September 14, 2009

Kilimanjaro National Park: Case Study of climate change effects in tourism activities

KilimanjaroNational Park: Case Study of climate change effects in tourism activities

Climate play role in tourist destination choice as some tourists spend their holidays lazing in the sun, a sun that should be pleasant but not too hot as climate change would alter that, as tourists are particularly footloose. The popular holiday destinations may become too hot, and destinations that are currently too cool would see a surge in their popularity. It can be surprising that the tourism literature pays little attention to climate and climatic change and it is equally surprising that the climate change impact literature pays little attention to tourism. The number of studies on tourism and climate change is starting to grow. Research will be reviewing literature, along with methods and issues in the literature, findings will be correspondingly in diverse area. However, studies agree that climate change matters to tourism and recreation and future avenues of inquiry can be discussed.

Climate change will probably not affect the amount of money spent, however, but rather where it is spent. Revenues from tourism are a major factor in some economies, seeing only part of that money move elsewhere may be problematic. Research will recognize economic implications of climate change changes in Tanzania tourism as climate was deemed to be obvious or beyond control of managers and perhaps because climate was seen to be constant, Hamilton et al. (2004) do look at supply and demand for countries, but their model is restricted to tourist numbers. Tourism is related to climate, as tourists prefer spending time outdoors and travel to enjoy the sun or landscape.

Climate change poses significant risks for Tanzania. While projected trends in precipitation are uncertain, there is high likelihood of year-round temperature increase, as well as sea level rise. The sectors potentially impacted by climate change include agriculture, forests, water resources, coastal resources, human health, and energy, industry and transport. Given the low level of human development, extreme poverty, and high dependence on agriculture and natural resources, Tanzania may be quite vulnerable to projected climatic changes. Climate change may accelerate or decelerate growth, but is unlikely to change growth into decline.

Case for Kilimanjaro National Park

Contrary to the opinion expressed by Thompson et al. (2002) it is unlikely that the loss of the glaciers will have major impact on the hydrology of the mountain. Kaser et al. (under review) come to the same conclusion. Furthermore, observations of dry river beds are not necessarily an indicator of long term climatic changes or the impact of shrinking glaciers. Dried out rivers in some areas are much more likely the result of forest destruction or of increasing water demands of the rapidly growing population. Water diversion has in fact quadrupled in certain areas during the last 40 years (Sarmett and Faraji 1991). There will provide brief review of climatic change, as it may influence national parks with focus on number of impacts sectors considered to be important, conclusion section will focus on possible policy options, based for example on the protection of natural resources in mountain regions, recommendations for research agenda for Kilimanjaro park.

As of the present, Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA) is major tourist attraction in Tanzania and gains the most foreign exchange of any National Park in Tanzania (Newmark and Nguye 1991). Most visitors are mainly interested in reaching the summit of Kibo, known as Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa. Since the establishment of the Park in 1972, the number of visitors of KINAPA has multiplied by five. The disappearing glaciers of Kilimanjaro are attracting broad interest. Less conspicuous but ecologically far more significant is the associated increase of frequency and intensity of fires on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, which leads to downward shift of the upper forest line by several hundred meters as result of drier climate since the last century.

Indeed, coordinated research would be welcome. Although it is clear that climate is an important consideration in destination choice, it is not clear what aspects of climate tourist pay particular attention to. Tourism is climate dependent industry, and destinations owe popularity to pleasant climates during seasons with Tourism Climatic Index reveal locations of climatically ideal tourism conditions are likely to shift poleward under projected climate change. Whereas destinations may see shifts in peak seasons from summer months to current shoulder periods, regions in higher latitudes are to experience lengthening of summer seasons. The effects of changes will depend greatly on the flexibility demonstrated by institutions and tourists as they react to climate change, with substantial implications for both spatial and temporal redistribution of tourism activities. There has to be regular round of activities associated with the seasons and anything which influences operating seasons is likely to have substantial consequences for tourism businesses Atmospheric conditions influence whether or not people will participate as well as the quality of the experience.


Hamilton, J.M., D.J. Maddison, and R.S.J. Tol, 2004: The effects of climate change on international tourism. Research Unit Sustainability and Global Change Working Paper FNU-36, Centre for Marine and Climate Research, Hamburg University, Hamburg, Germany.

Kaser, G., Hardy, D. R., Mölg, T. & Bradley, R. S. (under review): Modern glacier retreat on Kilimanjaro as evidence of climate change: Observations and facts.

Newmark W. D. and Nguye, P. A. (1991): Recreational impacts of tourism along the Mrangu route in Kilimanjaro National Park. In: Newmark, W.D. (ed.): The Conservation of Mount Kilimanjaro. The IUCN Tropical Forest Programme: 47-52.

Sarmett, J. D. and Faraji, S. A. (1991): The hydrology of Mount Kilimanjaro: an eximination of dry season runoff and possible factors leading to its decrease. In: Newmark, W. D. (ed.): The Conservation of Mount Kilimanjaro. The IUCN Tropical Forest Programme: 53-70.

Thompson, L. G., Mosley-Thompson, E., Davis, M. E., Henderson, K. A., Brecher, H. H., Zagorodnov, V.S., Mashiotta, T. A., Lin, P.-N., Mikhalenko, V. N., Hardy, D. R. & Beer, J. (2002): Kilimanjaro ice core records. Evidence of holocene climate change in tropical Africa. In: Science 298: 589-593.

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