Tourism with climate change

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Pablo Edronkin

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One of the implications of the now evident climate change that our planet undergoes that has received rather low attention is the future impact that this process will have on tourism as an industry; in some cases, the destiny of whole cities might be at stake.

Real sand? Real beach?

The most striking example would be Venice, albeit it is not the only one; if things change in the lagoon around the city, Venice might become a traditional "land-based" town, or it could disappear as we know it. The problem is that Venice is attractive as we know it know, and nobody knows if it would be somewhat equally attractive without its waterways and gondolieri. The result could be disastrous for what it is the main economic activity and source of income for the ancient town.

There are two ways in which you can try to solve a problem: One is to apply a patch for the time being and the other is to take groundbreaking measures to solve the problem once and for all. In many places that live from the influx of tourists measures easily classifiable as patches are being implemented, like importing or manufacturing snow in ski resorts where winter doesn't reach in the same way as before, or importing sand in seaside resorts where beaches are being washed way by the sea.

This is not real sand on a real beach, but an import; however, tourists believe that they are where they are not.

There is nothing wrong or bad with that except that as a visitor or tourist you might feel a little bit deceived with something that isn't natural anymore; or perhaps we will get accustomed to visit new destinations produced artificially and thanks to technology and investment capitals. That's great and could solve the problem, at least partially, but it will never produce the kind of effect that will solve the problem once and for all. It is indeed understandable that those who fear losing their investment money or their jobs would gladly rush to solve their problems with patches, but danger lurks there because people might assume after a while that patches will always solve their problems and forget about the bottom line - the environment - while they continue unabated with the same activities that caused the problem in the first place, until the ecosystem becomes so damaged that no cosmetics will help anymore and no fundamental measures to stop or reverse the problem are feasible anymore.

Granted: seaside resorts could keep their moribund beaches alive with the kind of intensive care that a shipload of sand and a dozen caterpillars could provide, but that wouldn't be enjoying nature anymore. It would be a dead ecosystem. The question is whether we will continue to like to go outdoors and on holidays to enjoy nature, or we would just like to enjoy seeing what we think is (or was) nature.

An authentic beach, still without urban developments around.

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