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Tourism and Climate Change: Two-Way Street, or Vicious/Virtuous Circle?

30 Apr 2006

This paper presents the approach and reasoning behind two central conceptual diagrams relating tourism and climate change. The first diagram describes a typical polarisation in tourism and climate change knowledge management. It is argued that this polarisation restricts the collective body of knowledge and obscures important causal links between tourism and climate change phenomena. Developments are proposed in a second conceptual model which counters the tendency of scientists, policymakers, the tourism industry and NGOs to polarise along two research interests by discussing climate’s influence on tourism vs. tourism’s influence on climate; either of which could be interpreted as a primary limitation to the sustainability of tourism. The paper places into context key perspectives in the tourism–climate change discussions, addresses the difficulty of including system feedbacks between human activity and climate interactions, and draws attention to the underlying drivers of unsustainable trends. New strategic conceptual models are advocated to support long-term non-territorial collaboration, to incorporate adaptation and mitigation in ways which are not mutually exclusive, and to address the following paradox: that the cross-section of the global population driving the demand for tourism resources threatened by climate change are also disproportionately responsible for increased radiative forcing.

Status: Completed

Type: Staff Publications

Author: Trista Patterson, Simone Bastianoni, Murray Simpson

Year of publication: 2006

Publisher: Journal of Sustainable Tourism

Tags: climate change tourism

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