Over the past few weeks, all-time temperature records have been set around the world. They are consistent with the idea of “global weirding”—extremes becoming the norm. All global issues and risks are intertwined, but in the medium and long-term, climate change is the one that matters more than anything else.
Climate change has already ceased to be a distant threat and has become an issue whose consequences demand immediate action. Over the coming years, it will command more financial resources and exert a greater influence on the global economy and geopolitics than most other issues that attract the world’s interest today.
Consequences for the travel and tourism industry in general, and its wellness segment in particular, will be far-reaching and often dramatic. Rising seas, dying farmlands and ever more powerful storms and floods will render some countries and regions uninhabitable. Scorching heat (such as the world’s hottest low temperature recorded in Oman on June 28: 42.6 degrees Celsius or 109 degrees Fahrenheit) will prevent tourists from visiting some countries during the hottest months.
Investors and business executives will have to price in the risk of climate change: Countries that are vulnerable to it will pay significantly more to borrow from the financial markets. There is already evidence that this is the case: According to new research, the most vulnerable developing countries have already paid more than $40 billion in additional interest payments on their governments’ debt because of their exposure to climate change risks. That will cost them a further $168 billion in the next decade. The most affected countries happen to be tourism and wellness destinations, such as Tanzania, Kenya and Vietnam.