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Climate change to hit holiday hot spots: UN Report
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April 08, 2008

Some of the best and most desired destinations by travellers will feel the consequences of climate change within the next few decades, a United Nations report has warned.

The destinations to bear the brunt of the changing weather include hotspots in Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, Australia and New Zealand.

In fact, this report has declared that countries, like the Maldives are the most vulnerable to such changes in many aspects as they have "poor" information about the implications of climate change due to their high dependency on tourism.

This report authored by Dr Murray Simpson from Oxford University's Centre for the Environment, has also warned that the tourism sector will face increased operating costs with the probable higher frequency of extreme weather events and the cost of clearing up after them.

"Tourism is both a victim and a contributor to climate change. One of the greatest concerns is that some of the most acute impacts, environmental and socio-economic, are being experienced in developing countries and small island developing states, affecting the livelihoods of already impoverished communities," the Scotsman quoted Simpson, as saying.

"We have a responsibility to assist in building capacity in these destinations to meet the threats and opportunities presented by climate change," he added.

Not only does the study details the environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change in some of the world's most popular holiday destinations, it also offers advice on ways that destinations can adapt.

In fact, it has suggested that ski resorts can offer "four season" attractions which do not rely on snow. It also recommended that new hotel developments should be planned away from the coast in order to avoid damage due to coastal erosion. Besides, it also advised a greater reliance on water recycling systems.

"The tourism sector, through its major contribution to global development, can influence other sectors by sending important signals to governments, industries and the public that climate mitigation and adaptation measures are not only vital for our future, but also make economic sense today," said Stefanos Fotiou, head of UNEP's tourism and environment programme.

 


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