It will take a minute to give the background:
A couple hundred years ago, most tourists who travelled any distance were rich. International travel was expensive, dangerous and could take weeks, months, or years.
Railways changed this. Not only did they provide a convenient way to “get to the seaside” (instead of in horse-drawn carriages), but the railways promoted and advertised vacations. The environmental impact was still minimal, because many of those railways would have been built anyhow, and some of those trains would have run anyhow.
Hotels and restaurants proliferated, as there had to be places for people to sleep and eat. This is more significant than it might seem, for this was the beginning of the rapid ascension of tourism into being one of the largest businesses in the world. I bought the proceedings for a tourism conference. Today, these business people spend absolute fortunes, just trying to improve the tourism organization and infrastructure! And that’s quite apart from the actual building of hotels, restaurants, amusement parks, trains, planes, taxis, etc.
Unfortunately, the environmental damage is absolutely colossal. And it’s doubly unfortunate because otherwise quite environmently conscious people take 12,000 international vacations for a few days without giving it much thought! Air travel is, quote, “the single most ecologically costly act of individual consumption”. (From the reference, below.)
It doesn’t take much imagination to add the ecological damage of building whole resort cities in areas that would otherwise be unpopulated. (The tourist facilities in Dubai have been rated among the most unsustainable in the world.) I’ll skip on to something that doesn’t always occur to people. This comes from the conference proceedings, again:
One of the most troublesome problems for local businesses is anticipating the tourism. Apparently tourists are very faddish about where they want to go. One year it’s country X, three years later people have lost interest, and are going to country Y. This creates economic havoc, because the reasonable people in country X thought: “Hey, more tourists are coming in than we can handle: Let’s build new hotels! And restaurants! And roads!” But it takes time to finance and build those. Years, sometimes. And by the time those facilities are built, often enough the international community of tourists has lost interest. They are going to country Y, now, because it’s hip, and their neighbors did, etc.
This is one of the major problems facing the tourist industry, and it’s an economic and environmental problem, too. Building is costly in economic terms, and some poorer countries are more concerned with building cheaply, than they are with ecology. But to add insult to injury, very often those unecological improvements go to waste. It’s literally throwing investment money away.
So it’s not just that plane travel is terrible for the ecology, building the support for tourists who never arrive is an enormous loss.
Now, answering the question, global warming will tend to make a place hotter or colder than it was. It will make the weather more extreme and violent. So now we have, not only the whimsey of the international tourist trade, but some places that were once perennial favorites are now going to become less appealing, too! If you feel the wind of a perfect storm, you wouldn’t be far wrong.
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