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Climate Change and Tourism in the Great Lakes Region: A Summary of Risks and Opportunities

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An integral component of the tourism/recreation sector in the Great Lakes region of Canada is climate. Climate defines the length and quality of tourism seasons and associated levels of participation (i.e., natural seasonality) and it affects the natural resource base that many forms of tourism depend upon. Changes in natural seasonality and the environment induced by climate change could have substantial implications for the sustainability of specific tourism sectors and the communities that depend on them. This article summarizes existing literature to provide an overview of the risks and opportunities climate change poses for the tourism/recreation sector across the entire Great Lakes region. Winter tourism is projected to be negatively impacted in the region, with reductions in season length for skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. Warm weather tourism is projected to benefit from climate change through extended seasons for major activities such as golfing, park visitation, camping, beach use, and boating. The differential effects of climate change in the Great Lakes region will alter the competiveness of tourism sectors. Determining how tourism operators and communities will need to adapt to supply- and demand-side changes in order to reduce the risk and take advantage of new opportunities in a sustainable manner remains an important area for future inquiry.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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  • Tourism in Marine Environments is an interdisciplinary journal dealing with a variety of management issues in marine settings. It is a scientific journal that draws upon the expertise of academics and practitioners from various disciplines related to the marine environment, including tourism, marine science, geography, social sciences, psychology, environmental studies, economics, marketing, and many more.
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