Australia’s $40 billion tourism industry is in danger and least prepared to deal with climate change, warned the Climate Council.
Some of the country’s most prized natural assets, such as Uluru, Kakadu and Ningaloo Reef, are most at risk from rising temperatures, the council says.
In the report released on Thursday, it say more than half tourists would be inclined to go elsewhere if bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef continued.
Climate Councillor and ecologist Lesley Hughes said beaches, wilderness areas, national parks and reefs were most vulnerable, but wildlife could also be affected if climate change accelerated.
“Tourists travel across the globe to see Australia’s remarkable natural wonders. But these icons are in the climate firing line as extreme weather events worsen and sea levels continue to rise,” said Professor Hughes.
“Some of our country’s most popular natural destinations, including our beaches could become ‘no-go zones’ during peak holiday periods and seasons, with the potential for extreme temperatures to reach up to 50C in Sydney and Melbourne”.
Climate change is placing one of Australia’s most valuable and fastest growing sectors under threat, according to The Australian.
In 2016, more than eight million international visitors arrived in the continent-country to see natural icons which fetched their economy more than $40 billion.
Tourism also employs more than 15 times more people in Australia than coalmining.