According to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it concludes that human influence on the climate system is unequivocal and that it has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land. It’s igniting more intrigue than a mystery novel. The travel industry might be on its last legs. But before you pack up your suitcase and cancel your plans, let’s dissect the evidence and see what we find.
To understand if the fuss about “climate change” is worrisome, let’s briefly understand the effect it has and is predicted to have on Earth;
Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. These events can damage or destroy tourist infrastructure, making it difficult or impossible for travelers to visit certain destinations. Australian bushfires, Hurricane IDA, and European floods in 2021 are prime examples of this.
A 2020 study published in the journal Nature Climate Change identifies that Sea level rise is threatening coastal tourist destinations around the world. Beaches, hotels, and other tourist infrastructure are being inundated by rising waters. To verify if this is a true fact, we can take a look at Maldives. The islands are low-lying and are therefore vulnerable to sea level rise. In recent years, the islands have experienced more frequent and severe flooding. In 2018, the government of the Maldives announced that it was planning to relocate the entire population of the islands to higher ground due to sea level rise.
A report by Intrepid, one of the biggest names in the travel business, explains what travel destinations would look like by 2040 if no major actions were taken by the authorities. The report suggests that virtual holidays may become more normal as technology advances. The dangers climate change brings upon the usual destinations, i.e. hill stations, ski resorts, etc., and incidents such as the floods and landslides earlier this year in northern Pakistan resulting in casualties have created a negative image of traveling to these places for people that love their lives dearly.
The report further highlights how authorities could change travel for the better by outlining a few key trends it predicts will shape the future.
For instance, the report suggests that by 2040, governments will be required to implement regulations on travel businesses to ensure that the majority of money spent by tourists in a destination stays in the local economy. This basically means that It’d be more beneficial for the people who have a kind of inherent right to it. This is a major problem in South Asian travel destinations where locals are exploited by outside big-time companies, thus resulting in a sort of clash between the locals and the authorities.
Moreover, The Sustainable Future for Travel analysis predicts carbon tracking will become “even more individualized thanks to AI.” It reads that, “Travelers will log daily emissions and track travel metrics in real-time to reduce their footprint to meet individual carbon goals.
Lastly, Darrel Wade, the president of Intrepid, said, ” The direct, catastrophic impact of climate change has for too long been viewed as something distant in the future. But this is no longer an impending event; it’s happening now. Tourism must evolve and become regenerative, as the current model is unsustainable. There is limited time left, and immediate collective action and innovation is needed to decarbonize travel together and truly achieve the immense potential for sustainable development within our industry.”
In conclusion, the rumors are true and should not be taken lightly, economies depending solely on travel will take a hit, and something should be done about it.