Tourism

The biggest threat to Australia’s $40b tourism industry

Daisy Doctor

There’s a major threat to the Australian travel being faced by every sector in the industry.

From cruises to travel agent bookings and even hotel rates, the issue of climate change and its impact on the industry is unavoidable, so how exactly will it affect us all?

According to The Australian, quite a lot.

In a recent story from The Oz, the threat encompasses everything from deadly jellyfish to damaged landmarks.

Natural assets such as Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu National park are responsible for bringing major tourism dollars each year, and if they became inaccessible, so does the $40 billion in tourist revenue to Australia’s economy.

As per The Oz, we could see half the country “unfavourable” to tourists by 2080.

The article refers heavily to a recent report released by the Climate Council which details how our country will be impacted by and, in turn, cope with climate change.

According to The Oz, the paper “warns nature-based tourism dominates the Australian market and cites a survey of Chinese visitors, more than half of whom said they would be inclined to go elsewhere if bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef continued”.

Ecologist and Climate Councillor, Lesley Hughes, has warned areas such as beaches, national parks and wilderness areas will be most in danger.

“Tourists travel across the globe to see Australia’s remarkable natural wonders. But these icons are in the climate firing line as extreme weather events worsen and sea levels continue to rise,” Hughes said.

“Some of our country’s most popular natural destinations, including our beaches could become ‘no-go zones’ during peak holiday periods and seasons, with the ­potential for extreme temperatures to reach up to 50C in Sydney and Melbourne.

“Climate change is placing one of Australia’s most valuable and fastest growing sectors under threat. In 2016 alone, more than eight million international visitors arrived on our shores to see our natural icons, bringing in more than $40bn.

“In fact, tourism employs more than 15 times more people in Australia than coal mining.”

Tourism is Australia’s second-biggest export, so this report should not only be a warning but an industry bible of what we should be collectively doing to keep it thriving.

Travel Weekly recently looked at the impact climate change will have on client bookings for agents.

According to an opinion posted by the ABC by Susanne Becken, agents should be increasingly concerned about the effects of climate change.

For Becken, “Weather not only determines whether we feel “comfortable” — not too hot and not too cold — but it also creates the environmental conditions that we require for particular activities.”

“BUT THE CHANGES HAPPENING TO OUR CLIMATE WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY INFLUENCE OUR FUTURE HOLIDAY PLANNING,” SHE ADDED.

In her opinion piece, Becken detailed the way weather has been changing even in the last half-decade.

“The past few years have produced a range of climate extremes and new records. The 2016/17 summer, for example, broke 205 temperature records across Australia.

“Elsewhere, the holiday paradise of the Caribbean islands saw a record-breaking hurricane season (Harvey, Irma and Maria).

“ANY TYPE OF EXTREME WEATHER MAY NOT ONLY RUIN A HOLIDAY BUT CAN ALSO PUT US AT GREAT DANGER.”

So how exactly will it change booking patterns and client trips?

For Becken, tourism trends will shift in relation to weather.

“While mountains might become more attractive in summer, they will increasingly struggle to maintain viable ski tourism.”

“RESEARCH ON SNOW DEPTHS IN AUSTRALIAN SKI RESORTS SHOWS THAT BY 2040 AND 2090 THERE WILL BE SIGNIFICANT REDUCTIONS, AND SNOWMAKING WILL NOT BE ABLE TO COMPENSATE FOR THIS LOSS IF TEMPERATURES ARE TOO WARM.”


Do you have something to say on this? Get in touch with Travel Weekly Editor Daisy Doctor here to share your thoughts.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

  • Owen Olsen

    The negative affects on tourism will also happen elsewhere. Australia is not unique. The worst thing about climate change is that it has an affect on virtually everything.

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