Tag Archives: Tourism

Climate Change Impact on Tourism

We all love to travel to new places irrespective of the country that we belong to. At one point of time tourism was restricted to a section of people as it involved significant amount of expenditure. Perhaps till 30 years back years back tourism was majorly related to travel for leisure purpose. But in today’s world the scenario changed to a large extent. A significant proportion of tourists travel for professional reasons too. Therefore, the combined impact along with affordability and spread of awareness through marketing and social media led to increased tourism activities throughout the world. In 2016 total number of international tourists (visiting foreign countries) in the world was to the tune of 1234 million. The same was 683.3 million in 2000.[1] This simple statistic suggests that number of international travelers has increased by more than 80% in just a little over 15 years. Please do remember that we have not included domestic tourists of any of the countries, which are several times of that of international tourists.

We were relatively unaware of the implications of tourism and the scale of impact till a couple of decades ago. This started gaining notices of the researchers, governments, other stakeholders once the world stated envisioning global warming and the pace it was setting in. The global community is experiencing climate change and has already been recognized the same as the biggest threat to human existence. Tourism activities, spreading across large number of sectors, play a critical role in shaping global warming. Various researches suggest that tourism contributes to more than 5% of the total carbon footprint in the world and is considered as the largest contributor to climate change process. However, it’s a two way relationship. Tourism also gets affected adversely by climate to a large extent. This article brings out certain nuances of how tourism at present and in future are impacted by climate change in a non-technical manner.

What are we experiencing because of climate change compared to the past? Everyone can count those easily. Following are a few examples that are concerns for all of us in whichever part of the globe we live in.

  • Global land and ocean temperature are increasing in fast pace. Polar ice caps are melting soon. It is a big threat to all cities or regions near coastal areas due to sea level rise.
  • Rainfall patterns are changing affecting agriculture production to a major way
  • Storms, hurricanes and typhoons causing catastrophes and disaster in every corner of the world
  • Melting and receding of glaciers in our mountains

When the above are common phenomena, how do we connect these to understand the way tourism sector is going to be impacted? Climate change will impact tourism at two levels – at the destination and from operational perspective. At the destination level it will cause the following adverse impacts:

  • Rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions threatens coastal or beach tourism significantly. Apart from beaches being submerged and infrastructure destroyed, it is affecting coral reefs also. Coral reefs of Philippines are already affected due to increase in ocean temperature that leads to coral bleaching and also acidification of ocean water.
  • Mountain areas are experiencing lower snowfalls and also the duration of winter season has been reduced. Along with reducing the viability of some winter sports destinations, this causes lesser tourist to many of the destinations where tourists used to travel to enjoy cold weather. Increase in temperature and less precipitation have adverse impact on biodiversity and lead to more forest fires in many parts of the world. These uncertainties impact tourist arrivals to a large way. Mountain tourism will also be affected as the glaciers are disappearing in many places.

While the changes in physical conditions of destinations reduce number of tourists due to uncertainties and absence of attractions for the tourists, there are several operational hazards to face by the tourism operators:

  • Vulnerable environment may lead to conflict of tourism activities with local communities due to scarcity of natural resources, for instance reduced water availability
  • Extreme weather events will increase operational uncertainty, particularly in unfriendly terrains
  • Services will be affected in areas exposed to extreme weather or sea-level rise.
  • Any attempt to reduce carbon emissions and make activities environmental friendly will add costs to the industry, particularly from transport emissions. Apart from acceptability to such changes, it will increase price for the tourists which may impact the tourist flows.

To end this article, I just want to mention couple of my own experiences in India. There is a place called Chamba in Uttarakhand hills which was a well known tourist destination at one point of time. At present the number of tourists visit and stay in that destination has declined significantly. One of the reason is the place has become quite hot for last few years. Where people never used fan in earlier years due to its cool weather, now requires air-condition machines during summer months of the year.  Most of the hotel owners are grappling with the problem of renovating rooms as there was no provision even for ceiling fans.

Hope the world community will be able to tackle or at least curb the pace of climate change so that the human society can cope of with the same and our economic activities including tourism management are ready with climate change adaptation to run their activities relative smoothly and in a predictable path. Government tourism policies also promote only sustainable tourism in practice instead of making it a paper document only.

[1] Tourism Statistics of India 2017

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A Snapshot of Water Based Adventure Tourism in India

Snap Shot of Water Based Adventure Tourism

Source: Computed and prepared from Adventure Tourism in India, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India 

Note: I found some anomalies in the report. For instance, house boat stay in Jammu and Kashmir is nil. However, keeping in mind that this is the only authentic report that estimates the number of adventure tourists in India in a scientific manner, the directions given in the report is quite robust.

Air Based Adventure Tourism In India

Air Based Adventure Tourism in India

Source: Computed from Adventure Tourism of India, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, October 2016.

 

Welfare from Tourism Activities – A Critical Component for Tourism Regulatory Reforms (Part II)

This is the second article for the series I planned on Tourism regulatory reforms in India. Through much delayed than promised in my previous blog on this series. However, I sincerely hope that this might be useful and interesting to those who are involved with this partially invisible big industry and also for the general readers who take interests in diverse economic issues.

the first question that I would like to answer is why do I touch this complex issue of “Welfare” which is more familiar to social scientists, especially economists and more or less vaguely understood as a common parlance to common men. the primary reason for introducing this particular term in relation to regulatory reform is that the objective of any regulatory reforms process is to increase welfare with or without existence of competition. This prompts that a clear understanding of definition of welfare is required to develop the linkage between tourism, its stakeholders, welfare and finally their importance to regulatory reforms process.

What is welfare?    

In the simplest of words, welfare is when one person’s well-being can be improved without affecting others’ well-being adversely for the good of the society.  As long as this concept remains within a small society, it easy to manage and monitor. The moment the sphere of its applicability increases, it is not only difficult to monitor, about also becomes complex enough to understand how the welfare of the entire society can be captured. For instance, tourism is a global phenomenon, apart from being multi-sectoral. Therefore, to understand the welfare implications of tourism, one needs to capture welfare of “Hosts” and “Guests” as well welfare across sectors like economic, cultural, political, environmental and so on. This complex gamut of tourism suggests that clearly there will be winners and losers in terms of welfare.

To make this simpler, lets divide the tourism economy between “Producers” and “Consumers”. The producers are those who are providing tourism services and consumers are who are enjoying tourism services. All stakeholders (except the policy makers!!) can be categorised in these two groups for each and every kind of tourism activities. Because of diverse characteristics of of tourists and their intentions of maximizing tourism utilities, certainly there are winners and losers. To make it even more explicit, we can explore the concept further from utilitarian perspective.

Derek Hall and Frances Brown explained it nicely in one of their paper on eithis, responsibility and well-being related to tourism. Well-being of a society, though more applicable to Western countries at present, can be though of in three different types:

1. Consumerisation – The society derives its well-being from quantity and variety of material goods

2. Welfare-statism – where well-being is derived from the quantity of public goods and services citizens receive as their rights

3. Eco-welfarism – where well-being is derived from the quality of relationships between people and the relationships between people and natural environment.

These points suggests that welfare from tourism will cut across social, behavirourial, medical, psychological, economic, cultural, environmental – almost every sphere of life. For the developed countries it promotes the concept of Quality of Life. Leisure and tourism is considered as a central part of it by contributing in enhancing welfare through a combination of relaxation of mind , intellectual stimulus and physical activity for fitness. But, when we see tourism enhancing consumers’ welfare, does it also contribute positively to producers’ welfare? If we consider the less developed countries, the answer is no for certain. Most of the time we look at tourism activities from a producers’ approach, where work in providing opportunities for relaxation and rest for consumers is the key component. The key question is whether tourism also does increase quality of life from producer’s perspective. The experience says that in most of the cases it is marginal and sometimes negative.

This is where it is crucial to understand why regulatory reforms are required, especially in the less developed, countries to to keep a parity between producer’s and consumer’s welfare. Unless the industry is regulated in a proper fashion and enhance fair competition while taking care of restraining adverse impact on the host community, sustainable tourism cannot be achieved. To make a clear case of how tourists’, i.e., consumers activities minimize producers’ welfare, I will discuss it in the next article of this series.

Is the Spending Propensity of Foreign Tourists Travelling to India Declining over Time?

Is the Spending Propensity of Foreign Tourists Travelling to India Declining over Time?

By Dripto Mukhopadhyay

Foreign exchange earnings (FEE) from tourism activities contribute a large proportion of total FEE in India. According to Tourism Statistics of India 2010, a Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, FEE from tourism activities during 2009-10 has gone up by more than 18%. Certainly this is a boosting factor for Indian tourism industry. This high growth in FEE also corroborates the focus of tourism ministry to increase number of foreign tourist arrivals to the country. More or less, one needs to admit that they are certainly successful to a large extent though a setback was observed during the recent global recession.

This article tries to capture a simple yet important point from policy point of view regarding focusing foreign tourists as a major means of boosting Indian tourism industry as well as a means for earning foreign exchange. The analysis in this article is simple which tried to establish or examine whether the increasing trend as observed apparently does really as beneficial as being envisaged. To keep the analysis simple from point of Continue reading

Sustainable Tourism and Development: Future Potential for Indian Planning Process

Tourism has emerged as a major economic force in the world. During the period between 1995 and 2005, international tourist arrivals in the world grew by about 50 per cent and reached a level of more than 800 million. It is expected that by 2020 this figure would double with large increases in tourism activities in the world’s poorest regions (WTO, 2003). Studies suggest that tourism sector generates about 11 per cent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and creates 5.5 million jobs every year (WTO, 2002). Being highly labour intensive, the sector provides vital employment for people with a wide range of skills as well as for the unskilled. These numbers themselves are adequate enough to suggest that tourism activities have immense potential to play a significant role in the economic Continue reading

Tourism Sector and Climate Change

By Dripto Mukhopadhyay

Introduction
Undeniable evidences throughout the globe indicate that global climate has changed compared to the pre-industrial era and is expected to continue the trend through 21st century and beyond. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)1 documented that global mean temperature Continue reading