Climate change adaptation and mitigation in the tourism sector: frameworks, tools and practices

Climate change adaptation and mitigation in the tourism sector: frameworks, tools and practices

Building capacity to address challenges of climate change in tourism

This document is intended to strengthen the capacity of professionals to understand and respond effectively to the global challenges of climate change in tourism destinations. It places emphasis on practical adaptation and mitigation techniques, including tools and methods to address the problems and meet the challenges posed by climate change. It also reviews case studies of good practice that stakeholders can use to develop their own capacities for implementing climate change strategies.

The document includes a discussion of the way forward and makes several suggestions including:

  • process & protocol activities for adaptation and mitigation - global and location-specific research and evaluation activities are required, such as, projecting current and future climate change impacts; assessing vulnerabilities including climate-related hazards (for effective decisions for climate risk management), evaluating resilience and adaptive capacity; and evaluating current and future adaptation and mitigation activities, including possible new opportunities that may arise from climate change
  • capacity building - there is a need for capacity building across all stakeholders through outreach and communications efforts such as this document and associated seminar series, which are viewed as the first steps in building capacity in developing countries and small island developing states where climate change is likely to impact, and be impacted by, tourism
  • addressing gaps in knowledge - large gaps in the knowledge base mean there is a need to intensify the developing research agenda in order to support evidenced-based practical decision-making; this should include assessment of uncertainties in climate change projections themselves, as well as socio-economic uncertainties within the tourism sector
  • reducing ‘hotspot’ vulnerability - certain regions and destinations are especially vulnerable and reducing the vulnerability of the ‘hotspots’ through short and medium term adaptation and mitigation strategies is imperative
  • innovation strategies - innovating at all the various levels of tourism will bring greater potential returns and enhance the likelihood of survival and will contribute to the resilience of the destination as whole
  • effective policy implementation - the processes of establishing any sustainable tourism policy, and identification of successes and barriers of implementation are not clear; the implementation of sustainable tourism policy in general is particularly weak and six policy suggestions for adapting in tourism industries are identified
  • transdisciplinary working - ‘joined-up’, interdepartmental and trans-disciplinary approaches are vital to the successful implementation of adaptive/mitigative strategies; new infrastructures and mechanisms are required to ensure such approaches can prevail