Climate Change Poses Major Threat To U.S. Tourism
By Mitti Hicks
In the latest edition of the National Climate Assessment, scientists are warning that climate change will create new risks and challenges to human health, safety, and quality of life. The report, released on Friday, comes amid worsening natural disasters across the United States, including hurricanes and wildfires, which exceeded a record of $300 billion in costs in 2017, as reported in Skift News.
Scientists said the impacts of climate change are already being felt in communities across the country.
“More frequent and intense extreme weather and climate-related events, as well as changes in average climate conditions, are expected to continue to damage infrastructure, ecosystems, and social systems that provide essential benefits to communities,” findings from the report read.
Another area of concern for scientists is how tourism in the U.S. will be impacted by climate change.
According to the report, projected increases in wildfire smoke events are expected to impair outdoor recreational activities in the west. In addition, declines in snow and ice cover caused by warmer winter temperatures are expected to negatively impact the winter recreation industry in the Northwest, Northern Great Plains, and the Northeast.
Fish, birds, and mammals are expected to shift where they live as a result of climate change, which means that hunting, fishing, and other wildlife-related activities will change dramatically. These and other climate-related impacts are expected to result in decreased tourism revenue in some places and, for some communities, loss of identity.
“While some new opportunities may emerge from these ecosystem changes, cultural identities and economic and recreational opportunities based around historical use of and interaction with species or natural resources in many areas are at risk,” analysts said.
Scientist said that proactive management strategies, such as the use of projected stream temperatures to set priorities for fish conservation, can help reduce disruptions to tourist economies and recreation.