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Influences of climate change on tourism development in small pacific island states

Wolf, F and Leal Filho, W and Singh, P and Scherle, N and Reiser, D and Telesford, J and Miljković, IB and Havea, PH and Li, C and Surroop, D and Kovaleva, M (2021) Influences of climate change on tourism development in small pacific island states. Sustainability, 13 (8). ISSN 2071-1050

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Abstract

Tourism-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are a central driver of anthropogenic climate change. At the same time, climate change has both direct and indirect impacts on tourism, varying from damages of tourist assets due to extreme weather events, to losses of biodiversity. Small island developing states (SIDS) heavily depend on international tourism as a source of revenue and income. Therefore, much could be gained by assessing the vulnerability of the SIDS tourism sector and by identifying measures that may assist these islands in their sustainable adaptation efforts. Against this background, this interdisciplinary paper provides a review of tourism development and the implications of its emissions on the global climate, linked with observed and projected influences of climate change in the Pacific region, to explain the growing vulnerability of the overall sector, with a particular focus on SIDS tourism. A description of the effects of COVID-19 on international tourism and its consequences for SIDS complement the analysis. Case studies of two Pacific islands present some evidence of current climate impacts, underscoring the multiple risks small island nations and their tourism sectors face. The paper concludes by stating that some measures may be prioritized by decision-makers, so as to increase the resilience of a transforming tourism sector in SIDS.

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