Good Health and Well-being: Climate Change and Island Tourism

Louise Munk Klint, Terry DeLacy, Sebastian Filep, Dale Dominey-Howes

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review


Climate change is real (IPCC, 2007a). The climate varies naturally, but the rate of change has increased, driven by anthropogenic interferences. Over the last 100 years, 11 of the 12 warmest years occurred in the period from 1995 to 2006. Atmospheric water vapour has increased in the last three decades; a warming of the ocean has occurred causing sea-level rise; westerly winds in mid-latitudes are greater than before; droughts have become longer and more intense; widespread changes have been observed in weather extremes; heavier precipitation is occurring and the intensity of cyclone activity has increased (IPCC, 2007a: 5-9). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007a) highlighted in their Fourth Assessment Report (FAR) that even with greenhouse gas1 (GHG) concentrations stabilised, a general warming of the Earth resulting in sea-level rise will continue due to the so called ‘lag effect’. Climate change is a threat to physical, biological and social systems, and

one of the greatest challenges faced by humanity (Beatley, 2009; Hall and Higham, 2005; IPCC, 2007a; Pearman, 2008; Rechkemmer and von Falkenhayn, 2009; Schnellnhuber et al., 2010; World Bank, 2010). Through its impacts, climate change poses several challenges to the tourism sector that will have significant repercussions, in particular, for small island states (Reddy and Wilkes, 2013). The tourism sector is highly climate sensitive (Becken and Hay, 2007), and as such climate change will influence tourism systems. Different facets of the climate, including aesthetic, physical and thermal, may impact on tourists (Becken and Hay, 2007). For example, changes to the aesthetic facet may affect the attractiveness of a tourist site, while severe weather events may have an effect on the safety of people and places and could influence the level of participation in activities (Becken and Hay, 2007; Scott, Hall and Gössling, 2012). Extreme events will have a greater impact on tourism and other economic sectors closely connected to climate (e.g. forestry, agriculture and health) than sectors not directly connected to the climate (IPCC, 2012). Nevertheless, the effects of climate change may create both risks (e.g. reduced destination attractiveness) and opportunities (e.g. decreased seasonality) (Becken and Hay, 2007; Jopp, DeLacy and Mair, 2010).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTourism in Pacific Islands: Current Issues and Challenges
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

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