We all know that air travel and other holiday making activities can have an impact on climate change but it’s now becoming apparent that climate change is having a huge effect on travel. Sadly, there are previously popular destinations that are becoming less accessible due to climate change, holiday makers are having to change the time of year they visit certain places and, most sad of all, there are destinations that have become endangered and may soon disappear or become completely inaccessible.
How Climate Change Affects Travel
Some parts of the world are becoming unsuitable for tourism due to climate change. A major reason for this is some places are simply becoming too hot for people to want to visit them. Some areas which were frequently visited by people for hiking or sightseeing have become so warm that visiting them isn’t an enjoyable experience anymore. Another consequence of places become too hot was demonstrated in Phoenix in the USA last year when the air was too hot to allow planes to take off. This is due to the density of the air decreasing as it heats up and, beyond a certain point, it becomes very dangerous for planes to try to take off. The USA and Caribbean also saw a devastating rise in the number and severity of hurricanes hitting their shores. These phenomena destroyed homes, businesses and infrastructure as well as, obviously, making these places far less appealing for tourists.
In colder climates, flooding has become a major issue where torrential rainfall has made roads and railways impassable, destroyed communities and wrecked businesses. Ski resorts are also suffering as snow and ice are gradually disappearing and ski season is shortening a little more every year.
Climate change has had such a devastating impact on some areas that tourist destinations are at risk of disappearing altogether.
Venice – It’s a well known fact that Venice is sinking. It has been sinking for years but recently, it has become so serious that the flooding has been severe enough for experts to predict the entire city may become uninhabitable within the next 20 years.
The Alps – Glaciers in the Alps are melting at alarming speeds.
Great Barrier Reef – Rising sea temperatures and changes in sea chemistry have seen the Great Barrier Reef reduce its size by 50% and may soon see it disappear completely.
Madagascar’s Forests – Deforestation and pollution are putting Madagascar’s famous forests with their varied and abundant wildlife at risk.
Zahara de la Sierra, Spain – Rising temperatures and low rain fall are slowly making this part of Spain inhabitable.
How Can Travellers Help?
This is very sad news but there are some things travellers can do to minimise the impact of their holidays on the environment.
Most people are aware that most types of transport are bad for the environment but some are far less harmful than others. Travelling by bus is the least damaging form of transport followed by trains. For longer distances, travelling by car can actually be worse than travelling by plane but for shorter distances, air travel should be avoided where possible. Where you have to fly, there is less of an environmental impact in flying direct (as take off and landing is where most fuel is used), flying in colder climates and choosing airlines with the best environmental practices.
You can take environmentally friendly precautions before you’ve even left the house by making sure you turn everything off at the plugs, turning heating down or off, packing as light as possible and bringing your own water bottle and shopping bags with you.
When you get there
Stay in hotels with environmentally friendly policies as far as possible. Obviously, you will need to research this before you book but you can help when you are there by reusing towels, not using excessive water when showering or brushing your teeth and turning off lights when you leave the room. Choosing local products when you eat out and shop will also minimise your carbon footprint while on holiday.
It’s horrible that climate change is affecting so many of these wonderful places but the travel industry is putting in a huge amount of effort to lessen its impact by researching new types of fuel and minimising waste. With these sudden weather conditions having such an impact on travel, it’s essential to have good travel insurance. Click here for a cost effective quote from ERV.