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Report: Climate Change Will Severely Impact Tourism

6/19/2014 1:05:50 PM

From thawing ski resorts to eroding coral reefs, the global tourism industry is increasingly threatened by climate change, yet it is also ramping up its greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study released June 17.

The tourism industry may benefit in areas like Alaska and northern Europe -- where "last-chance" tourism to vanishing glaciers has increased -- but the report from Cambridge University's Institute for Sustainability Leadership states that the industry will be "severely impacted" by climate change.

"The opportunities presented by such 'last-chance' tourism will, by definition, be short-lived," the report added.

Warming winters are threatening the viability of some ski resorts. Summer tourism hot spots will also be impacted, according the report. The Costa Brava region on Spain's Mediterranean coast, for instance, has responded to a lack of water and high temperatures during the summer by trying to draw tourists outside those months. The $11.5 billion in revenue generated each year by coral reef tourism is also threatened by acidification and rising sea levels symptomatic of climate change.

East Greenland - Ammassalik District. (Credit: Flickr/ Kitty Terwolbeck)

At the same time, greenhouse gas emissions from tourism could reach 10 percent of the world total by 2025 -- an increase from between 3.9 and 6 percent now. About three-quarters of these emissions come from travel (Alister Doyle, Reuters, June 17).

Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500.

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