2050 Scenarios for long-haul tourism in the evolving global climate change regime
Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.
The original publication is available at http://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability
Tourism and its “midwife”, aviation, are transnational sectors exposed to global uncertainties. This scenario-building exercise considers a specific subset of these uncertainties, namely the impact of the evolving global climate change regime on long-haul tourism (LHT), with a 2050 horizon. The basic problematique is that unconstrained growth in aviation emissions will not be compatible with 2050 climate stabilisation goals, and that the stringency and timing of public policy interventions could have far-reaching impacts—either on the market for future growth of LHT, or the natural ecosystem on which tourism depends. Following an intuitive-logic approach to scenario-building, three meta-level scenarios that can be regarded as “possible” futures for the evolution of LHT are described. Two of these, i.e., the “grim reaper” and the “fallen angel” scenarios, are undesirable. The “green lantern” scenario represents the desired future. Long-haul tourist destinations should heed the early warning signals identified in the scenario narratives, and contribute towards realising the desired future. They should further guard against being passive victims if the feared scenarios materialise, by adapting, repositioning early upon reading the signposts, hedging against risks, and seizing new opportunities.