Climate “serious threat” to tourism

Samoa tourism is already feeling the impact from climate change – but from around 2025 that impact risks becoming a permanent downward slide.

This comes in light of warnings by the Asian Development Bank about future impacts of climate change on Pacific states like Samoa.

If Samoa does nothing to make its tourism industry climate resilient now the nation will suffer “serious threats” well before 2100.

Estimates vary widely of just how serious a threat. According to the Samoa Tourism Development Plan, the industry accounts for 10 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, this is around $106,000,000 tala of our $1,574,657,761 tala economy.

However the World Index places the amount the sector contributes to our economy at 25 per cent, which would take the above figure up to $393,664,440 tala.

Both the Samoa Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment were contacted for comment, but at press time the Observer had received no response.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) released the report titled The Economics of Climate Change in the Pacific last week.

In it the Bank claims under all climate scenarios the impact of climate change would be to reduce tourism revenues by 27 to 34 per cent for the Pacific Region as a whole.

According to the ADB line graph, Samoa is at the 34 per cent end of this estimate – meaning if we calculate that by the World Index figure, Samoa stands to lose more than $133,845,909 tala by 2100.

This is worrying because, according to the ADB, tourism is a mainstay of the economy of Samoa and a number of other countries in the region.

“Climate change is a serious threat to poverty alleviation and development efforts in the Pacific,” the report reads.

“The physical, social, and economic characteristics of the Pacific countries make them highly vulnerable to the foreseen intensification of storm surges, cyclones, and rise in sea levels.

“The marked changes in rainfall patterns and in land and ocean temperatures that now adversely impact the island countries are expected to further aggravate the situation.

“In a region characterised by extensive growth of rural and urban settlements in coastal areas, none of its countries can hope to remain unaffected by the effects of climate change.

Climate change has been identified as one of the critical challenges of this century for the Pacific region, the Bank claims.


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