HOW WILL CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECT THE COMPETITIVENESS OF EUROPEAN BEACH AND SKI TOURISM?

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1 HOW WILL CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECT THE COMPETITIVENESS OF EUROPEAN BEACH AND SKI TOURISM? Assessing the impact of adaptation on the number of overnight stays Executive summary With climate change, mean temperatures and precipitation patterns will change in Europe. This will have consequences for Europe s traditional tourism destinations. In this factsheet ToPDAdmodels are applied on beach and ski resorts, to show how different adaptation options will influence the number of overnight stays under various climate change scenarios. Many Europeans spend their summer holidays on the beach, with the Mediterranean beaches drawing most tourists. As mean temperatures in Europe are expected to rise, the latter areas are likely to face increased competition from other beach destinations, which will become more attractive such as northern Spain, the South Atlantic Coast of France or possibly even northern European beaches. At the same time, due to the expected increase in summer temperatures, many tourists might perceive Mediterranean beaches as too hot and go elsewhere. Climate models also predict higher temperatures outside summer, thus prolonging the beach season in autumn and spring across Europe. ToPDAd s scenarios indicate that Mediterranean beach destinations are likely to lose overnight stays during summer months. Adaptation measures such as investing in cooling, shoulder season tourism or alternative activities can reduce the loss in overnight stays. Whereas the modelling suggests that beach tourism will gain from climate change in the aggregate, skiing tourism will suffer. Since the snow cover during winter is expected to deteriorate in most regions, it is highly likely that some tourists will drop skiing. ToPDAd s scenarios show that all skiing areas will lose overnight stays during winter season. More snow-reliable areas such as the northern parts of the Alps and Scandinavia will lose less overnight stays than the southern parts of the Alps. If skiing areas invest in alternative sources of income, e.g. offering wellness stays or all-yearround tourism, losses in overnight stays may be limited. This will however not make up for the overall decrease in winter tourism. Comment [EL1]: New title Comment [EL2]: New text to make it more specific Modelling of overnight stays Climate is an important resource for tourism. ToPDAd has developed a tool set to assess the economic effects of climate change on beach tourism during the summer season (May- October), and alpine skiing during the winter season (November-April). The models map potential changes in overnight stays, both within and across seasons, and changes in tourism flows, including shifts between regions as well as shifts in time and activity. For the first time, ToPDAd evaluated whether an increase in summer tourism in typical skiing areas could compensate for a loss in overnight stays during winter, across Europe. In addition, an assessment was made whether growth of beach tourism during shoulder seasons could compensate for possible decreases during summer. ToPDAd offers improved modelling of the effects of climate change at beach destinations. Using a new climate index, which puts more

2 weight on precipitation, climatic change impacts in beach destinations can be forecast with more certainty. The modelling only focused on the combined impact of climate change and some specific adaptation measures on the number of overnight stays. This factsheet therefore does not consider the impacts of various adaptation measures on greenhouse gas emissions or on the environment in general. Key facts about beach and skiing tourism in Europe The Mediterranean region is the world s most popular holiday destination. Each year it attracts about 120 million tourists from northern Europe, who jointly spend more than EUR 100 billion annually. International tourism contributes about 10% of GDP and employment in countries around the Mediterranean Sea. In some popular tourism destinations, the economic value of tourism is even bigger. Also European winter sport areas attract millions of tourists every year, generating nearly EUR 50 billion in annual turnover. In the Alps, some municipalities almost entirely depend on revenues generated by skiing tourists. Source: Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2012, EEA Changes in beach weather The climate models used by ToPDAd, based on a geometric average of temperature, precipitation and cloud cover index, indicate that conditions will become more favourable for beach tourism across Europe. The optimal temperature for beach tourism is estimated to be at around 29 C. Tourists also prefer dry and sunny weather. Under these assumptions the Mediterranean area will remain Europe s most attractive areas for beach holidays. However, in some Mediterranean beach resorts the temperature during the summer months will become too hot to be perceived as comfortable by beach tourists. The conditions in northern Spain and the southern Atlantic coast of France improve significantly and come close to the conditions of the Mediterranean. For northern Europe, small to significant improvements in the climatic conditions for beach holidays are expected, depending on the climate model considered. Climatic conditions will improve during the shoulder season (spring and autumn) across Europe, thus prolonging the beach season. At the same time, competition will increase during shoulder season. Mediterranean resorts, hoping to compensate for a loss of tourists during summer by a prolonged season, will have to compete with other regions elsewhere in Europe in the shoulder season. As a result, they might not be able to fully compensate for a loss of overnight stays during summer. Summer beach tourism: the impact of adaptation on overnight stays - Across Europe, conditions for beach tourism are expected to improve, as mean temperatures will rise. The beach season will be prolonged to spring and autumn. - Competition between beach destinations in Europe will increase, as climate conditions at the Atlantic and northern European coasts improve. Yet the Mediterranean region remains by far the most popular beach destination. - At some Mediterranean beach destinations, temperatures during summer will be perceived as too hot by tourists, leading to a loss of overnight stays. - Investments in cooling can reduce the loss of overnight stays during hot summer months in the Mediterranean. Comment [EL3]: Added text in answer to EEA s criticism

3 Securing overnight stays by adapting to climate change ToPDAd assessed how different adaptation strategies of demand and supply side might affect the competitiveness of Europe s beach destinations by looking at potential changes in overnight stays. Three possible adaptation options for tourists were considered: 1. Tourists stick to their holiday destination and time, but change activity, e.g. avoid outside activities at noon; 2. Tourists stick to holiday type, but change time and/or destination, e.g. postpone their beach holidays to the shoulder season or change to regions with a better climate; 3. Tourists change holiday type, e.g. drop beach holidays The first option has no effects on the relative distribution of overnight stays between regions. The second option is expected to have a bigger effect. Most tourists visiting Europe s beaches come from northern Europe, where temperatures are expected to increase as well. Hence, northern European tourists might prefer staying close to home instead of travelling to southern Europe. Some tourists might also perceive the summer months in some Mediterranean resorts as too hot, and thus travel elsewhere or change their traveling date. The last option i.e. replacing beach holidays by another holiday type is rather unlikely since warmer temperatures will improve the conditions for beach holidays in many European regions and will also prolong the beach season. Tourists and suppliers adaptation strategies are interdependent. For instance, an adaptation strategy of suppliers might be to influence tourists choices, e.g. by investing in marketing, or offering in-door activities during hot days. Figure 1.1: Summer beach tourism -average monthly change in overnight stays in [%] ( vs. baseline) for different regions without adaptation for RCP4.5/SSP4 (multi climate model mean; error bars indicate climate model uncertainty Figure 1.2: Summer beach tourism -average monthly change in overnight stays in [%] ( vs. baseline) for different regions with adaptation for RCP4.5/SSP4 (multi climate model mean; error bars indicate climate model uncertainty)

4 The adaptation capacity of the suppliers (touristic areas, ski resorts, hotels, etc.) is limited compared to tourists options. Whereas tourists typically make short-term decisions and are not bound to a certain location (with the exception of the owners of holiday homes), suppliers are often tied by long-term investments in particular destinations. The attractiveness of a beach destination is also influenced by what competing regions do. If the majority of beach destinations invest in adaptation to climate change, regions that do not or cannot adapt will face a comparative disadvantage. This could exacerbate the loss already caused by climate change. ToPDAd s modelling considered the effects on overnight stays of two adaptation strategies in particular: A shift of touristic demand from the main season to the shoulder season Measures that reduce the perception of heat (e.g. air condition, shading). The modeling, as shown in Figures 1.1 and 1.2, demonstrates that adaptation can significantly reduce losses of regions with too hot summer temperatures but cannot compensate for losses because of increased competition. Climate change will lead to a shift in time of beach holidays. In the warmer regions there will be a shift to the shoulder seasons, while for cooler regions there is a shift towards the peak season. Winter skiing more insecure Climate models predict that climate change will lead to a decrease in snow cover in Europe. Alpine skiing conditions during winter are expected to deteriorate in most regions, especially in low-lying ski areas. Increasing temperatures will also raise the cost for artificial snow-making. While for beach tourism climate conditions are expected to improve in most regions and months compared to current conditions, for alpine skiing tourism conditions will worsen in all regions and months. Winter skiing tourism: the impact of adaptation on overnight stays - Due to climate change, snow conditions will worsen in most/all European ski resorts, and particularly in low-lying areas. - Tourists could shift to comparatively snow-reliable areas. Overall, however, skiing areas will be confronted with a decrease in overnight stays as mean temperatures rise. - Artificial snow-making, which currently is the most common supply side adaptation strategy, will become more expensive. - Investments in alternative activities during winter or all-year-round tourism can only partly compensate for the loss in overnight stays during winter. ToPDAd then assessed how different adaptation strategies by both tourists and skiing business influence the number of overnight stays in different skiing areas across Europe. Tourists has similar adaptation options as for summer beach holidays: 1. Tourists stick to holiday location and time, but change on-site activities, e.g. do wellness activities in snow-scarce winters; 2. Tourists stick to holiday type but change time and/or destination, e.g. change to more snow-reliable ski areas; 3. Tourists change holiday type during winter, i.e. they no longer go on skiing holidays. The ToPDAd modelling assessed the effects of options 2 and 3. Figure 2.1 shows the change in overnight stays of option 3, where tourist may change their holiday type, but stick to the

5 winter season. In this scenario, all skiing areas face a reduction in overnight stays. In Figure 2.2 tourists change month (within the winter season) and/or destination, but stick to the holiday type of skiing. In this more restrictive scenario ski areas in the southern part of the Alps (e.g. in France and Italy) lose more overnight stays than those in the northern parts of the Alps and Scandinavia. Some areas could even benefit from climate change. Figure 2.1 Change in overnight stays [%] ( vs. baseline) using SSP4 and RCP4.5 (multi climate model mean): tourists adapt by changing holiday type. The capacity of the skiing business to adapt to changes in climate and tourists behaviour is limited. Currently, artificial snow-making is the most common strategy to adapt to variations in snow conditions. In 2012, it covered 38% of the total skiing area in the European Alps. Yet in this model artificial snow-making is not assessed as a separate adaptation strategy, since it is already covered in the basic assumptions of the model as a gradual change of the sensitivity of overnight stays towards natural snow cover. As an alternative adaptation strategy, the suppliers could try to influence the demand by increasing investments in marketing or increasing the offering of alternative activities in snow-scarce winters. ToPDAd assessed in particular the effect of tourists shifting from the winter season to the summer season. This adaptation strategy could be increasingly relevant as climate models forecast better summer conditions for mountain regions. Winter and summer season combined, the ToPDAd modelling shows that skiing areas will see a rise in overnight stays due to climate change during summer. However, the increase in summer tourism cannot compensate for the losses during winter. Comment [EL4]: Can we name some? Figure 2.2 Change in overnight stays [%] ( vs. baseline) using SSP4 and RCP4.5 (multi climate model mean): tourists adapt by changing destination and/or time of stay. Figure 3: Change in overnight stays [%] ( vs. baseline) for winter and summer season using SSP4 and RCP4.5 (multi climate model mean).

6 The ToPDAd-models ToPDAd stands for tool-supported policy development for regional adaptation to climate change. The research project combines climate scenarios and socio-economic data from 15 existing models into one tool set. Including a broad range of outputs - from the impacts on choices of transport routes and tourist destinations to impacts on macroeconomic indicators, such as GDP, sector composites, market prices and greenhouse gas emissions, the tool set allows assessing various adaptation strategies. ToPDAd s research focuses in particular on three sectors - energy, tourism and transport, while also demonstrating the economic consequences of climate change on health. The ToPDAd tool set is designed to help decision makers at various levels - from individuals and private businesses to national and European policy makers, to map future challenges related to climate change adaptation, as well as to evaluate which measures are best for their organisation. By bringing together information from different sectors and disciplines, ToPDAd is among the first to show strong interdependencies between various sectors and decision levels. This approach is illustrated in seven case themes that were developed by ToPDAd about the following themes: (1) summer beach tourism, (2) winter skiing tourism, (3) the effects of extreme events on traffic in cities, (4) new potential arising for shipping as a result of Arctic ice melting, (5 & 6) effects of climate change on energy production (renewable energy, biomass and nuclear energy), and (7) the macro-economic impact of extreme rainfall in cities. While starting from local events and situations, the results of these studies are also relevant for and applicable in wider regions in Europe. The cases look forward to 2050 and some to 2100, while applying different climate scenarios, based on combinations of the climate pathways (RCPs) and socioeconomic pathways (SSPs) used by the IPCC. ToPDAd involves ten research institutes from nine European countries and is coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. The research project is funded by the European Union s research programme FP7. ToPDAd has received funding from the EU s s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no

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