Victoria University (VU) and partner researchers have been awarded a three-year AusAid grant to help the Pacific Islands tourism sector adapt to climate change.
The effect of climate change on the region is a major focus for leaders from across the Pacific who are meeting this week in Cairns for the 40th annual Pacific Islands Forum.
Project coordinator, Professor Terry Delacy of VU’s Centre of Tourism and Services Research, said: “The research is timely, given the importance of tourism to Pacific Island countries, the risks of climate change to their economies, and the tourism sector’s particular vulnerability to climate change.”
Tourism, the largest export sector for most Pacific Island countries, offers significant opportunities for economic growth and sustainable development.
However Pacific Islands’ tourism is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change because the natural environment and coastal infrastructure upon which it is based is very climate-sensitive.
In addition, tourism in the Pacific is reliant on a long-haul travel market threatened by global climate change policy, and changing consumer demands.
The Australian Development Grant Award will examine specific impacts of climate change to the region’s tourism sector, and develop strategies and policies to enhance the resilience of tourism destinations to the threats of future climate change.
VU will be supported by research expertise from the University of New South Wales and the University of South Pacific, as well as partners in the Oceania Sustainable Tourism Alliance, an organisation established to assist Pacific Island countries design and implement tourism strategies to fight poverty and foster long-term improvements for residents, their communities and businesses.
This project will extend research that VU has undertaken in the Pacific in a number of development projects, in particular, in East Timor, as well as its environmental research, including water and fire research, and econometric models of climate change.
For more information, contact Professor Terry Delacy, Centre for Tourism and Services Research, Victoria University Ph: (03) 9919 5349 or 0429 662 020.
VU Media Contact: Ann Marie Angebrandt, Acting Senior Media Officer,
Marketing and Communications Department, Victoria University
Ph: (03) 9919 5487 or 0403 556 001