Guest essay by Eric Worrall
CNBC author Helen Zhao claims people are flocking to tourist destinations like the Australian Great Barrier Reef, because they believe this may be their last chance to see the reef in all its glory before it is wiped out global warming.
3 ‘last chance’ destinations drawing travelers worried about climate change
Some bucket-list trips may be more about anticipating the destination’s demise than yours.
Certain countries susceptible to climate change have seen a spike in travel interest over the past year, according to a new report from travel insurance comparison web site Squaremouth. People may be advancing their plans to see these places in all their current glory, they note.
The report is based on data Squaremouth collects when people input their destination and trip costs into the site to compare policies.
For example, interest in the Maldives — an island chain southwest of India that is fighting rising sea levels — jumped 68 percent from 2016 to 2017. In comparison, Squaremouth’s 20 most-traveled destinations saw an average increase of 15 percent in the same time period.
Travel interest boost: 25 percent
Tourists may be flocking down under to view the famously colorful Great Barrier Reef before it bleaches further due to warming sea temperatures. Last year marked the first year mass bleaching is known to have happened to the 1,400-mile-long habitat two years in a row.
In Australia, tourism operators are worried exaggerated claims of damage to the reef might put tourists off.
Barrier Reef not dead from coral bleaching says Queensland Tourism Industry Council
Updated 29 Apr 2016, 11:15am
Queensland’s peak tourism body has defended the condition of the Great Barrier Reef after reports of severe coral bleaching.
The far northern end of the Great Barrier Reef is undergoing what is thought to be its worst bleaching event on record.
Scientists predict half of the affected corals could die during the phenomenon.
The Queensland Tourism Industry Council’s Daniel Gschwind said the reef was not dead.
“Many people around the globe have an interest, have a stake almost in the Great Barrier Reef, so negative publicity like that is clearly not helpful,” he said.
Mr Gschwind said while the environmental impact north of Cairns may be significant, reefs frequented by tourists were in much better condition.
“As long as we keep everybody appropriately informed of the fact that major tourism sites are largely intact and it still is the best reef in the world,” he said.
He said sharing accurate information would ensure tourists still wanted to visit the World Heritage site.
The Great Barrier Reef has become a political football in Australia.
In one corner we have the academics, who are screaming they need more funds to investigate the “unprecedented” bleaching of a reef which has survived hundreds of millions of years of mass extinction events and abrupt climate shifts. WUWT readers might remember Professor Peter Ridd, who is fighting grossly disproportionate attempts by James Cook University to sanction and silence him, after he publicly criticised nonsensical claims that the reef is dying.
In the other corner are Australian tourism groups and government bodies, who are worried the exaggerated claims pouring out of academia might poison a major source of income for Northern Queensland.
Helen Zhao’s claim that tourism is up because people want to see the reef before it dies just adds to the comedy.