MALINDI, September 27 – Environmental experts are forecasting doom for Kenya’s tourism industry at the coast as a result of climate change.
Leading researcher Prof. Joseph Ouma Muga says phenomena like flooding in the rivers that lead into the Indian Ocean as well as rising sea levels would lead to receding beaches and adverse effects on the coral eco-system.
“When the sea warms up, the corals will die and we shall have lost attractions to the sea. Hotels will get flooded, the road system will be affected and airports will be impossible to land,” said Prof Muga while addressing tourism stakeholders in Watamu on Friday at a forum ahead of the International Tourism Day.
Prof Muga who is the Managing Director of the Renaissance Institute for Environmental Research and Development has also predicted that Kenya could soon begin to experience cyclones.
“Because of changes brought about by climatic change, we now have different climatic zones. We are going to have cyclones which is a very strong wind system that disturbs the sea, with heavy rains that cause floods,” he said.
“It will kill people. It will make tourism unsafe.”
The scientist has proposed that the government sets up a research centre to review the tourism sector in relation to major dangers. He says some progress has already been made.
“We have had a complete review of disaster policy, and that in itself is a major step forward,” said Prof Muga. “We have a national platform for disaster risk reduction….so in that respect Kenya has gone very far.”
This year’s tourism week, which is being hosted in the coastal towns of Malindi and Watamu has the theme “Tourism responding to the challenges of climate change”.