Climate change and tourism


Goa to a large extent relies on tourism, which remains to be a major contributor to its economy. The National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) pegged the Gross Value Added (GVA) by tourism at 7.39% for the state as opposed to a national average of 3.80% for the year 2009-2010. This underscores the dependency of the state's economy on tourism, and highlights the need to understand the implications that climate change would pose to the tourism sector.

Climate change and tourism in Goa

Rising temperatures and sea levels are amongst the known climate threats to tourism in Goa. The IPCC's (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) fifth assessment report acknowledges sea level rise as an imminent threat to coastal habitations. The causes of sea level rise are global; however its impacts are local in nature. Global mean sea level change results mainly from two processes:

  • Thermal expansion of sea water
  • The exchange of water between oceans and other reservoirs - glaciers and ice caps, ice sheets, precipitation and other land water reservoirs

Based on observations from the Mormugoa station, the trend in sea level rise has been gradually increasing, with the 1970s showing a i.8mm/year rise, the 1990s showing a s.smm/year rise and the past decade showing a rise of 6.9mm/year.

Temperature trends for the future also show a similar trend-the rate of increase in heat-wave duration is more than twice for the future as compared to the past.

This increasing trend in sea level rise and the heat wave conditions will not only affect tourist influx in Goa, but would also impact the livelihoods of people dependent on tourism, especially since one in three are directly or indirectly employed by this sector. Without any adaptive intervention, the effects of climate change on tourism as a sector, and the ecosystem at large would be considerable. Hence, adaptation at a local scale has to be taken up vigorously to climate-proof the fragile ecosystem and livelihoods of people to future climatic aberrations in this state that is marked by a 101 Km long picturesque coastline adjoining the Arabian Sea.