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Simulating Tourism Water Consumption Under Climate Change Conditions Using Agent-Based Modeling: The Example of Ski Areas

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This article presents a new method of examining the impact of climate change on tourism using the example of ski areas. To date, the consequences of climate change have mostly been investigated at high levels of aggregation in space and time, such as countries and years. Detailed analyses are essential, however, because different regions are affected to varying degrees. Within a complex model incorporating feedback between various system components, such as hydrological and climatic processes as well as demography and economy, possible developments of various sectors are simulated in the Upper Danube watershed in central Europe. Using a multiagent approach, we rise to the challenge to take both socioeconomic and natural aspects into account and enable the simulation of human system reaction and adaptation to climate change. The presented approach is an adequate way to consider the fact that within human–environment systems, environmental changes influence human living conditions and vice versa. We use a multiagent system, in combination with different climate and societal scenarios, to investigate the supply-side operating ability of tourism facilities and the demand-side reactions. Thus, we can calculate the tourism water demand, which is not recorded in official statistics. We present and discuss selected results for ski areas, such as the regionally differentiated development of tourism water consumption and overnight stays’ trends. With their high level of individualization, the tourism model simulation results foster the finding of economically reasonable investment strategies. In addition, the tourism model results give rise to future research, such as tourism demand-side examinations concerning the perception of climate change, and resulting behavioral shifts.

Keywords: agent-based modeling; cambio climático; climate change; modelaje basado en agente; scenario technique; ski areas; tourism; turismo; técnicas de escenarios; áreas de esquí

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00045608.2011.561126

Affiliations: Department of Geography,University of Munich,

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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