Fashionable travellers call it “Doomsday Tourism,” and its one of the toughest questions facing the traveling world.
If an area is under threat from climate change, should people be encouraged to visit so they can see for themselves (and hopefully rally support) or will this only hasten its demise? Whatever the cause, the eco-systems of many tourist destinations are suffering. We’ve highlighted 10 Troubled Tourism hotspots – we’ll leave the moral decisions to you…
A recent African report suggested the Zambezi River Basin which feeds the spectacular Victoria falls could start to dry up as a result of the planet getting hotter. The reduced water flow will not only make one of the most spectacular falls in the world a bit lame, but will also affect the microclimate in the forest which relies on the spray thrown-up by the Falls. zambiatourism.com
Florida’s Everglades are a stunning subtropical wilderness with complex eco-systems and wildlife. The Florida panther is among dozens of species under threat as the global rise in sea-level begins to flood the swamps and marshes with sea water for up to 10 miles in land with catastrophic consequences evergladestours.org
More than 80 per cent of this stunning collection of 22 atolls is less than one metre above sea level. If the sea continues to rise at current rates they will be effectively uninhabitable by the middle of the century and will have disappeared completely by the end of it. The Maldives may not be the only islands on the planet under threat, but they are probably the most beautiful. visitmaldives.com
Since 1936 when Ernest Hemmingway penned his famous short story The Snows of Kilimanjaro about 80 per cent of the mountains ice fields have disappeared. They were once regarded as one of the most spectacular sites in the entire continent of Africa, but scientists calculate the snows will have gone completely by the end of this decade. africatravelresource.com
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is basically the Elle McPherson of the natural world, consisting of 3,000 spectacularly beautiful reefs covering 2,600km. It is under attack from all sides, with global warming, domestic and industrial pollution, over-fishing, and indeed tourism destroying eco-systems. Like McPherson though, she is proving more durable than experts initially suspected. barrierreefaustralia.com
This unique lagoon city, as beautiful as it is historic, is being flooded four times as heavily today as it was at the start of the 20th century. Rising water levels cause havoc for the residents and will ultimately destroy the priceless buildings. By the end of the 21st century, St. Marks Square could be under seven feet of water and the city uninhabitable.
Pyramids of Giza
Not a climate change problem as such, but one of human mismanagement. A recent report into the planet’s worst-kept tourist attractions put these amazing wonders of the world second from bottom. Visitors were advised to see the pyramids before conditions became unbearable egypt.travel