Climate Change Spurs ‘Vanishing Destinations’ Travel

Posted on 06/06/2017

Whether or not the U.S. government is concerned about the growing impact of climate change, travelers are showing an increased desire to see destinations that may be affected by a warming earth.

The latest Travelhorizons survey of 2,300 adults conducted by MMGY Global showed that a sense of urgency was growing to see “vanishing destinations” such as the Great Barrier Reef, Glacier National Park and Venice, Italy.

Overall, 36 percent of adults believe that it is important to visit these vanishing destinations, though that number is heavily weighted toward younger generations.

More than half of millennials (51 percent) believe it is important. Four in 10 Gen-Xers believe agree while more than one-quarter of baby boomers want to visit these destinations before they are gone.

Climate change is playing a growing role in people’s travel decision-making process: Forty percent of U.S. travelers report climate change does impact their vacation destination motivations.

Again, millennials (53 percent) were most likely to say climate change affected where they went. That is compared to 37 percent of Gen-Xers, 30 percent of younger boomers, 28 percent of older boomers and 23 percent of matures.

Millennials may be onto something when it comes to reaching these destinations before they are gone. Last year, the Great Barrier Reef made headlines when it was declared dead by Outside magazine. The article went viral and, while the reef may not actually be dead, its concern is still making headlines and has sparked a “last chance” tourism boom.

Another UNESCO site struggling to survive, Venice's murky borders are overwhelmed with water on a yearly basis. Built on marshy islands off the coast of Northern Italy, the city struggles with flooding and, as sea levels rise, it could be that this Italian gem is trapped in an underwater grave.

However, there are efforts to wall off the waters of the Adriatic with a complex system of underwater barriers known as Project MOSE. The operation is due to be completed in 2018.

If you are trying to see vanishing destinations before they are gone, perhaps Glacier National Park should top your list. According to a report in CNN, the glaciers of the park have lost about 85 percent of their size.

"The trend right now is that they are inexorably going into their final demise. There is no chance they will go into rebirth," Dan Fagre, a research ecologist for the United States Geological Survey told CNN.

"In several decades they will be mostly gone. They will grow so small that they will disappear. They will certainly be gone before the end of the century."

While some of these destinations may yet survive through technological advances and restoration, there is certainly a sense of urgency to see them now before they are altered by climate change forever.

Source: Travelpulse

PHOTO: Great Barrier Reef. (photo courtesy of Thinkstock)