Building an approach for monitoring climate change impacts on tourism resources in developing countries

Alhassani, M 2013, Building an approach for monitoring climate change impacts on tourism resources in developing countries, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Building an approach for monitoring climate change impacts on tourism resources in developing countries
Author(s) Alhassani, M
Year 2013
Abstract The tourism industry is important for many state economies. Tourism relies on resources that attract tourists and thus generate income. Ensuring these resources are sustainable through preservation, maintenance, and optimal utilisation is vital to the continuation and health of the tourism industry. Monitoring of resources is equally important for good management; changes and threats to tourism resources occur for many reasons, including anthropogenic activity or/and climate change, and monitoring enables efficient responses.

The research described in this thesis focused on resources in developing countries, which are believed to be relatively vulnerable to climate change. Developing countries, including Arab countries, need more research about ways to sustain their tourism resources. This research aimed to build an approach that can be used by developing countries whose tourism resources are likely to be impacted by climate change. Two case studies were used in this research – one to develop the approach (Fujairah) and one to validate it (Turkey).

Tourism resources in Fujairah were initially categorised into three groups: natural, cultural and built-up resources. These resources were input to a geodatabase using a Geographic Information System. The locations of those tourism resources and land use in Fujairah in general were mapped. Next, SimCLIM software was used to project climate change effects in the short term (to 2030) and long term (2070) using 1990 as the baseline. These projections incorporated changes in temperature, sea levels, precipitation and other climate variables. Based on the A1FI (fossil intensive) emission scenario with a high level of climate sensitivity results revealed, for example, that average air temperatures in Fujairah are predicted to increase by more than 5°C by 2070.

In addition, the recurrent frequency of an average maximum daily temperature over a 7-day consecutive period of more than 45°C may increase seven-fold by 2030. These and other projected results were then used inside the Rapid Assessment Program to assess the potential impacts of those effects on the emirate’s tourism resources. The results show that climate change effects will threaten tourism resources in Fujairah in multiple ways. The predicted increase in temperature and the acidification of the ocean will impact tourism resources most severely. These impacts can be attributed to the fact that high temperatures are already problematic for tourism in the region, while coral reefs are vulnerable to ocean acidification. Next, an approach for monitoring the temporal changes occurring to the tourism resources in Fujairah was introduced. Because effects are sometimes minimal in the short term, relying on human observation is impractical; a Terrestrial Laser Scanning based technique was employed for micro change detection.

All the methods described above were combined in a framework that can be used in a generic way by developing countries. The applicability of the approach was tested and validated using data from Turkey. The results of this research can be used by decision-making authorities in developing countries to monitor their tourism resources and develop adaptive and mitigation measures to maintain and sustain those resources in the face of climate change impacts.

Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences
Keyword(s) Climate change
Developing countries
Emirate of Fujairah
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Created: Fri, 30 Jan 2015, 13:02:25 EST by Denise Paciocco
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