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Climate Change is no more a myth, it’s real and it’s here. It is the biggest threat we face today and has the power to impact all life forms on this planet directly and indirectly. Travel and tourism is one such industry where the direct impacts of climate change are visible and will get worse if no necessary steps are taken.

In this blog, we will discuss what is climate change and how climate change is affecting the vacation industry.

What is Climate Change and how it’s impacting the earth?

In simple words, climate change refers to changes in temperature and weather patterns due to natural and unnatural causes. The natural cause of climate change occurs very slowly which usually happens over thousands or even millions of years, this could happen due to solar variation, volcanic eruptions, earth’s orbital changes, or other green gas emissions from plants and animals. On the other hand, the unnatural cause of climate change is mainly due to human activities such as deforestation, fossil fuel consumption, industrial &, auto-mobile carbon emission, mining, etc.

Climate change impacts the earth on different fronts. With a rapid increase in temperature, the glacier melts and the sea level rises, consequently, we will be witnessing receding coastal areas, disruption of the coastal ecosystem, coastal flooding, and contamination of groundwater, and a heavy and irregular monsoon. 

Impact of Climate Change on the Tourism Industry

Tourism is one of the main factors that run the local economy of a popular vacation destination and these places are very sensitive to climate change. Tourist destinations and the recreational activities it provides, in particular, are highly dependent on weather and seasons which dictate the time of travel to these destinations.  Accessibility to these tourist destinations is another factor that can get damaged badly due to the adverse effects of extreme weather.

Following are some of the impacts on tourism due to climate change:

Impact on Island and coastal Destinations:

Island and coastal destinations are one of the most popular summer vacation destinations and these areas are also one of the most vulnerable to climate change. As a result of an increase in temperature, seawater level expands and eroded coastlines. In addition to this, extreme weather leads to intense storms which consequently flood the coastal areas.

Impact on Coral Reefs:

Coral reefs play an important role in our ecosystem and at the same time are considered great tourist attractions. However, due to the increase in greenhouse gases from human activities, the oceans that support these coral reefs are getting warmer resulting in mass coral bleaching and reduced calcification rate which in turn impact the life of organisms and fish that depended on it.

Effect on Scuba and Snorkeling: 

Scuba diving and snorkeling are very important markets for tourism, generating billions worth of revenue every year, however, these popular recreational activities are also getting affected by climate change. As stated above, climate change leads to coral bleaching and dead reefs hardly attract divers. 

Threat to Winter Activities:

 Vacation destinations located in cold regions also face the threat of 

Climate change. These destinations depend on winter activities and sports like snow tubing, skiing, etc. to attract tourists across the globe, however, due to warm weather there will not be enough snow to enjoy winter activities. And without winter activities these tourist destinations will incur huge losses. 

Affect on Nature and Wildlife: 

Hiking and wildlife views are popular getaway activities but can become things of the past if the current trend continues. There are thousands of beautiful hiking trails around the globe wherein hikers and tourist enjoy their time with nature. Unfortunately, melting glaciers, soil erosion, and dry weather make these routes dangerous for hiking. Similarly, deforestation combined with other man-made calamities paved way for habitat loss and the extinction of several species of flora and fauna. Consequently, we are witnessing more cases of human-animal encounters. 

Way Forward

Tourism and related activities contribute 8% of global green gas emissions and a major portion of this emission comes from transportation. So, you might be wondering what’s the way forward. Do we all need to stop going on vacation? And the answer is a big ‘NO’, you don’t have to. Instead, you can adopt a few small changes that will make big differences. 

Reduce Carbon Footprint

As stated earlier, transportation is one of the major contributors to green gas emissions, and in order to cut down on this we need to travel responsibly. Here are some of the ideas which will help you reduce your carbon footprint.

When planning a vacation near your home, switch to a more environment-friendly mode of transportation like a train or bus. If going with family then traveling by car is also a good option to reduce carbon footprint per person.

If traveling to a far-away destination then try to book a non-stop flight as it releases less CO2 in comparison to a stopover and layover flight. 

Once you reach your vacation destination, opt for environment-friendly travel options such as a bike and engage in more eco-friendly activities like canoeing, cycling, walking, horseback riding, snorkeling, pedal boats, etc.

Say No To Plastic

According to The World Counts, close to 5 trillion plastic bags have been used by humans which is 700 per person annually. The bad news is that it takes close to a thousand years for these bags to break down. Additionally, we use 100 million tons of plastic every year out of which 10% of it ends up in the ocean.  So, when traveling keep a reusable travel bag, water bottle, and straws, collapsible coffee mugs, and carry your own toiletries. This way you are not just reducing the use of plastic but instead making your vacation plastic-free.

Look for Eco-Friendly Accommodation

Selecting an eco-friend accommodation is the right way of reducing the negative impact on the environment. Most eco-friendly accommodation uses fewer resources and also offers a healthier atmosphere than traditional stays.

Bottomline

These are some of the simple and effective ways to reduce the negative impacts of tourism on the environment. So, switch to an eco-friendly way of enjoying your vacation and be a part of making this planet a better place for all.

Plan your next eco-friendly vacation to the climate-friendly places of the Poconos and book your stay with HolidayKeepers where we offer you an environment-friendly vacation home with elegant amenities for a perfect vacation.