Following the success of America Adapts, Australia joins the show with regular podcasts where GIFT member Dr. Johanna Nalau interviews adaptation professionals in Australia. The podcast will feature discussions with a wide range of adaption professionals across Australia and give updates on current and past adaptation initiatives, ideas and insights. Learn more about what adaption means down under and some of the innovative ways they get local governments thinking about climate change.
Tourism planning in natural World Heritage Areas
A project undertaken for UNESCO investigated the extent to which natural World Heritage Areas engage in tourism planning. The study follows an expert workshop on "Economic impacts of tourism in Protected Areas", held from 21-25 September 2015 at the UNESCO-Wadden Sea World Heritage Visitor Center in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. It also relates to the Global Sustainable Tourism Dashboard indicator of tourism planning i protected areas. The key finding is that tourism planning across World Heritage Areas needs to be improved and more consistent methods for visitor monitoring in particular are necessary.
Researchers: Prof Susanne Becken and Ms, Cassie Wardle
Monitoring aesthetic value of the Great Barrier Reef by using artificial intelligence
This project addresses the urgent need to understand and monitor the aesthetic value of the Great Barrier Reef. Focusing on the fast-changing underwater systems of the Reef, this research will use advanced technology (including eye tracking and heart rate measurement) to elicit what environmental and experiential attributes contribute to aesthetic value. A Big Data platform using artificial intelligence will be created to assess large volumes of visitor-supplied imagery and to map aesthetic value across space and time.
The project is funded through the NESP Tropical Water Quality Hub.
Project team: Prof Susanne Becken, Prof Rod Connolly, Prof Noel Scott, Prof Bela Stantic, Dr Ranju Mandal, Ms Dung Le, Ms Emily Chen
Carbon reporting in Travel and Tourism
Measurement, reporting and disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions are becoming more mainstream; especially amongst larger corporations, followed by smaller operators. The benefits of carbon reporting are widely known, and include reduced operational costs, enhanced brand value, and better risk management. There is evidence that an increasing number of Travel and Tourism companies are engaging in environmental and carbon reporting. However, relative to the size of the sector and considering its annual growth rates, reporting levels are still comparatively low and quality is often insufficient.
This report on “Proving the Case” has been written in partnership with Amadeus and concludes that both industry leadership and an enabling policy environment are required to achieve fast progress in reporting, disclosure and reduction of carbon emissions. Customer support for low-carbon products exists but greater pressure from the travelling public is currently limited due to lack of willingness to change behaviour, incomplete knowledge about impacts, and lack of readily available and easy-to-understand options.
Eco-adapt in the Pacific
Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) is an approach that uses natural processes and systems to help communities adapt to climate change and reduce the risk associated with climate-related hazards. Yet, most EbA projects in the Pacific are development aid projects and focused on implementing EbA approaches. There is currently lack of research that would examine the opportunities and challenges regarding EbA, its implementation, and provide sound scientific bases for decision-making around EbA and other adaptation options. Griffith University is embarking on a new research project, EcoAdapt Pacific, in collaboration with stakeholders in the Pacific region.
The project uses a multidisciplinary approach drawing upon regional ocean circulation and coastal inundation modelling, engineering, coastal management, ecosystem dynamics, social science, micro-economics analysis, and systems modelling and simulation modelling. The research aims to address three key questions: (1) What constitutes an ecosystem based approach; (2) In the Pacific context, under what circumstances are ecosystem based approaches an appropriate climate change adaptation response; and (3) What information and decision making processes are required by stakeholders to evaluate adaptation options? The answers to these questions will provide useful knowledge for decision-makers who have to decide on how climate adaptation funds are to be invested and also for local communities who need to explore a range of possible adaptation options. This project will also engage with the private sector (e.g. tourism operators) in order to understand the current and future constraints, limits and opportunities for adaptation in the tourism sector and the role EbA approaches can play in enhancing tourism stakeholders' resilience to climate change related impacts.
Researchers from GIFT: Dr Johanna Nalau, Prof Susanne Becken
Review of finance mechanisms for climate change adaptation
The project investigates the state of financing and funding for climate change adaptation in Australia and the potential to apply new mechanisms to meet adaptation needs. Adaptation to climate change will require investments to secure natural and man-made assets of economic and societal high value from extreme weather events and sea level rise. Many of these assets are particularly important to Australia’s tourism industry, such as our coastlines, beaches, protected areas, ports, transport infrastructure, businesses, buildings, etc. The study, funded by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, also extends to characterizing the role of the insurance industry in facilitating financing for adaptation.
Researchers: Zsuzsa Banhalmi-Zakar, Professor Susanne Becken, Daniel Ware, Ian Edwards.
Is hotel environmental performance influenced by data benchmarking and certification?
This study demonstrates that what gets measured gets managed. The analysis of historical EarthCheck bench marking data and average operational improvement rates achieved in over 1000 hotel properties over the last seven years, demonstrates that data bench marking and continued membership in a metric based environmental certification program yields measurable benefits.
Researchers: Prof Susanne Becken, Dr Char-lee McLennan and Ms Melinda Watt (EarthCheck)
Climate services for tourism in the Pacific Islands
This project investigates the weather and climate information knowledge and needs of tourism stakeholders in Fiji, including their current usage of information for planning and decision-making, and disaster preparedness. It also aims to understand the importance of different time frames for tourism planning and business development/management in order to enable a more targeted and effective approach to information and data sharing and usage in this particular sector. Findings will inform policy development and decision making related to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
Researchers: Professor Susanne Becken, Adjunct Professor Steve Noakes, Dr. Johanna Nalau, Professor Brendan Mackey