WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT YEAR?
The current thinking among tourism academics is that those responsible for managing tourist destinations should work towards reducing carbon emissions by focusing on the domestic market.
But, as recent summers have shown, international tourism does not look set to slow down yet. Even amid crises such as the fires burning through Rhodes, Greece this summer, tourists continued to arrive.
Rather than choose different destinations, the most likely scenario – at least in the short-term – is that tourists themselves will adapt to the effects of climate change. During Europe’s summer 2023 heatwave, there were reports that people were staying in their hotel rooms in the hottest part of the day and taking sightseeing trips in the evening.
Nevertheless, there are some signs that travellers may be starting to worry about more extreme weather conditions and adapt their travel plans accordingly. A survey conducted in May showed that 69 per cent of Europeans planned to travel between June and November – a fall of 4 per cent compared to 2022.
The heatwave of summer 2023 might mean that tourists will start looking for cooler destinations as early as the coming year.
The evolving landscape of global tourism in the face of climate change is complex. What is clear, though, is that if Europe continues to experience extreme weather conditions like the summer of 2023, many people will think twice about booking their place in the sun.
Nick Davies is Lecturer and Programme Leader of BA International Tourism and Events Management at Glasgow Caledonian University. This commentary first appeared on The Conversation.