Planning for climate, weather and other natural disasters: Tourism in Northland
The weather is an important ingredient for tourism, but it is also a potential source of hazard, with natural disasters resulting from extreme events not being uncommon in New Zealand. Using the tourism sector in Northland as a case study, this research sought to identify key concerns and issues relating to climate and weather, and to understand the flow of information between weather information providers and users, including tourists. The research also assessed tourism’s preparedness for natural disasters and involvement in local or regional civil defence responses. Interviews with key stakeholders were undertaken in three stages and analysed to generate insights into the relationship between climate, weather and tourism. The key issue identified by tourism stakeholders related to the image of Northland as a tourist destination and the impact of weather forecasts on domestic visitors, mainly from the Auckland market. Seasonality of visitation is also an issue. Climate variability (i.e. changes in every-day conditions such as rainy days) was not perceived to be a big problem; in fact most tourism stakeholders reported relatively little disruption from unfavourable weather conditions. Non-tourism stakeholders expressed concerns about longer term issues, such as climate change and its impacts on extreme events, such as flooding and drought, and sea level rise. The analysis of crisis and disasters resulting from extreme weather events revealed that, while there are regional and local response plans and processes in place, tourism is not explicitly integrated into those. A few gaps, such as communicating road closures or early warnings, were identified and could be rectified by better cooperation between tourism and civil defence organisations. In summary, the Northland climate and weather appears generally very favourable for tourism although there are some seasonality issues arising from the current reliance on coastal and waterbased attractions. Efforts to both attract visitors outside the summer season and to improve summer visitation numbers may be directed at addressing perceived image problems. There is also scope to increase the capability of tourism stakeholders to deal with emergency situations.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordstourist destinations; tourism planning; Northland; impact of weather; perception of climate; weather hazard
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