Hoi An, Vietnam

In my recent blogs, I mentioned two places that most people may be familiar with, The Great Barrier Reef and Venice. For this next blog, I want to focus on a location that is not as popular. Bellow, I will talk about Hoi An, Vietnam and its culture and tourism, and how climate change plays a negative role in them.

Hoi An, Vietnam is an ancient town founded in the 15th century. It is located in the province of Quang Nam near the basin of the Thu Bon River. The urbanized sections of the town are between 0-15 meters above sea level. The low-level elevations near the river often experiences erosion. On average, about two high tides per day occur off the coast and raises 1.4 meters above sea level. The town’s average daily temperature is 25.6°C and has about 147 rainy days throughout the year.

This town was a trading port for Southeast and East Asia to trade with the rest of the world. This is an example of a town that is well preserved with a Chinese and Japanese style. Hoi An has 1,107 timber frame, and wooden or brick buildings. The buildings are repaired when needed, but never replaced by concrete or cement. There are preserved architectural monuments, religious buildings, open markets, and a ferry. The original street plan of this town remains and a wooden Japanese bridge from the 18th century exists. Today, Hoi An is still a trading port town and a commercial center. site_0948_0015-360-360-20120828121813site_0948_0016-360-360-20120828122028site_0948_0034-360-360-20150114165538



The town’s population consists of about 90,265 people over the land of 6,171 hectares. There is a population growth rate of about 1.36 per year. This ancient city gets a high number of tourists, that visit with the average stay of 4.2 nights for international tourists. In 2010, tourism, commerce, and services represented 59.7% of economic growth in Hoi An. Between 2003-2010, the visitor growth was 21% per year. Tourism drives this city’s economy and many livelihoods are dependent on it. There are a variety of activities to do in Hoi An, with about 800 preserved ancient homes dated back to the 16th and 17th century that visitors can explore. Because of these buildings, Hoi An was recognized as a World Heritage Site.site_0948_0003-360-360-20151104113243

In many ways, this town is affected by the changes in the climate. In the past 50 years along the coastline, Vietnam’s sea levels have risen about 20cm. Hoi An often experiences flooding but has worsen due to the increase in storm surges. Some effects of these storm surges are: local landslides, high winds, flash flooding, and coastal flooding. In 1998 waters reached 2.99 meters above sea level; and in 1999 waters reached 3.21 meters above sea level.


The damages that climate change is having on the town of Hoi An, Vietnam is not only affecting the locals, but also the number of tourists that visit. Even though there was a gradual increase from 3002-2010, there was a decline in visitation in the coastal regions in 2015 due to beach erosion. The high waters and damaging winds can often create damage to the historical buildings within the town.  The beach erosion can cause a negative impact on resort attractiveness, room rates, and property values for the town.

The decrease in visitation can affect Hoi An’s economy. The highest cost for a whole trip for the tourist visiting this town is about $395.8 US. This is huge for the economy! If the tourist counts decreases, then there will be a large correlation in a decrease of the town’s economy. Interviews with officers of a resort that is affected by beach erosion stated that there was a 70% decline in visitation in 2014.

Capture b3

The biggest issue for Hoi An is the danger that the residents are in when climate changes worsen. On November 4, 2017, Typhoon Damrey hit the town. Many were killed during the landslides and when a ship capsized. Rescue teams reported 89 people dead, 174 injured, and 18 missing. The Thu Bon River overflowed and flooded the streets. This was the 12th major storm of the year. A drone captured the footage of the streets under water. An owner of a local restaurant that was flood for four days said:

“The damage for us is that there were many tourists who came but we could not serve them.”

-Nguyen Thi Uyen


There is still a wait on long term solutions to occur to protect against climate change. For now, provincial governments, private-sector businesses and communities are adapting. An example of a public-sector solution is the construction of the dike that helps protect the areas that are in danger of high damage of road erosion. This is a costly project of about $5.5 million US. An officer of Hoi An City’s People’s Committee commented:

“The embankment is one of the city’s seven projects in the fight against climate change. We will also dredge rivers and upgrade roads.” (May 2015)

Some implements that the people and businesses are providing are pillars and sandbags to prevent wave damages. A $357,000 US investment of Nipa palm forest is expected to be planted along the Thu Bon River to protect the town from sea erosion to reduce sand drift on the beach. Many communities are attempting to provide coastal forests to prevent coastal and riverbank erosion and the application of crop rotation help salinity.


Three major issues with administration for Hoi An’s adaption to climate change:

  1. Lack of consistency and the coordination needed between the Climate Change Response Action Plan and the City Master Plan as the plans are being prepared separately with different objectives between the teams.
  2. There are gaps of knowledge and skill for the strategic urban planning among the local planners.
  3. The local governments have no mechanisms for increasing budgets of activities that impact the cause of climate change.

Are the plans really going to protect the whole town of Hoi An, Vietnam before there are long term solutions set in play? Also, these are some pricey ideas to save this town. Will these issues listed above be fixed? Locals are trying their best to prevent damages from occurring, but is the rest of the world giving the same amount of effort? That is a question as individuals that we could ask ourselves.










Venice and The Lagoon

Venice, Italy has history within the city, with buildings containing works done by some of the world’s greatest artists. The city was founded in the 5th century and its massive architecture demonstrates Byzantine, gothic, renaissance, and baroque styles throughout the city. Venice is given the name the ‘Floating City’ because it consists of 118 small islands connected by 182 canals and about 338 bridges. You may ask “why would you build a city surrounded by water?”. The advantage of Venetian Lagoon was the protection from enemy invasions in the past centuries. Is the advantage back then a disadvantage today? Will the city that floats become the city that sinks? Before focusing on the threat that Venice could be facing, let us look at the tourist the city receives.

Venice is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. In 2014, Municipality of Venice did a study showing that Venice received an estimate of over 9,000,000 tourists per year. This was more than the amount Florence, Madrid, and Rome received in 2015. The number of tourists that Venice receives is so big, that the local population is declining because of it. The link below explains the Venetians frustration of living in a city where its streets and canals are crowded by 90,000 tourists. For the purpose of this blog we will worry more about the tourists and not of the locals. For we already know that if Venice is ruined, so will be the lives of the local people.

‘Venentians Frustration’ Link.

From 1990 to 2011, the number of cruise ships that visited Venice rose from 200,000 to 1.8 million. The revenue from cruise ships are huge to the Venice economy. Venice Port Authority explained how in the city, cruise ship passengers alone are said to spend about $170 million in U.S. dollars. Venice tourist population is increasing each year and so is the revenue brought in because of it.


With sea level temperatures and heights increasing, it is affecting the entire world in a negative way. The very small, but very attractive city of Venice, Italy is one of many places that are getting hit hard from the rise of sea levels. For centuries, this city has struggled with the sea and the lagoon maintenance from high tides and storms. Flooding was common for Venice. With sea level rising, the threat of high tides and flooding is becoming more severe. With an increase of flooding, buildings and art works are being destroyed.  This means history is being destroyed.

In November of 1966, the worse flood recorded in Venice’s history occurred. This massive storm caused catastrophic damage to not only art work, but heritage damage as well. The city was under water about 5-6 feet of water. After this storm, Venice began to discuss how to protect the city from future floods. The Consorzio Venezia Nuova (Consortium for a New Venice) was created from Venice’s government and a group of engineer and construction firms.
In 1994, they proposed MOSE that was approved. I did not begin until 2003. MOSE (Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico) is the creation of barriers to protect the city. About 79 flood gates are created over the three entrances that connected the lagoon to the Adriatic Sea. The gates are planned to rise whenever a tidal wave is predicted to occur, holding back the sea waters. The MOSE project is planned to be operational this year (2018). This project is going to cost roughly EUR 5.4 (US $6.1) million dollars. This is a big price from peoples’ pockets that are having to pay on something that may not even work. Preventing sea level rise from destroying a city is a pretty expensive task.


With climate change occurring, Venice is struggling to maintain the fabric of its buildings and character. Since 1897, Venice has seen the sea levels rise nearly thirty centimeters. Of the thirty centimeters, twelve centimeters were from land subsidence. This was ended in the 1970s to prevent Venice from sinking. Since then, sea level rises have been the main problem for Venice. The water is damaging the buildings and monuments that have been built there years ago.
The city was built with the buildings’ foundations being wooden stakes into the sandy ground and underwater. This was the platform for the buildings. Wood was an advantage, because underwater the wood was not exposed to oxygen that helped fungi and bacteria (that caused decay of wood) to survive. After years, the wood underwater hardens and turns into stone-like material. On top of the platform, brick or stone was used to build the rest of the buildings. With the sea levels rising, the salt that is getting in the bricks is causing them to dissolve and then recrystallizing. If the building is constructed with stone, the stone and marble is deteriorating from the water. The link below gives examples of famous buildings and monuments that are being destroyed from sea water.

‘Famous Buildings and Monuments being Destroyed’ Link.

With buildings and monuments being destroyed within the city, a piece of history is being ruined. If more buildings are destroyed, will this lower the revenue received from tourists? What would be made of Venice if the sea levels continue to rise and the new barriers fail to stop the sea waters from destroying the city. As of now, tourists are fleeing to visit Venice. This is causing locals to leave. A question to think about is if Venice is destroyed, then could tourist decide to flee to other parts of Italy lowering their local population?


Some more questions to consider are:

  • Will the MOSE project save the city of Venice?
  • Is it worth spending all that money on a city that may not be fixable?
  • How long until sea levels rise to the height where the barriers cannot protect the city no longer?
  • What effects will this have on tourists?
  • Is the floating city a sinking city now?
  • How much danger are people in?

I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on saving Venice, Italy! Thank You!!



The Great Barrier Reef

      In this blog, we will examine the importance of the Great Barrier Reef and how the affects from climate change impact marine life, tourism, and Australia’s economy.

The Great Barrier Reef is a beautiful and the largest inhabitants for many marine species. The Great Barrier Reef is located from the tip of Queensland, Australia to the north of Bundaberg. This large marine habitat stretches 2,300 kilometers and is home to about 600 types of coral, 1625 species of fish, 100 species of jellyfish, 3000 species of mollusks, 500 species of worms, 133 species of sharks and rays, and 30 species of whales and dolphins. This reef is important to the humpback whales because they migrate to the reef from the Antarctic to use as breeding grounds. Some endangered species that depend on the home of the Great Barrier Reef are the Dugong (Sea Cow) and the large Green Sea Turtle.

A humpback whale mother and her calf
Green Sea Turtle

Dugong (Sea Cow)

The Great Barrier Reef does not just attract species of marine life, but also attract people. This reef is a beautiful view above and below the water. Alone, the marine tourism industry generated over $4.288 billion in 2003 that helped Australia’s economy. The tourism generated from the Great Barrier Reef started to grow rapidly in the 1980s and early 1990s. The number of people that visit the reef increased by about 30% per year in the early 1980s. In 2005, there was also an increased number in cruise ships and yachts cruising to the Great Barrier Reef.
Now that we examined the importance of the Great Barrier Reef, it is now time to focus on the changes it is experiencing. One of the major effects that climate change is having on the reef is coral bleaching. Coral bleaching is when stress by changes in conditions (e.g. temperature, light, nutrients, etc.) expel the symbiotic algae living in the coral’s tissues and causing them to turn completely white. This is killing coral and reducing the habitats for a lot of species. Coral bleaching has been occurring due to the average sea surface temperatures rising from climate change. According to the Australian Government – Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, in 2016 sea surface temperatures in the winter remained above average and stayed there until the summer of 2017. This above average temperature change caused severe heat stress on the Great Barrier Reef, resulting in another mass coral bleaching.

Other than just coral bleaching impacting the Great Barrier Reef, severe tropical cyclones are damaging the reef. In March 2017, tropical cyclone Debbie estimated 28% of total reef damage in the Marine Park. This cyclone’s path that cross the reef was considered to be within the ‘catastrophic damage zone’. Some regions within this path exhibited 97% of coral loss.
Another example of climate change affecting the coral of the GBR is the ocean acidification change. According to the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, much of the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide is dissolving in the ocean. About 1/3 of that carbon dioxide is from human activities, and about ½ is produced by the burning of fossil fuels. The carbon dioxide that is dissolving in the ocean is decreasing the pH levels and is causing the ocean to be more acidic. This acidity stops the coral from being able to absorb the calcium that it needs to support its skeleton structure. Other species impacted by the change in ocean acidification are snails, clams, and urchins.
Published on July 12, 2017, CNN stated that scientists are warning the nation that the Great Barrier Reef could be extinct by 2050 if nothing is done to save the reef. If the Great Barrier Reef becomes extinct then another thing to be consider is what kind of impact it is going to have on Australia’s economy. This coral loss from bleaching, severe tropical storms, and ocean acidification could cause a decrease in tourism. This could cause a loss of a multibillion dollar tourist industry. Let’s be honest, who wants to go see all white coral, no coral beautiful colors, and no marine life? No one! We want to go visit and site see the beautiful colors of the coral that the Great Barrier Reef has and all the fascinating marine life that lives there!
The Australian Government – Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority stated how national and international publicity of coral bleaching and the reef being damaged by climate change could create a negative impact on the tourism numbers. CNN released a statement from a woman who has been a scuba diver business operator since the late 1970s. Her and her husband’s business is located in the Whitsunday and Cairns region in Queensland, called “the Whitsunday Dive Centre”.


      “I really don’t know what to think. Obviously my business would cease to exist (if the reef became extinct). The number of people wanting to learn how to dive would diminish to the point where only one or two operators would remain”
           -Brenda Irving


CNN has reported the attempt to regenerate the Great Barrier Reef that has started to take place. On Monday November 27, 2017, CNN reported that Australian scientists have been optimistic about fertility treatment of coral to help rebuild the Great Barrier Reef. The Natural Conservancy states ten easy steps to help protect the coral reefs:
1. Conserve water.
2. Help reduce pollution.
3. Research what you put on your lawn.
4. Dispose of your trash properly.
5. Support reef-friendly businesses.
6. Plant a tree.
7. Practice safe and responsible diving and snorkeling.
8. Volunteer for a coral reef cleanup.
9. Contact your government representatives.
10. Spread the word.
Visit https://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/urgentissues/oceans/coral-reefs/ways-to-help-coral-reefs/index.htm for more details on ways to help.


Is this going to be enough to rebuild the Great Barrier Reef to how it was? What can we do as individuals to help fix this problem? Is the Great Barrier Reef a ‘Lost Cause’? What affects will this have on Australia’s economy that depends on tourism revenues? These are some questions we need to consider. I love to hear your opinions on this subject!
Thank You!



About My Blogs

Hello Readers!
My name is Caitlin and I am an undergraduate meteorology student at California University of Pennsylvania. This blog site is created for my Global Climate Change class. I will be creating a blog every two weeks discussing the affects that climate change is having on a different tourism location around the world.  Please feel free to leave appropriate comments and opinions you have on each topic! Feel free to share each post with your friends as well!
Thank you for visiting my site!!
-Caitlin 🙂