A recent report from the European Union predicts vacationers will swap the Mediterranean for the Baltic due to the impact of climate change.
New analysis from the European Union’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) says increasing temperatures in traditional Mediterranean resorts in Spain, Greece and Italy will drive tourists to cooler options in the Baltic.
And it’s not just the heat putting tourism industries at risk, it’s the growing risk of extreme weather events such as forest fires, dust-storms and droughts. The report, which conservatively estimates a 3.6F (2C) increase in temperatures by the end of the century, is also bad news for ski-resort operators.
According to the center “Altered climatic conditions may influence the relative allure of many regions,” the study says. “Under current economic conditions, the 2100 climate could lower tourism revenues by up to 0.45 % of GDP per year in Mediterranean EU regions, while other EU regions in northern Europe could gain up to 0.32 % of GDP.”
JRC experts suggest that Spain and Bulgaria will see the biggest decline in visitors, with Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia and Slovakia becoming more popular. They also predict a broader change in summer vacation patterns “One could expect that tourists would distribute their holiday pattern more evenly during the year and take shorter holidays in order to benefit, for instance, from more clement weather conditions during the other seasons,” says the report.
A spokesman for travel company Thomas Cook told the Guardian this week that the company “considers a range of potential factors in its long-term planning, and these include climate change and whether or not it could have an impact on its business model”. Other European tourism agencies have cited terrorism as a more pressing concern for clients.