The Himalayas is a vital region that facilitates mountain tourism to a number of countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bhutan, China, India and Nepal. The unique landscape and scenery of Himalayas is the main attraction to tourist activities in this region. Tourism industry is one of the major contributors to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment. As an example, tourism sector contributes 9.4% of GDP and 8.2% of total employment in 2012 for Nepal (World Travel & Tourism Council 2014).
The observed impacts of climate change to the livelihood of the tourism industry are the main driver to the need of adaptation to ensure future development and prosperity (Simpson et al. 2008, UNWTO 2008). Climate is one of the primary factor in determining the viability and suitability of tourism activity, where shifting of weather regime and severe weather events directly impact on the operating cost, food, water supplies and insurance cost (UNWTO 2008). These are the factors that affect the decision of the tourist in their destination choices, ultimately, impacting the economical sustainability of the tourism industry in the Himalayan region.
This paper discusses how climate change adaptation can be best addressed for the risk and vulnerabilities identified for the tourism industry in the Himalayan region. Recognising the importance of stakeholder engagement throughout the process of planning, implementing and evaluating the adaptation process. A conceptual framework was designed for climate change adaptation Tourism industry in the Himalayan Region, which this paper will be focusing the discussion on.
Approaching Climate change Adaptation Planning:
Climate change adaptation planning is the process that focuses on how to achieve a desirable outcome in reducing the vulnerability of assets within a defined scope and scale. Vulnerability of an asset consists of three main factors, exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity (IPCC 2014, pg5). The aims of adaptation are reducing exposure to hazards, desensitize assets from impacts of climate change and increase adaptive capacity of the assets and stakeholders.
IPCC defined adaptation to be “The process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects. In human systems, adaptation seeks to moderate or avoid harm or exploit beneficial opportunities. In some natural systems, human intervention may facilitate adjustment to expected climate and its effects.” (IPCC 2014, pg5)
This paper assumes that the risk and vulnerabilities assessment has been conducted and followed the process illustrated in Appendix 1, where stakeholders has been identified and participate throughout the process of the assessment.
The conceptual diagram below (Figure 1) illustrates the adaptation planning process that will be discussed throughout this paper. Stakeholder engagement is the most important element in the planning process; every stage of the adaptation process always involves ongoing...