Sir Richard Branson flew away on a historic Sunday, July 11.7.2021, XNUMX. from the desert in New Mexico from Spaceport America in his style to the edge of space and spent a few minutes in weightlessness thus announcing personally the era - space tourism that we pointed out in one of the earlier articles.
Branson has tried successfully and less successfully in a series of "businesses" - from the production and sale of records from which his adventurous business journey began long ago, his version of the cole, the railway lines he took over to the space company. All his companies have the same initial name - Virgin.
I have been following him for over fifteen years. I especially like it, because it has also been tried in tourism - airline, hotels, travel agency and now - we repeat to Virgin Galactic, a business group for tourist space travel. They claim to already have about 600 to 700 interested at a cost of the trip of about $ 250. It is obvious, I often repeat, that every tourist product has its audience. Only to her, as always in life, one should know how to reach.
But as we fly into space, we forget about Mother Earth. And she suffers. It also expresses suffering, as politicians would say, transparently. While our hero and his crew climbed to a height of just over 88 km above the Earth's crust, the ground, according to media reports, was literally burning also in America in Death Valley, California at + 54 ºC.
Yes, climate change is not about who goes up, but what happens down. I don't like conspiracy theories, much less the so-called on-duty "catastrophists". But the warnings can no longer be ignored, much less waved indolently.
The well-known portal "Politico" will serve as a concentrated, objective and focused starting point for the discussion. From the rich material and scenarios based on the review of more than 100 scientific documents as well as the most comprehensive working material on this issue of 4200 pages made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) it is useful to know a few things.
Floods, heat and droughts
Northern and Central Europe it will affect more and more often flooding, the south - drought And thus fires, overheating of urban units, but due to drought - and intense decline in agricultural production. When it comes to water hazards, Paris, Bucharest, Thessaloniki and Barcelona are among the cities where more than three quarters of the urban area is concreted and floods occur due to the impossibility of rainwater runoff. Doesn't all this remind you of well-known staff for such reasons flooded our smaller and larger cities and municipalities, which were forgotten in the violent construction due to the greed for new residential squares and forget that rainwater cannot flow adequately ?!
The south of Europe, to which Croatia belongs, is of particular concern. Back in 2018, when 178 thousand hectares of land and forests were burned in Europe, the relevant European authorities found that there was a real danger that, for example, two thirds of Spain and 99% of Cyprus would become desert due to droughts and fires in the not too distant future.
Rome is thus estimated to have the opportunity to reach high temperatures over time like Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.
Which suggests that, believe it or not, Germany gets a chance to produce the best tomatoes olit in the coastal and Dalmatian - "tomatoes" ("pomodoro" or "golden apples" in Italian) due to higher rainfall in the north. Because tomatoes constantly need water in their cultivation.
The estimated sea level rise of 1,1 m by 2100 potentially threatens about 37% of the Mediterranean coast and 42 million people, who live in that part. At the same time, the European population aged +65, which by default is extremely sensitive to heat and whose care will require significant efforts, will increase by an additional 2050 million by 40.
It is pointed out that the heat in the already mentioned Rome and in most Mediterranean cities will be such that natural ventilation will be no more than helpful. Greater use of air conditioners will immediately double hydrocarbon emissions.
According to the data, the heat will worsen the psychological state of the local population, human resources in tourism, but also their guests, which should also be taken into account in the preparation of that part of the tourist year.
European experts are already clearly warning that Europe does not show understanding for these problems. Which, in turn, threaten to continue to hinder and significantly threaten the EU as a political project in the medium term. Especially modern Europeans still do not understand how these phenomena will affect them directly or personally. In short, it is not good.
How to answer?
What can Croatia do, ie with what specific policies and activities that support tourism, respond to these new circumstances? We will focus on a few for our destinations today only seemingly secondary, and essentially tomorrow primary areas.
So on - energy, water, food, urbanism and construction.
In the field of energy, it is necessary to systematically develop the use of our own natural resources - especially the sun and wind - to the highest possible level with the most favorable conditions of exploitation. Everyone - from family households to hotels, tourist resorts, camps and marinas and even local communities - should, even better, start producing electricity on their own. There should be no restrictions and monopolies around solar farms and wind farms and other installations.
First, we need to ensure that there is energy at all, and second, that the cost of its production is as low as possible.
All water resources owned by the Republic of Croatia should be preserved as a pupil in your eye and manage them responsibly and carefully centrally. Periods of increasing droughts will inevitably further raise the price of water as a commodity. This will in the near future lead to the strengthening of international water exchanges as a stock exchange item which inevitably leads to speculation, read price increases. As a tourist country, we cannot put ourselves in the position of not having or, even worse, buying our own water. At slightly higher prices, of course, with extra earnings and tricks of new "businessmen" of that kind.
The same goes for food. Should stimulate food production at all levels and that as much as possible in controlled conditions that provide only examples for the sake of greenhouses. This needs to be rethought and structured for production models now achieving adequacy and self-sustainability of food supply at domestic micro and macro levels.
In terms of urbanism, an uncompromising turn is necessary. It is high time to put an end to uncontrolled construction, which not only "eats" nature and superficially "locks" the space and thus prevents water runoff, but also uncontrollably multiplies the number of consumer places of energy and water resources in peak loads.
It already is necessarily create and develop sea defense systems, such as what Brodosplit in Split produced in segments for Venice, for potentially the most endangered cities in our part of the Adriatic.
And of course, with all of the above, systematically still strengthen our overall firefighting defenses and potentials - from already proven canadians and air tractors to the network of local fire brigades, which really have a commendable tradition in our country. With constant reconnaissance with all available technologies and means from the air in order to eliminate the fire as early as possible.
Yes, not everything looks as attractive as we are used to. But, unfortunately - it is realistic.
Energy, water, food, urbanism and construction are becoming just as, if not more important for the functioning of all, including Croatian tourist destinations.
Which ultimately suggests that we are in the coming period of destination management more closer to crisis and less reputational management. It might be advisable to supplement the Strategy for the Development of Sustainable Tourism until 2030 and the National Plan for the Development of Sustainable Tourism until 2027, commissioned by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Croatia, with relevant answers and directions to these and other questions. In other words, it is up to the current governing structures in power - the Government of the Republic of Croatia and all ministries, but also local communities - as well as the opposition to understand that the seriousness of the coming climate future goes beyond daily political fruitless debates and to start dealing with real, essential topics. And it is up to the people to give their electoral trust to those who think about it and act on it.
The sooner we understand - the better for all who live from tourism. We have no choice. Such are just the times.
Photo: Vicko Mozara, Unsplash.com / Illustration: Hrturizam.hr