris that rely heavily on the appearance of wildlife in order to operate. Just as these animals move towards colder climates, tourists will also want to do the same, especially during hotter months. In some regions of the world, warmer temperatures may cause forest fires to burn more intensely, posing risks to people and wildlife alike.
Disappearance of certain travel destinations
Most individuals spend their vacations in the northern and mountainous areas, seeing as these regions always have beautiful weather. In addition, the sight of snow-covered mountains and snowfall is a sight that many can greatly enjoy. However, as a result of global warming, snowy regions and glaciers melt more quickly than they should, leaving many areas affected by this to either shut down or operate for a shorter period of time.
In addition, islands are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to their small size, remote position, and coastline nature. Already, coastal regions are being inundated, beaches are crumbling, and infrastructure is being damaged by storms and rising sea levels. Some low-lying islands might possibly entirely drown underwater as sea levels continue to rise. Furthermore, the existing few freshwater resources on islands are anticipated to be further stressed by climate change, increasing the possibility of catastrophic water shortages.
Change in the chemistry of the ocean
Oceans absorb more carbon dioxide as a result of the increased levels in the atmosphere brought on by global warming. Acidification results from the formation of carbonic acid, which is produced after carbon dioxide has been dissolved in the water. This phenomenon makes the water much more dangerous to both the marine wildlife that reside within them, as well as the tourists that sail out to these areas.
These areas become unsafe to swim in, so activities like snorkeling and scuba diving can no longer be done. With the acidity affecting the fish and coral reefs, as well, many of these species become vulnerable to disease and eradication.
Decreased availability of natural resources
Another notable impact caused by climate change is the destruction of land and water sources for items such as food and shelter. In relation to the previous point, you’ll often find that businesses close to water, like beach resorts and the like, will rely on these nearby water sources for food to serve. However, due to the unsafe nature of bodies of water affected by acidification, many of the fish in these areas will also be deemed toxic. This can also lead to limited availability of drinkable water.
The bottom line
With global warming growing into a much larger crisis that has ultimately affected various industries and economies worldwide, it’s impossible to ignore its long-term effects any longer. In addition to being a victim of global warming, tourism can also aggravate the earth’s worsening condition, as well. Whenever we travel, carbon emissions are produced all along the way. In addition to these direct emissions, the growth of the tourism industry can also result in the degradation of ecosystems that serve as carbon sinks.
This is why it’s essential to travel responsibly and take active steps to minimize any activities that could further harm the ecosystems of the places you visit. One way you can act as a responsible traveler is by simply managing your waste. Make sure to keep an eye on your trash and dispose of them in its proper bins. If you happen to be visiting any areas with wildlife, make sure to avoid disrupting their daily activities, as well. With small actions like these, you can already make a great difference in further worsening the impacts of global warming.