UMaine research shows that desert mountain island tourism can use participatory planning to address the impacts of climate change

A study from the University of Maine shows that bringing together academics and tourism developers on Mount Desert Island (MDI) is an effective way to identify the impacts of climate change and determine what can be done to address them given the strengths, limitations and resources of the community. Now, thanks to the work of an interdisciplinary group of UMaine graduate researchers and community stakeholders, MDI may have more information about the path forward to keep the destination sustainable.

Nature-based tourism destinations, like many destinations across Maine, face unique challenges caused by the effects of climate change. Climate and weather determine the timing, length and quality of the tourist seasons, as well as the risks associated with recreational activities.

Participatory planning – bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders to analyze complex issues through the application of local knowledge – is an approach that communities can use to anticipate the effects of climate change and prepare appropriate solutions. For nature-based tourism destinations, this may mean diversifying recreational opportunities, for example, or developing sustainable transport plans that focus on tourism movements.

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