Climate Change and Tourist Comfort on Europe's Beaches in Summer: A Reassessment

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Abstract:

Major impacts of climate change have been projected for tourism in Europe. Typically, these projections took general tourism activities such as sight-seeing and their climate requirements as their point of reference. The purpose of this study is to reassess the impact of climate change, by looking specifically at beach tourism in summer, a crucial market segment in Europe and more specifically in the Mediterranean. As beach tourism requires relatively high temperatures, relatively modest shifts in attractiveness are found. With respect to climate, the Mediterranean is likely to remain Europe's prime region for summer-time beach tourism for at least the next 50 years. Coastal managers in Mediterranean destinations are advised to focus some of their attention on other climate change impacts such as sea-level rise or water availability, and include environmental quality and diversification of activities in their deliberations. In non-Mediterranean regions, a promising strategy may be to focus on short- and medium-distance visitors who can take advantage of the new opportunities for beach tourism, and to explore the merits of seasonal climate forecasting.

Keywords: Europe; beach climate index; beach tourism; climate change

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08920750903054997

Affiliations: International Centre for Integrated Assessment & Sustainable Development (ICIS), Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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