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Climate Change and Ecotourism: Challenges and Opportunities The North American Ecotourism Conference Madison, Wisconsin September 27, 2007

Robert B. Richardson, Ph.D. Michigan State University


Outline „ „ „

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Climate change Climate change and tourism Case study I: Mountain tourism (Colorado) Case study II: Coastal tourism (Belize) Implications for transport


Climate Change „

Demonstrable changes in global and regional climate • Temperature • Sea levels • Tropical cyclones (intensity, frequency)

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Indirect impacts to natural resources • Biodiversity • Erosion/inundation • Coral bleaching


Climate Change (continued) „

Changes in natural resources may have measurable economic effects • Demand for tourism • Regional economy of gateway communities

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Economic vulnerability for tourism • Dependence on natural resources • Dependence on coastal systems

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Responses • • •

Mitigation Adaptation Retreat


Climate Change and Tourism Two relationships: Climate change Æ natural resources 1. - Tourism must adapt to changes that affect its sustainability 2.

Tourism Æ climate change - Tourism contributes to climate change through uses of fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gases


Economic Uncertainty „

Resource managers and planners face uncertainty of: • Climate impacts on resources • Climate impacts on tourism Direct impacts (temperature, precipitation) „ Indirect (changes in natural resources) „

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Gateway communities face economic uncertainties Which risks are most significant for adapting to the effects of climate change?


Case Study I: Mountain Tourism „

Mountain communities are increasinglydependent on nature-based tourism • Summer recreation (parks, wilderness) • Winter recreation (skiing)

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Outlook for alpine ski industry is gloomy • Previous estimates: 40-100% loss of ski season due to climate change (McBoyle & Wall, 1992) • Integration of snow-making technology reduces losses to 16-52% (Scott, et al, 2002)

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Regional economic impact: • Losses of US$20-70 million in Ontario (Scott, et al, 2002) • Losses of US$1.4 billion in Switzerland (Meier, 1998)

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Adaptation – seasonal, structural


Mountain Tourism (continued) „

Study of impacts of climate change in Rocky Mountain National Park area • Ecological • Economic

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Climate change effects suggest longer summer season, expanded shoulder seasons; changes in wildlife, vegetation Economic analysis concerned with impact to tourism, gateway community Objective: to inform park management, community planners


Rocky Mountain National Park „ „

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Gateway community: Estes Park, CO Annual visitation: approximately 3.1 million Seasonal variability: 87% of annual visitation occurs between May and October Chief economic driver of Estes Park 416 square miles (approximately 266,000 acres) Dozens of mountains over 13,000 feet in elevation Habitat for elk, moose, bighorn sheep


Rocky Mountain National Park


Rocky Mountain National Park


Contingent Behavior Analysis „ „

Survey-based technique Description of climate effects 1. 2.

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Direct – visitor experience Indirect – effects on park resources

Questions about contingent change in tourist behavior

• Number of visits per year • Length of stay „ „

Survey conducted Summer 2001 at Rocky Mountain National Park Can evaluate potential resource scenarios outside historic baseline period


Climate Scenarios „

Direct effects

• Temperature, precipitation, snow depth • Two global circulation models (CCC & Hadley)

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Indirect effects

• Population dynamics models • Wildlife (elk, ptarmigan) • Vegetation composition „ „ „

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Alpine tundra (%) Conifer forests (%) Open woodland (%)

Other

• Recreation activities • Travel costs, demographic characteristics


Survey „

Survey design • Each participant presented with baseline scenario and two climate-driven scenarios

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Focus groups, pre-testing Interviewer training Sampling locations 967 respondents (70% response rate)


Survey Results IMPACT Visitors change

CCC

Hadley

Extreme Heat

8.6%

11.1%

16.2%

∆ trips per visitor

+ 0.14

+ 0.10

- 0.09

∆ days per trip

+ 0.10

+ 0.13

- 0.09

∆ visitation (%)

13.6%

9.9%

- 8.8%

∆ visitation (#)

432,533

316,103

- 278,803

1,357,588 1,002,080

- 821,187

∆ visitor days


Regional Economic Impact Economic Impact Mean ∆ in Annual Visitor Days Output US$ millions Employment Impact - # (% jobs)

CCC

Hadley

1,357,588

1,002,080

↓ + $44 (+ 12.4%) + 981 jobs (+ 15.4%)

↓ + $32 (+9.2%) + 725 jobs (+ 11.4%)

Extreme Heat - 821,187

↓ - $26 (- 7.5%) - 600 jobs (- 9.3%)


Mountain Tourism: Conclusions „

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Summer-season mountain tourism increases with higher temperatures Possible threshold effects at extreme heat levels Longer summer season (58% would visit later in the year) Implications: • Adaptive strategy for resource planning, transportation, infrastructure, employment • Ecological, social effects of increased tourism


Case Study II: Coastal Tourism „ „

Belize – Small Island Developing State (SIDS) Tourism is a significant sector in Belize

• $200 million in tourist expenditures (17% of GDP) • Nearly 10,000 jobs • Important source of tax revenue and foreign exchange earnings

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Natural resource-based tourism • Barrier reef • Tropical rainforests

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Vulnerable to climate change • Low-lying coast • Coastal communities

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Vulnerability assessment for tourism


IV. Economic Vulnerability to Climate Change

Central America


Climate Change „

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Threatens the sustainability of tourism and other natural-resource based industries Direct effects • Increasing temperature (global warming) • Sea level rise • Increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events

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Induced effects

• Natural systems • Social systems

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Coastal tourism most vulnerable to effects of climate change • Cayes (islands) attract > 70% of tourists • Reef-based tourism (snorkeling, diving) > 81%


Climate Change Effects „

Increasing temperatures • Higher energy costs • Tourism demand effects (may avoid hot climates, travel closer to home) • Increase in vector-borne diseases

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Changes in precipitation • Flooding, droughts • Seasonal changes • Changes in wildlife, vegetation composition


Climate Change Effects (continued) „

Sea level rise • Erosion, land loss, flooding, inundation • Saltwater intrusion

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Warmer sea surface temperatures • Coral reef bleaching

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Increased frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones • Property damage, infrastructure


Vulnerability „

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Degree of sensitivity to and inability to cope with the negative impacts of climate change Multi-dimensional – biogeophysical, economic, institutional, socio-cultural Function of exposure and adaptive capacity Difficult to quantify


Vulnerability Assessments „

Enable policy makers to • Prioritize adaptive measures • Minimize exposure to risk

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Goals • Identify future risks • Identify key vulnerable sectors • Provide basis for adaptation strategies


Vulnerability of Tourism „ „

Short-term effects to tourism systems Tropical storms, hurricanes • Infrastructure, publicity

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Coral reef health: 1998 El Nino events Bandos Island, Republic of Maldives • Most of tourism revenue from diving operations • 1998: experienced coral bleaching from warmest year on record Æ 30% decrease in tourism income

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Palawan Island, Philippines • • •

1980s – 80% of tourists came for diving 1998: 30-50% coral mortality 2002 – decline in tourism (only around 10% for diving)


Vulnerability of Tourism (continued) „

Uyarra et al. (2005) studied preferences of tourists for environmental features in Barbados and Bonaire; found that more than 80% would be unwilling to return in the event of • Coral reef bleaching (Bonaire) • Smaller beach area from erosion (Barbados) „

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Implications for cayes, coastal areas in Belize

Amelung et al. (2007) concluded that favorable climate conditions were likely to shift poleward (tropical destinations may become “uncomfortable” for general tourism) • More than 80% of visitors to Belize come from USA, Canada, and Europe


Conceptual Framework „

Sources of vulnerability • Supply-based Direct climate effects „ Indirect climate effects „ Economic (induced) effects „

• Demand-based Direct climate effects „ Indirect climate effects „ Economic (induced) effects „

• Macroeconomic vulnerability


Biogeophysical effects: •Rising temperatures •Sea-surface temperatures •Flood frequency •Erosion, inundation •Biological impacts VULNERABILITY OF TOURISM SYSTEM SUPPLY

DEMAND

Direct •Infrastructure •Land loss

Direct •Weather in host country, origin •Perception of resource quality

Indirect •Availability of attractions, inputs

Indirect •Perception of health, safety

Economic (induced)-factor prices

Economic (induced)-prices, FX


Adaptation or Reconstruction? „

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Historical record of perverse economic incentives for developing countries Tendency towards reconstruction • Donor contributions • International support

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More costly than adaptation measures Matter of prioritization • Proactive • Reactive


Impact-Oriented Adaptation Impact

Adaptation Measure

Increasing temperatures

Building design for airflow; trees for shade

Rising sea levels/erosion

Sea walls; mangrove restoration; beach nourishment

Tropical storms

Storm-proof construction; trees for reinforcement

Coral reef bleaching

Marine protected areas; pollution control; coral regeneration

Droughts

Rainwater collection systems; water tanks

Water availability

Conservation; tourist education and awareness


Coastal Tourism: Conclusions „

Tourism is vulnerable to climate change • 40-70% of tourism sector in Belize is highly vulnerable

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Vulnerability assessments require thorough understanding of risks to tourism supply and demand Implications for planning, policy, adaptation measures Implications for future research in demand-based impacts


Implications for Transport „

Ecotourism (and virtually all tourism) depends on transportation sector • Contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change

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Industry education and awareness • • • •

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Conservation Energy efficiency Mass transit for congested parks Tourism certification

Tourist education and awareness • Conservation • Carbon offsetting programs • Ecological footprint


Thank you

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