From: Reuters
Published September 22, 2006 12:00 AM

World Heritage Sites May Soon Be off Tourism Map

LONDON — World Heritage sites such as Australia's Great Barrier Reef or Kathmandu in Nepal could be taken off the tourism map by 2020 due to the effects of climate change and too many visitors, a think tank said on Friday.

In a report prepared for UK insurance company Churchill, the Centre for Future Studies (CFS) listed 10 popular destinations that could be either permanently closed or have a visitor cap within 15 years.

"I'm reasonably confident we're going to see an increasing climate degradation that is going to impact on various places in the world with increasing severity," CFS director Frank Shaw told Reuters.

"Floods, storms, droughts, increasing and erratic temperatures will combine to bring about changes in destination choice for tourists."

Florida's Everglades in the United States, Athens in Greece, Croatia's Dalmatian coastline, Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast in Italy as well as the Maldives are some of the other destinations at risk highlighted by the report.

The study drew on evidence provided by scientists, governments, as well as tourism and environmental organisations from around the world.

Tourism activity on the Great Barrier Reef, situated off Queensland state in Australia's northeast, injects an estimated two billion pounds into the local economy each year.

"There is a conflict between environmental concerns and commercial interests," added Shaw. "For some countries tourism represents a significant part of their gross domestic product.

"But there is evidence Australia and many other governments are considering what can be done to protect national assets."

Source: Reuters

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