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  Yahoo News 3 Oct 07
Tourist industry pledges climate-friendly future

Yahoo News 2 Oct 07
Idyllic holiday destinations raise alarm over climate change
by Peter Capella

PlanetArk 3 Oct 07
Climate Will Alter Travel Patterns in Decades - UN
Story by Laura MacInnis

2 Oct 07
Tourism Industry Faces Rising Climate Change Threat
Story by Laura MacInnis

Yahoo News 1 Oct 07
Tourism set to suffer from the climate change it generates: UN

A booming worldwide tourism industry could prove its own worst enemy by contributing to the global warming that threatens some of the planet's most prized destinations, UN agencies warned Monday.

If no measures are taken, tourism's impact on climate change is set to more than double in the next 30 years, according to advance data from a report by the UN tourism, environment and weather agencies.

"The tourism industry is both challenged by climate change and a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions," UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner said at an international conference in Davos, Switzerland.

Coastal, mountain and nature destinations, especially in poor countries or island states like the Maldives, are likely to be the most affected by weather shifts and rising sea levels or temperatures, according to extracts from the report on climate change and tourism.

While travel to other destinations in more temperate areas might grow, global warming could drain a vital part of the economic lifeblood of some least-developed countries, it added.

UN World Tourism Organisation Secretary General Franco Frangialli called for immediate action from the industry and public authorities, even though tourism's contribution to global warming is smaller than many other industries.

"Climate change is pushing the world of tourism to a revolution, not only an economic and technological one, but also a cultural one," he told the three day conference in this Swiss Alpine resort

"The Swiss Alps suffered due to a lack of snow this winter and it's not due to chance. Tourism contributes to climate change just as it is a victim (of it)," he added.

Transport, accommodation and other tourism activites already account for four to six percent of global greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change, according to the report, which is due to be released later this year.

But the industry's growth could lead to a 150 percent increase in its carbon dioxide emissions alone in the next 30 years, the UNWTO, UNEP and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) agencies said.

Just under three-quarters of the carbon dioxide produced by tourism comes for transport -- 40 percent from aircraft and 32 percent from cars, while accommodation accounts for an estimated 21 percent, the report said.

Emissions are being driven by the rapid increase in international travel, with about 846 million international trips worldwide last year and growing at an average annual rate of 6.5 percent since 1950, according to the UNWTO.

The number of international trips is expected to nearly double to 1.6 billion by 2020.

The global tourist industry is now worth 880 billion dollars annually, surpassing oil exports, food production or the auto industry, it said.

Travel to and from the poorest countries that rely heavily on tourism represents only a small proportion of trips but they are among the ones most exposed to climate change, Frangialli stressed.

He said that overall efforts in the industry to tackle climate change could also contribute to poverty reduction in such countries.

"Tourism is an important player in both as it represents the main economic driving force for several developing states," Frangialli said.

The Davos meeting is due to set the agenda for a ministerial summit on tourism and climate change in London on November 13.

PlanetArk 2 Oct 07
Tourism Industry Faces Rising Climate Change Threat
Story by Laura MacInnis

DAVOS, Switzerland - Booming demand for international travel is exacerbating climate change pressures and threatening many coastal, mountain and outdoor destinations, United Nations experts said on Monday.

Tourism currently accounts for 5 percent of global emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, and the sector's contribution to global warming is expected to jump as increasing numbers of people travel, particularly by air.

"The tourism industry is going to double between now and 2020. We cannot afford that the emissions also double in the same time," World Tourism Organisation Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli told journalists during a conference in the Swiss resort of Davos.

In a report prepared for the three-day meeting of scientists, politicians and industry officials, the UN agency said global warming may extend the summers of northern countries such as Canada, Britain and Russia, and create new opportunities for travel in polar regions.

But most sites, particularly in poorer and island nations where tourism can generate up to 40 percent of economic output, were seen at risk from rising world temperatures and resultant environmental shifts.

"There are few other economic activities that are so dependent on climate as tourism," the World Tourism Organisation report noted.

"All destinations will have to adapt at some level," lead author Daniel Scott told the Davos conference.

Beach tourism and winter sports have already felt the pinch of rising temperatures, which scientists say will cause more hot days, strong winds, tropical storms, intense rainfall, droughts and wildfires, the Madrid-based agency said.

Many coastal areas have seen beach erosion from storms, more algae blooms, and jellyfish infestations because of warmer than normal sea temperatures. Mountain resorts have coped with less snow and shorter ski seasons.


Areas dependent on scuba diving and snorkelling were also seen under threat from climate change.

"Most of the world's coral reefs would die off with only a 3 degree Celsius increase in sea temperatures and the myriad of colourful fish and sea creatures that live in the reefs would also disappear," the report found.

Referring to scientists' findings that projected temperature rises could threaten extinction for up to 30 percent of animal and plant species, the World Tourism Organisation also flagged "a spectacular decrease" in the number of lions, elephants and rhinoceroses in Africa, hurting safari operators.

It also said the Maldives, whose economy relies heavily on tourism, could lose entire islands with a small increase in sea levels, while urban sites such as Venice and lower Manhattan could also be submerged.

While declining to estimate potential losses to the sector from unmitigated climate change, Frangialli warned damage to tourist sites could cause severe job losses and economic disruption.

"The consequences for some destinations could be very strong," he said.

PlanetArk 3 Oct 07
Climate Will Alter Travel Patterns in Decades - UN
Story by Laura MacInnis

DAVOS, Switzerland - Global warming will produce stay-at-home tourists over the next few decades, radically altering travel patterns and threatening jobs and businesses in tourism-dependent countries, according to a stark assessment by U.N experts.

The UN Environment Programme, the World Meteorological Organisation and the World Tourism Organisation said concerns about weather extremes and calls to reduce emissions-heavy air travel would make long-haul flights less attractive.

Holiday-makers from Europe, Canada, the United States and Japan were likely to spend more vacations in or near their home countries to take advantage of longer summers, they said.

In a report prepared for a UN conference on climate change and tourism, they projected that global warming would reduce demand for travel between northern Europe and the Mediterranean, between North America and the Caribbean, and between northeast Asia and southeast Asia.

"The geographic and seasonal redistribution of tourist demand may be very large for individual destinations and countries by mid- to late-century," the agencies said.

"This shift in travel patterns may have important implications, including proportionally more tourism spending in temperate nations and proportionally less spending in warmer nations now frequented by tourists from temperate regions."

However, overall travel demand was expected to grow by between 4 and 5 percent a year, with international arrivals doubling to 1.6 billion by 2020.

In some developing and island states, tourism accounts for as much as 40 percent of national economic output.

Officials from tourism-dependent countries such as the Maldives, Fiji, the Seychelles and Egypt told the conference that shifts in travel choices, and ecological damage from global warming, posed serious threats to their businesses and jobs.

"Tourism is a catalyst to the economy. If you are hitting the tourism sector, automatically this rocks the whole economic machinery," Michael Nalletamby of the Seychelles Tourism Board told the Davos conference.

Christopher Rodrigues, chairman of the British government agency VisitBritain, said the sector needed to find ways to reduce the effects of ever-increasing travel demand on the environment, which in turn affects the industry's health.

"The biggest risk is that the success of the tourist industry becomes its own undoing," he told the conference.

Yahoo News 2 Oct 07
Idyllic holiday destinations raise alarm over climate change
by Peter Capella

Idyllic island and beach holiday destinations on Tuesday launched their cry of alarm about the impact of climate change, warning that it was threatening their scenery and their livelihoods.

Tourism and government officials from Australia, Egypt, Fiji and the Seychelles underlined that rising sea levels, warmer temperatures and storms were damaging beaches and coral reefs that underpin a vital part of their economies.

"The issue of climate change is no longer an issue for the future, it is an issue for today," Fiji's Secretary for Tourism Bannve Kuamaitotoya told the UN meeting on climate change and tourism.

"There is a sense of urgency in the south Pacific," she added.

The south Pacific island attracts 500,000 visitors a year and its tourism industry accounts for 80 percent of development projects.

However, climate change threatens to erode beaches and bring more frequent and intense storms, undermining Fiji's attractiveness to investors and tourists, Kuamaitotoya said.

Similar concerns were expressed by the Maldives and the Seychelles, island chains in the Indian Ocean, which are confronted by rising sea levels.

Abudllah Mausoom, director general of the Maldives tourism board, underlined said the low lying islands' popularity depended on their natural beauty.

"We have our crystal clear lagoons, snow white beaches, coloured waves, the small animals that live in the reefs and the Maldives sunrise and sunsets," Mausoom said.

"This is our product. Climate change can change all of this. Climate change will change the nature of beauty," he added.

At just 1.3 metres (four feet) above sea level, three-quarters of the islands forming the Maldives are among the most vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by melting polar ice caps, scientists on the UN's panel on climate change have predicted.

Tourism in the Maldives accounts for one-third of national income, about a similar level to the Seychelles.

"Pull out tourism and you pull out 60 to 80 percent of activity in the country," said Michael Nalletamby of the Seychelles tourism board.

"The big picture is scary," he added.

Australian Greater Barrier Reef authority chief Andrew Skeat underlined the impact of coral bleaching caused by higher water temperatures on the country's six billion dollar tourist attraction.

About 10 percent of the huge coral reef was damaged by punctual sea temperature rises in 1998 and 2000, Skeat said, also highlighting the impact of more frequent, intense storms on the reef and wildlife.

"It's coral which brings people to the reef," he added.

Egyptian tourism ministry official Mahmoud El Kaissouni highlighted projections of rising sea levels eating away at its Mediterranean coastline and other climatic shifts.

Tourism generates 7.5 billion dollars for the Egyptian economy and provides 12 percent of the labour force with their main source of revenue, especially in coastal resorts, he told the meeting.

Coral bleaching is also sapping the colour from the underwater reefs that are a big attraction for Egypt's Red Sea resorts.

"Of the nine million tourists who visited Egypt last year, three million were divers," Kaissouni said.

Island states raised concerns about long-term measures that might be taken if the industry fails to tackle global warming, especially on air travel, which accounts for 40 percent of tourism's harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

While urging greater efforts to curb emissions, Nalletamby warned that any cutback in long-haul flights would stifle tourism. Seventy-eight percent of travellers to the the Maldives take a nine hour flight from Europe.

Yahoo News 3 Oct 07
Tourist industry pledges climate-friendly future

Tourism chiefs and UN agencies on Wednesday pledged to "green" the travel trade while highlighting the 880 billion dollar industry's own vulnerability to global warming.

In a four page declaration, UN tourism, environment and weather agencies, national tourism officials and executives from 100 countries agreed the industry must "rapidly respond to climate change" and take "concrete measures" to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

They also said at the end of a three-day UN conference on tourism and global warming that tourists should be encouraged to consider the environmental impact of their travel choices and reduce their "carbon footprint."

The declaration will be put to a ministerial meeting in London on November 13, officials said.

"The immediate risk is that tourism is demonised for its carbon footprint and regulated because the industry doesn't act to regulate itself," said Christopher Rodrigues, chairman of the VisitBritain tourism board.

Tourism accounts for up to six percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to a UN report in Davos, and the number of travellers is due to more than double by 2020.

Air transport currently accounts for about 40 percent of these industry emissions, followed by car travel on 32 percent and accommodation 21 percent.

On Tuesday, a EU parliamentary committee called for controversial carbon emission trading rules on all flights in and out of Europe to be introduced in 2010, earlier than planned.

Andreas Fischlin, a leading scientist on the UN's International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told the meeting in Davos that 25 to 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions behind climate change needed to be cut by 2020.

"Tourism has to contribute to mitigation: it's a cause of the problem and has to take up its share," Fischlin said, warning that some warming was already inevitable.

The measures advocated by the conference included greater energy efficiency, use of renewable energy, better conservation of natural areas to serve as "earth lungs," technological or design measures to avoid pollution, and staff education on climate change.

IPCC reports released earlier this year underlined that tropical cyclones, storm surges, temperature shifts, and changes in rain and snowfall were already harming tourism in some cases.

The UN World Tourism Organisation predicted this week that climate change would trigger "very large" shifts in travel habits around the world.

In Davos, island states, beach holiday and winter destinations stressed their concerns about shifts in weather patterns, rising sea levels and declining snow cover that in some instances were eating away at their greatest economic asset.

"What's the main image used to promote a tourist destination? It's a nice landscape," a UNWTO official pointed out.

Several vulnerable tourist destinations, especially tropical islands like the Maldives and Seychelles, urged greater efforts to curb emissions but also voiced concern about possible restrictions or big taxes on long haul air travel.

The declaration underlined that new tourism policies must reflect a combination of environmental, climate change, social and economic needs.

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