Global temperatures rose by over 0.5 degrees C during the 20th century and current estimates suggest that they will continue to rise at between 0.2 and 0.3 degrees C per decade during the course of the 21st century. This increasing trend towards warmer temperatures could have major consequences for the tourism industry, which is heavily dependent on present climatic and environmental conditions. The ecosystems of many international holiday destinations are potentially vulnerable to climate change. This paper reviews the potential impacts of climate change for ten international tourist destinations. The most serious impacts will result from the effects of sea-level rise on small island states. Other impacts likely to affect tourism include coral bleaching, outbreaks of fire, changed migration patterns of animals and birds, flooding, the spread of vector-borne diseases, and shorter skiing seasons. Without appropriate adaptive measures, climate change could produce a shift in the comparative attractiveness of tourist destinations around the globe.
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