Climate change is a new challenge that poses more threats to global tourism than opportunities, and heralds a regional, seasonal and product redistribution of tourist flows. Climate is a key factor in tourism, which is undoubtedly one of the industries most sensitive to climate change. Tourism is therefore both a victim and causer of climate change. Climate change relating to harmful emissions is also caused by people travelling (tourism contributes 5% of CO2 to global emissions), so the tourism sector must accept its share of responsibility and contribute to mitigating the consequences, which means reducing the negative environmental impacts, while at the same time tourism must adapt its services to the changes.
In contrast to other crises in the past that affected tourism, (terrorism, SARS, war in the Middle East), climate change involves long-term impact on the attractiveness of specific regions (source: DBR, 2008).
• In the next 20 years climate change will not contribute to a reduction in tourism business on the global level, but there will be a seasonal and geographical redistribution of tourist flows, with certain destinations becoming winners and others losers. The impact of climate change will thus also be felt by tour operators, agencies, airlines, hotels and so forth.
• In Europe, owing to higher temperatures and a lack of water, without doubt the hardest hit will be the Mediterranean countries. Meanwhile an opportunity presents itself for the northern European countries. Outside Europe the majority of countries will be hit, especially the poorest ones.
• By 2030 the snow line should rise by 300 metres (this will hit destinations with ski slopes starting below 1500 metres). Greater periods of drought will also contribute to problems with water. This will hit areas tied to products needing a lot of water (golf, swimming pools, snow devices, amusement parks and so on) and which must additionally compete for water with the farming sector.