Climate Policy and International Tourism Arrivals to the Caribbean Region
Pentelow, Laurel Jean
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Increasingly the body of research shows that tourism is vulnerable to climate change. Tourism is also a non-negligible contributor to climate change, primarily through rapidly increasing air travel. Recently, a number of tourism destinations that are dependent on long-haul tourism have expressed concerns about the impact of climate policy (both implemented and proposed) on tourist mobility and arrivals to their countries. This thesis examines outcomes from a model which projects how climate mitigation policy could influence arrival numbers to the Caribbean region; an area projected to be disproportionately impacted by climate change. While impacts on this region are likely to be both physical as well as economical, mitigation policy restricting emissions from international aviation is likely to be the first wave of climate change effects felt. This policy, coupled with the fluctuation of global oil prices, may be a significant deterrent for travelers to the Caribbean. Different scenarios using likely mitigation policy costs on international flights and oil price fluctuations were modeled to understand how these tourism-dependent nations might fair with increases in travel cost due to conditions beyond their control. Both region-wide and destination specific results were examined showing that visitor numbers could decrease versus a business as usual scenario with climate policy and heightened oil prices, but not significantly until climate policy with deeper emission cuts and carbon prices higher than currently suggested are put in place. Result are not uniform across the region, and show that certain destinations are projected to be more vulnerable to climate mitigation policy than others. Recommendations focusing on both the aviation industry’s inclusion in climate policy and those to aid the region’s tourism sector are provided.