Beach Oriented Summer Tourism

The effects of increasing temperatures on regional and seasonal distribution

What do the results tell us?

A warming climate will have two likely effects on beach tourism in Europe. First, weather conditions will improve in most parts of Europe and most months. Second, some Mediterranean destinations will become too hot to be perceived as comfortable anymore. However, until 2050 effects of climate change may have a smaller impact on touristic overnight stays than other factors like competition between touristic areas.

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What can we do with the results?

As an outcome of the case study, it is more advantageous for southern regions to focus on adaptation measures during midsummer. If climate conditions in the northern regions improve, people from these regions may rather spend their holidays in nearby, domestic destinations. 

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How are the results obtained?

In recent years, several studies on the relation between weather conditions and touristic comfort were published. Based on these studies, we use econometric tools to establish a connection between monthly data on overnight stays (from selected national statistic institutes) and climate parameters. These results are then used to simulate future tourist flows.

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What are the broader applications?

Potential broader applications include the extension of the tourism model to further climatic indices or other types of tourism (e.g. city tourism, hiking tourism, alpine skiing, etc.). The basic methodology is to combine data on tourism demand, expressed e.g. by overnight stays, and climate data to evaluate the utility of different climatic conditions. In addition, we can take competition into account. The methodology could be used for other economic sectors, but also for smaller entities or time scales.

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Key Messages and Conclusions

Distribution of overnight stays will shift inside the season

ToPDAd model simulations show that in the warmer regions in Europe overnight stays will shift to current shoulder seasons. This shift is more pronounced when tourists are assumed to be flexible with respect to their travelling period. If, on the other hand, tourists are assumed to stick to their usual holiday timing, results indicate a more pronounced spatial shift of overnight stays from too hot to comparably cooler regions during midsummer.

(for country code explanations please check the read more section below)

Average percentage change in monthly overnight stays (2035-2065 vs. baseline) in beach dominated regions for RCP4.5/SSP4 when tourists adapt by changing the destination, but sticking to the month of beach holiday making; average over all climate scenarios with error bars indicating their range.

Average percentage change in monthly overnight stays (2035-2065 vs. baseline) in beach dominated regions for RCP4.5/SSP4 when tourists adapt by changing timing and/or destination of their beach holidays; average over all climate scenarios with error bars indicating their range.

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Adaptation can reduce regional losses

ToPDAd model simulations show that successful adaptation can significantly reduce losses of regions with too hot summer temperatures, but cannot compensate for all losses because of increased competition in current shoulder seasons.

Figure: Average percentage change in summer overnight stays (2035-2065 vs. baseline) in beach dominated regions for RCP4.5/SSP4 when tourists adapt by changing timing and/or destination of their beach holidays; no adaptation by destinations (left) vs. successful adaptation by destinations becoming "too" hot (right); average over all climate scenarios. 

(Click on chart image to explore the data)

Example of effects on overnight stays for the region of Chalkidiki, Greece, in the summer season without adaptation measures.

Uncertainty in climate models

Climate change impacts on summer overnight stays heavily depend on the climate model used.

Figure: Average percentage change in summer overnight stays (2035-2065 vs. baseline) in beach dominated regions for RCP4.5/SSP4 when tourists adapt by changing timing and/or destination of their beach holidays; climate model CNRM-CM5 (left) vs. HadGEM2ES (right).