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Tourists Expected to Flock from Southern Coastal Regions to Northern Coast of Europe Amid Global Warming Concerns


Global warming is set to affect every aspect of our lives, including here tourism, pushing many countries in Europe to find alternate industries to support their economy, as the EU predicts a shift in tourists’ new favourite destinations.

The rising temperatures are expected to reduce tourists’ number in summer by ten per cent in southern seaside areas and increase demand for northern seasides by five per cent, a study by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre reveals.

Whereas regarding peak tourism months, interest is predicted to decrease in July and increase in April with seasonal changes.

The JRC study explores changes in tourism demand under four climate scenarios: the Paris Agreement targets of 1.5°C and 2°C, and higher warming levels of 3°C and 4°C.

“According to the projections, the overall impact on European tourism demand is expected to be positive, with a projected rise of 1.58 per cent for the highest warming scenario (4°C), but the aggregated results hide a high diversity across regions. There’s a clear north-south pattern, with tourism demand gains in central and northern Europe and lower demand in the south,” reads a press release of the EU Commission regarding the study.

The study is the first to analyse the historical and potential future impact of climate change on European tourism demand, using data from 269 European regions over a 20-year monthly period. It simulates future impacts up to the year 2100 using ten climate models and taking into account four warming levels (1.5°C, 2°C, 3°C and 4°C).

Under a 1.5°C or 2°C warming scenario, about 80 per cent of European regions are projected to experience only a minor fluctuation in tourist visits between – one per cent and + one per cent. However, the most substantial effect is expected in coastal regions under the highest warming case. For instance, the Greek Ionian Islands may experience a 9.12 per cent decrease in tourism demand, while West Wales (UK) could see a 15.93 per cent increase.

Seasonal shifts are also expected, with northern European coastal zones anticipating over a five per cent increase in summer and early autumn tourism. In contrast, southern coastal zones may lose nearly ten per cent of summer tourists, especially under warmer climates.

However, the decrease in summer demand is offset by higher numbers of visitors in spring, autumn and winter. April is predicted to record a high increase in visitor flows by 8.89 per cent, whereas the highest decrease is anticipated in July from -0.06 per cent in the 1.5°C scenario to -5.72 per cent under the warmest climate scenario.

Previously SchengenVisaInfo.com reported about the top Mediterranean destinations with high levels of satisfaction regarding safety and climate. The four most popular destinations were France, Spain, Italy and Greece.

Europe is the most visited region globally, accounting for 51 per cent of all international arrivals in 2019, with tourism contributing significantly to the EU’s economy, generating five per cent of EU GDP directly. Taking into account the contribution of ancillary sectors too, it generates ten per cent of the EU GDP.

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