Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

The Surprising Impact of Global Warming on Tourism

by Richard Morin

Book Your Mongolian Vacation Now

Vancouver and Bangor are unlikely to replace Vera Cruz or the Bahamas as sun-and-fun destinations for international tourists.

But they just might — thanks to global warming.

An international team of economists predict that by the end of the century the expected rise in temperature will make many current tourist hot spots a bit too toasty while making some currently chilly places warm enough to entice fair-weather travelers.

The United States is predicted to be one of the tourism winners, with international tourism to the U.S. increasing an estimated 13.7 percent over what it would have been if the atmosphere wasn’t warming up, claim researchers Andrea Bigano of the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in Milan, Italy, Jacqueline M. Hamilton of Hamburg University and Richard S.J. Tol of the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin.

“Climate change would shift patterns of tourism towards higher altitudes and latitudes,” they write. “Tourism may double in colder countries and fall by 20 percent in warmer countries….For some countries international tourism may treble whereas for others it may be cut in half.”

The biggest winners: Canada, which they predict will experience a 220 percent increase in international arrivals by 2100, Russia (174 percent) and Mongolia (122 percent). The biggest losers: Mauritania, where international arrivals will drop by 60 percent, Mali (-59 percent) and Bahrain (-58 percent). “Currently popular destinations that are high up there include Macau (-48 percent), Aruba (-42 percent) and Jamaica (-39 percent),” Tol said in an e-mail.

These researchers used a mathematical simulation model developed by Hamburg University researchers that predicts tourist flows to and from 207 countries based on characteristics known to affect leisure travel. The factors included population growth, the economy and temperature. Then they plugged in estimates that global warming will cause the world’s temperature to rise about 3 degrees Celsius by 2100, or about 5 degrees Fahrenheit, to see its effect on tourism.

Just five degrees? Could such a relatively modest rise in the world’s thermostat really produce such big changes?

Absolutely, Tol said. “Three degrees Centigrade is not as little as it seems. You would need to travel 1,000 miles south to experience the same warming.”

Hot Spots

Here are the countries that are predicted to experience the biggest increases and declines in international tourism by the end of the century due to global warming.

Biggest Increases:

1 Canada +220%

2 Russia +174%

3 Mongolia +122%

4 Kyrgyzstan +89%

5 Zimbabwe +88%

6 Tajikistan +86%

7 Iceland +85%

8 Finland +82%

9 Zambia +82%

10 Norway +77%

Biggest Declines:

1 Mauritania -60%

2 Mali -59%

3 Bahrain -58%

4 Qatar -58%

5 Kuwait -56%

6 United Arab Emirates -55%

7 Senegal -54%

8 Niger -54%

9 Burkina Faso -53%

10 Namibia -52%

Source: Richard S.J. Tol

Embedded Reporters, Slanted Perspective?

The use of embedded reporters by major newspapers during the invasion of Iraq produced more personal and human-interest stories about the lives of U.S. soldiers while “downplaying the effects of the invasion on the Iraqi people,” according to a Penn State University researcher.

Andrew M. Linder examined 742 newspaper articles written by 156 journalists from the beginning of the war on March 19, 2003 until President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech on May 1, 2003. The articles appeared in 67 separate publications, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today and the Associated Press.

He found reporters assigned to military units as part of its “embedded journalists” program were responsible for 71 percent of the stories on the front pages of major newspapers and 69 percent of stories inside the main news sections. Far less prominent were stories written by journalists from those same papers who were based in Baghdad or not part of the embedded journalist program.

Only 12 percent of the stories by embedded journalists reported civilian fatalities compared to half of those written by reporters stationed in Baghdad. These independent reporters were able to provide “the most balanced coverage of the war” because of their access to both soldiers and Iraqis, Linder suggested.

USA Today made the most prominent use of stories by embedded reporters, with 100% of its Iraq articles during the study period coming from embedded reporters, reported Linder, a sociology graduate student who presented his findings last week at the American Sociological Association meeting in Montreal .

A majority of stories (55%) in the Washington Post came from its embedded reporters. Just over a third (37%) of the articles in the New York Times were written by staffers traveling with the troops while about half (52%) were from its independent reporters, Linder claimed.

“People do ask whether embedded reporters are less objective and can provide neutral reporting,” Linder said in a statement released by Penn State. “But the question may really be whether embedded reporters had the access or opportunity to talk with people other than soldiers.”

Nap Time

Want to lose weight? Turn off the television and take a nap.

That’s what University of Michigan’s Michael Sivak found when he studied the relationship between sleeping, eating and obesity.

Sivak said a person who sleeps seven hours a night and consumes 2,500 calories during the rest of the day can trim 147 calories simply by replacing an hour of “inactive wakefulness” with an hour more of sleep — or about 14 pounds a year.

Sivak found that people tend to chow down during these periods of wakeful inactivity. Each additional hour of sack time reduces caloric intake by about 6 percent, he reported in the latest issue of Obesity Reviews.

Who Would Have Thought?

Lonely People and French Names

“Alone but Feeling No Pain: Effects of Social Exclusion on Physical Pain Tolerance and Pain Threshold, Affective Forecasting and Interpersonal Empathy” by C. Nathan DeWall and Roy F. Baumeister. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol. 91 No. 1. Florida State University psychologists administered a personality test to students and those who were falsely told the results predict “they will most likely end up alone in life” were subsequently able to withstand higher levels of physical pain and were less sympathetic to others than students who were told nothing or informed their results suggest they were accident-prone.

“Exposure to foreign media and changes in cultural traits: Evidence from naming patterns in France” by Anne-Célia Disdier, Keith Head and Thierry Mayer. Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano, University of Milano Working Paper No. 213. French and Canadian researchers find that French parents increasingly are naming their children after French and international media celebrities, which is why “Kevin” was the number one name for French boys in 1990, the same year as Kevin Costner’s “Dances With Wolves” was an international hit and why the names “Brandon,” “Brenda” and “Dylan” soared in popularity in the mid-1990s after the television show Beverly Hills 90210 was introduced in France.

Richard Morin is a senior editor at the Pew Research Center. Versions of this column appear on and on the Pew Research Center web site.

Icon for promotion number 1

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Fresh data delivery Saturday mornings

Icon for promotion number 1

Sign up for The Briefing

Weekly updates on the world of news & information