For tourism, climate change is not a remote event, but a phenomenon that already affects the sector and certain destinations, in particular, mountain regions and coastal destinations among others. At the same time, the tourism sector is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), especially through the transport of tourists.
Climate is an essential resource for tourism, and especially for the beach, nature and winter sport tourism segments. Changing climate and weather patterns at tourist destinations and tourist generating countries can significantly affect the tourists’ comfort and their travel decisions.
Changing demand patterns and tourist flows will have impacts on tourism businesses and on host communities, as well as knock off effects on related sectors, such as agriculture, handicrafts or construction.
In small island states and developing countries, where tourism is a major economic activity, any significant reduction in tourist arrivals will have serious employment impacts and generate further poverty.
Since the 1st International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism, convened by UNWTO in Djerba, Tunisia in 2003, a growing body of knowledge has been generated addressing the complex relationships between the tourism sector and climate change with important research activities on this subject
There is now a wide recognition of the urgent need for the tourism industry, national governments and international organizations to develop and implement strategies to face the changing climate conditions and to take preventive actions for future effects, as well as to mitigate tourism’s environmental impacts contributing to climate change.