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Holiday hotspots 'face weather risks'

31 May 2016 09:11

Climate change will endanger the Galapagos Islands, scientists warn

Climate change will endanger the Galapagos Islands, scientists warn

Favourite tourist attractions such as Venice and Easter Island are at risk due to climate change, according to a new study.

Prominent scientists and United Nations (UN) bodies have identified 31 cultural and natural World Heritage hotspots which are in danger.

They say that soaring temperatures, melting ice caps, prolonged wildfire seasons, longer droughts, rising seas and more erratic weather all pose a threat.

Report authors the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UN heritage group Unesco, and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) warn that governments need to act quickly to stabilise temperature increases.

If not, they claim it will be increasingly difficult to safeguard these world treasures.

Not trusting to luck

British holidaymakers have to go halfway round the world on once-in-a-lifetime trips to see some World Heritage tourism landmarks, such as the Galapagos Islands.

So it pays not to trust to luck, which is where trusted travel insurance comes in.

This protects tourists against some of the worst things that can sour a trip, such as lost passports, stolen possessions and mislaid luggage.

Tourism favourites under threat

The study authors say the following are among the climate change-threatened destinations:

• Galapagos Islands: evolutionist and botanist Charles Darwin's beloved Pacific archipelago paradise is in peril, the study suggests. Rising tides, extreme weather and increasingly acidic oceans are endangering its colourful wildlife

• Venice: rising waters are putting at risk the Italian city of romance's intricate gothic, baroque, renaissance and Byzantine structures. Flood protection measures have already cost about £4 billion

• Easter Island: the Pacific island's iconic heads are among the World Heritage "must-sees" threatened by coastal erosion

• Statue of Liberty: extreme weather has already put this old New York monument to the test. Hurricane Sandy left it needing £68 million worth of safeguards and repairs in the vicinity. The report says the statue will face even more intense challenges in the shape of water level rises, hurricanes and storm surges

• Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda): increasing heat here may impact on its at-risk mountain gorilla population, the study warns

What the expert says

The UCS's Adam Markham, the study's lead author, says the 31 sites named already face climate change ramifications, with the threat of worse to come if no action is taken.