Selasa, 16 Juni 2009

THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON TOURISM

By : Ni Made Tirtawati

Tourism and Climate

International tourism is the largest and most rapidly expanding economic activity in the world today. As reported by the World Tourism Organization, travel and tourism involved 625 million people internationally and generated $ US 445 million in receipts in 1998 (WTO, 1999). Tourism is an important contributor to the economies of most countries and some can represent up to one fifth of GDP. The global tourism industry is expected to grow significantly in the future as personal incomes and leisure time increase, and transportation networks improve.

Many aspects of our lives are influenced by the weather and the climate, from the crops we grow to the social activities we engage in. The natural environment and climate conditions are very important in determining the attractiveness of a region as a holiday destinations. So, climate is a key resource for tourism (Davos Declaration, 2007). Tourism is obviously related to climate. This was a study by Hu and Ritchie (1993) in Hamilton (2007), who review several studies from the 1970’s and found that “natural beauty and climate” were of universal importance in defining destinations attractiveness. The environment is one of the most basic resources for tourism; yet unchecked growth in tourism inevitably leads to modifications of the environment. In turn, tourism is having an effect on the environment and climate. For example, the expansion in air travel is itself increasing emissions of greenhouse gases and enhancing the risk of continued global warming (IPCC, 1999).

Now, there are issues about climate change? What is climate change, what the impact of climate change, and what can we do about it? This paper aims to explain the extent to which climate change may affect the environmental system of a range of tourist destination and the potential impact these changes may have on tourism (case study : tourism in Bali). The methodology of this paper is explained by literature research.

What is Climate Change ?

The climate system is dynamic and varies on all time scales. The first things to be clear about is that climate change is not new. The global climate has always fluctuated. Millions of years ago, some parts of the world that are now quite warm were covered with ice, and over more recent centuries, average temperatures have risen and fallen in cycles, as a result of fluctuations of solar radiation, or the periodic eruption of volcanoes. What is new, however, is that current and future climate change will be caused not just by natural events but also by the activities of human beings.

According to www.wikipedia.com, climate change is any long-term significant change in the “average weather” that a given region experiences. Average weather may include average temperature, precipitation and wind patterns. It involves changes in the variability or average state of the atmosphere over durations ranging from decades to millions of years. These changes can be caused by dynamic processes on earth, external forces including variations in sunlight intensity, and more recently by human activities. Our accelerated economic development is having a serious impact on the world’s climate, for example : burning of fossil fuels, most notably coal and oil, cutting down forrest, cement manufacture and land use.

The damage is being caused principally through the production of “greenhouse” gases (GHGs), so called because they have effect similar to the glass roof of a greenhouse. They allow the sun’s rays to penetrate the atmosphere so as to heat up the earth, but they prevent part of the energy from being radiated back into space. As a result, the earth and its atmosphere are slowly heating up.

With increasing emissions and less absorptions, the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is now reaching very high level. The global body charged with monitoring this issue, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that between 1750 and 2005, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide increased from about 280 to 379 parts per million and has recently been increasing at a rate of 1.9 parts per million per year. Over the last century we have seen an increase of over 0,6 oC. As a result, by 2100, global surface temperature could rise between 1.8 and 2.9 degree centigrade. Climate changes characterized as global warming are leading to large-scale irreversible effects at continental and global scales.

The Impact of Climate Change

The temperature rise may not seem very great, but in some countries, it could have a major impact. Exactly what will happen is difficult to predict. The global climate is very complex system and global warming will interact many other influences, it will make many of our existing climatic problems worse. Effects of global warming on the environment and human are numerous and varied. While the impact of climate change will vary from region to region, it’s clear that almost every place on the planet will be affected. (http:// www.The nature conservancy.org/climatechange)

Scenarios studied by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predict that global warming will continue and get worse much faster than was expected even in their last report. IPCC reports attribute many specific natural phenomena to human causes. The expected long range effects of recent climate change may already be observed. Rising sea level, glacier retreat, Arctic shrinkage, and altered patterns of agriculture are cited as direct consequences of human activities. Predictions for secondary and regional effects include extreme weather, an expansion of tropical diseases, change in the timing of seasonal patterns in ecosystems, and drastic economic impact.

According to The Nature Conservancy (2008), examine some of the most dangerous consequences of climate change are higher temperatures, changing landscapes, wildlife at risk, rising seas, increased risk of drought, fire and floods, stronger storms and increased storm damage, more heat-related and disease, and economic losses.

Tourism And Climate Change

The tourism is particularly affected by climate change, but there have been few studies specifying the impact of climate change on tourism for the certain country. Qualitative impact studies of climate change have been carried out for the Mediterranean (Nicholls and Hoozeman, 1996 and Perry, 2000), the Caribbean (Gable, 1997), Wetland areas in Canada (Wall, 1990) and the German coast (Krupp, 1997 and Lohmann, 2001). These studies vary in their focus and techniques. Lars Hein, a researcher of Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Norway have analyzed the impact of climate change on tourism in Spain. The paper analyzed how the suitability of the Spainish climate for tourism will change, and how this will affect tourism flows to Spain. (www.cicero.uio.no)

The tourism sector is highly sensitive to the impacts of climate change and global warming, many elements of which are already being felt. The potential impacts of climate change have significant considerations for planning in the tourist industry. With an indication of likely climate related trends in tourist volumes, decisions makers should be better equipped to manage transport, catering and accommodation requirements more effectively. Moreover, environmental management considerations are wide and varying. From the prevention of coastal flooding and erosion to the conservation of water resources, the control of forest and bush fires, and the conservation of vulnerable flora and fauna.

Viner and Agnew have studied climate change and its impact on tourism in several of destination. This sample of destinations is chosen to reflect differences climate, the environment and the socioeconomic conditions. The sample of destinations are listed in the below.

  1. The Maldives (beach resort and coral reefs)
  2. The European Alps (Garmish-Parten Kirchen, Germany Kitzbuhe, Austria)
  3. The Eastern Mediterranean (Greece and Turkey)
  4. Southern Spain (The Costa’s)
  5. UK (Scottish ski resorts)
  6. East and South Africa (Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania Masa Mara, Kenya)
  7. European Lakes (Lake Zurich)
  8. Australia (Snowy mountains Great Barrier Reef Interior Bush Beaches and Coast).
  9. Florida and SE Coastline, UK (Assateague National Seashore, Maryland)
  10. Brazilia (The Amazone rainforest)

Based on the research, Viner and Agnew (1999) explained that two different types of climate change are recognized : direct and indirect impact.

· Direct impact

Climate change may directly influences tourism via the decision making process. Climate has a direct impact on such decisions as : “when to go on holiday” and “where to go on holiday?” Weather and climate influence decisions both at the destination and at the source region.

· Indirect impact

These arise mainly as a result of the impact of climate change on the environment of destination. For the example, without intervention, sea level rise and its effects on coastal erosion will severely threaten recreation and tourist activities associated with coastal locations. Decreasing snow cover and duration may adversely affect low lying ski resort in the European Alps. A reduction in air quality associated with an increase in the incidence of photochemical smog is already noticeable in many large metropolitan areas such as Athens and Los Angeles.

Many regions have become popular tourist destinations as a result of some unique environmental feature, for example, the Barrier Reef in Australia and the Amazon Forest in Brazil. However, recent scientific research suggests that a continued warming trend will have a detrimental impact upon these ecosystems, in the form of coral bleaching and forest die back.

The Geography and Ecology of Bali

Bali is an Indonesian island located at 8°25′23″S 115°14′55″E / -8.42306, 115.24861Coordinates: 8°25′23″S 115°14′55″E / -8.42306, 115.24861, the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east.

The island of Bali lies 3.2 km (2 mi) east of Java, and is approximately 8 degrees south of the equator. East to west, the island is approximately 153 km (95 mi) wide and is approximately 112 km (69 mi) north to south; it's land area is 5,632 km². In the south the land descends to form an alluvial plain, watered by shallow, north-south flowing rivers, drier in the dry season and overflowing during periods of heavy rain. The longest of these rivers, Sungai Ayung, is also the longest on the island (approx. 75 km). The island is surrounded by coral reefs. Beaches in the south tend to have white sand while those in the north and west have black sand. The beach town of Padangbai in the south east has both.

To the east, the Lombok Strait separates Bali from Lombok and marks the biogeographical division between the fauna of the Indomalayan ecozone and the distinctly different fauna of Australasia. The transition is known as the Wallace Line, named after Alfred Russel Wallace, who first proposed transition zone between these two major biomes. When sea levels dropped during the Pleistocene ice age, Bali was connected to Java and Sumatra and to the mainland of Asia and shared the Asian fauna, but the deep water of the Lombok Strait continued to keep Lombok and the Lesser Sunda archipelago isolated.

The Balis’ climate is tropical. The mean annual temperatures are between 20 to 33 degrees Celsius or 68 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. From December to March, the West monsoon can bring heavy showers and high humidity, but usually days are sunny and the rains start during the night and pass quickly. From June to September the humidity is low, and it can be quite cool in the evenings. During this time of the year, it will have hardly any rain in the coastal areas.

The Impact of Climate Change on Tourism in Bali

During the 1990s, tourism in Bali island became one of the most important and highest growth sectors of the economy. Significant tourism exists in the north, centre and east of the island, the tourist industry is overwhelmingly focused in the south. Bali island have become popular tourist destinations as a result of some unique environmental feature, for the example the natural attractions (beaches, lake, mountain, coral reef).

The main tourist locations are the town of Kuta (with its beach), and its outer suburbs (which were once independent townships) of Legian and Seminyak, Sanur, Jimbaran, Ubud, and the newer development of Nusa Dua.

The tourist locations most sensitive to climate change in Bali. The low elevation of Bali island make it particularly vulnerable to sea level rise. At best a rise in sea level until 6 metres would cause coastal erosion and threat many tourist location in the beach. (Jhamtani, 2007). As the result, most of Bali island will be destroyed by the erosion in 2030. In general these effected areas mostly in suburbs are in Bali such as Kuta, Sanur, Nusa Dua, Tanah Lot, Candi Dasa, Tulamben, Nusa Lembongan, and Lovina

The coral reefs provide protection and stability to the island, represent a great biological diversity of marine ecosystems and have become a very important attraction for tourist. Tourism in Bali is the fastest growing economic sector associated with coral reefs and is set to double in the very near future. Many of the tourists who visit the Bali do so for diving experiences. The tourist activities are related to the beach are quite most sensitive to climate change are diving (Amed, Tulamben, Nusa Penida, Gili Topekong, Padang Bai, Nusa Dua, Menjangan island, Pemuteran, Lovina), watersport (Tanjung Benoa) and cruises (The Lembongan Island)

Sea level rise and bigger storm are expected to degrade or destroy coastal barrier beaches. A temperature increase of only 1 or 2 oC could not only cause coral “bleaching”, (death of the coral caused by increased sea temperatures) but also increase the threat of subsequent flooding. According to a research of WWF Bali, Dewantama (2007), the temperature increase have caused coral bleaching in Menjangan Island and West Bali National Park. (http://www.rumahtulisan.com/kliping/sebagian-bali-terancam-tenggelam.html). Degradation of coastal ecosystems, especially wetlands and coral reefs, has serious implications for the well being of societies dependent on the coastal ecosystems for good and services. (Nicholls, etc, 2007). Of course, it would happened in tourism services in Bali.

Global warming is threatening the freshwater ecosystems upon which many outdoor recreational and tourist activities depend. Much tourist outdoor recreation takes place along the shorelines of freshwater lakes. Increasing temperature and evaporation rates will lower lake levels and may change the tourist potentials, such as in Batur Lake, Beratan Lake, Buyan Lake and Tambingan Lake. Without appropriate action, the Balinese lake and their associated activities are threatened.

The other hand, changing temperatures and patterns of rainfall are expected to alter the geographical distribution of insect vectors that spread infectious diseases. Of these diseases, malaria and dengue are of greatest public health concern. (WHO, 2008). It is very dangerous, for Bali as tourist destination.

Finally, the tourism sector must rapidly respond to climate change, within the evolving UN framework and progressively reduce its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) contribution if it is to grow in a sustainable manner. This will require action to :

· Mitigation its GHGs emissions, derived especially from transport and accommodation activities;

· Adapt tourism businesses and destinations to changing climate conditions;

· Apply exising and new technology to improve energy efficiency;

· Secure financial resources to help poor regions and countries

Conclusion

The natural environment and climate conditions are very important in determining the attractiveness of a region as a holiday destinations. Climate is a key resources for tourism.

The tourism sector is highly sensitive to the impacts of climate change and global warming, many element of which are already being felt. A continued warming trend will have a detrimental impact upon these ecosystems of tourist destination.

There is a need to urgently adopt a range of policies which encourages truly sustainable tourism that reflects a “quadruple bottom line” of environmental, social, economic and climate change responsiveness.

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