Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Impact of Natural Disasters on Holiday Destinations

The Impact of Natural Disasters on Holiday Destinations


There are places on the planet which are more susceptible to natural disasters than others. We all like the idea of travelling to different countries and experiencing new things. However recently we have been made far more aware of the how weather and geological occurrences can define a country. The sad irony is that most of these disaster prone countries tend to be some of the most beautiful and picturesque places on earth.

disaster1 The Impact of Natural Disasters on Holiday Destinations

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More often than not, when we are planning a holiday destination, we generally tend to opt for beaches or areas of natural beauty. One of the most popular long haul destinations is the USA, a country which has more than its fair share of climatic calamities. We constantly hear of tornadoes blighting the mid west and earthquakes in California. However one of the most persistent nemeses is that of the hurricane. We have seen just how destructive these can be and none more so than what happened in the city of New Orleans. This very popular Louisiana city was completely devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 with the multiple loss of human lives and many homes destroyed. It was thought at the time that the city would never recover but miraculously the much needed tourism industry has been rejuvenated beyond what anyone could have imagined. In 2010, the number of tourists visiting the ‘Big Easy’ was up to nearly ‘pre Katrina’ levels. The visitor slumps which followed the immediate years after the hurricane, fortunately proved to be temporary. These days, methods have been put in place to protect the city against the same fate. This includes a giant flood wall which is nearly two miles long and 26 ft high.

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Of course, the islands of the Caribbean contend with Hurricanes as a normal annual occurrence and have learned to adapt well. The Caribbean people are not ignorant it seems to the power of the storm and make provisions accordingly. In addition, tourism is rarely affected even in the aftermath of Hurricanes such as Gilbert and Hugo since this is generally the main industry of the islands and therefore crucial and important to jobs.

Indonesia and Thailand

As bad as Hurricane Katrina was, the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami disaster was on another level. Indonesia and Thailand are always favourites among tourists young and old but on Boxing Day 2004, the only thing the tourists and inhabitants could do was run for their lives. The Indian Ocean was hit by a deadly Tsunami which had knock on effects in various different corners of the region. It has officially been classified as the deadliest natural disaster in recorded history. The amount of fatalities was shocking with over 230,000 people confirmed dead. It was so devastating that countries such as Sri Lanka and India were also affected. So much was lost as a result of this phenomenon that people there still live in fear.

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Some disasters have occurred much closer to home and can sometimes be influenced by human behaviour. The recent Marbella forest fires were an example of how careless and malevolent acts can soon spiral out of control and ruin lives. Thousands of people had to be evacuated out of the area and housed in communal shelters as their homes were destroyed with many people dying as a result of the onslaught of raging fires. It’s anyone’s guess how long it will take for the area to recover. Some have said that certain parts of the forest will take over 100 years to fully recover which is a tragedy for everyone.

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If you are the kind of person who is stupid enough to drop a cigarette in the forest then you shouldn’t be there in the first place. The fact is, the tourism industry will be affected significantly as people will be nervous as to a repeat of what happened and choose to holiday elsewhere in the short term. In terms of deterrents, then the best one would be for us all to have a little bit of common sense and decency. Having respect for your environment is the only way forward and these disasters are a constant reminder to us as to the power of Mother Nature.

Author: Alfie Davenport is a writer with a passion for travel. He currently works for Telegraph Jobs, who have a large database of careers in construction as well as many other types of jobs.


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