Tourism in numbers - Europe
Europe is the most important tourist region in the world. According to UNWTO, in 2006 nearly 55% of all international tourist arrivals (461 million) were on the “old continent”.Southern Europe and the Mediterranean region are the favourite holiday destinations in Europe. According to UNWTO, in 2006 about 165 million tourists visited these regions (3).
At present, the predominant summer tourist flows in Europe are from north to south, to the coastal zone. However, coastal and mountain tourism are the segments that are most vulnerable to climate change, and the Mediterranean region is the world's most popular holiday region: it attracts some 120 million visitors from northern Europe each year, the largest international flow of tourists on the globe, and their spending is in excess of EUR 100 billion (1).
Tourism in numbers - Luxemburg
The Benelux countries have lower-than-average dependency on tourism, which generates about 8% of GDP (3).
Vulnerabilities – In general
There are four broad categories of climate change impacts that will affect tourism destinations, their competitiveness and sustainability (2):
- Direct climatic impacts
- Indirect environmental change impacts. Changes in water availability, biodiversity loss, reduced landscape aesthetic, altered agricultural production (e.g., wine tourism), increased natural hazards, coastal erosion and inundation, damage to infrastructure and the increasing incidence of vector-borne diseases will all impact tourism to varying degrees.
- Impacts of mitigation policies on tourist mobility. Policies that seek to reduce GHG emissions will lead to an increase in transport costs and may foster environmental attitudes that lead tourists to change their travel patterns.
- Indirect societal change impacts. Climate change is thought to pose a risk to future economic growth and to the political stability of some nations. Climate change is considered a national and international security risk that will steadily intensify, particularly under greater warming scenarios. Tourists, particularly international tourists, are averse to political instability and social unrest.
Vulnerabilities – Luxemburg
In Luxemburg, city and cultural tourism, which is not climate dependent, is predominant. Climate change can be expected to have positive effects on tourism overall (3).
For tourism, information on thermal comfort/stress conditions as well as aesthetical and physical parameters is important. For Luxembourg, projections of future changes of a large number of factors were made, focused on the impact on tourism: cold stress, heat stress, thermal comfort, sunshine/cloud cover conditions, vapour pressure (sultriness), wind velocity, relative humidity (foggy days), and number of dry and wet days. These projected changes were assessed for eight combinations of future time periods, emissions scenarios and climate models, namely: two periods (2021–2050 (near future) and 2071–2100 (far future)), two SRES-emission-scenarios (A1B and B1), and two models. These results were compared with the reference period 1971–2000. According to these results, largest changes occur for cold stress, vapour pressure and heat stress. The projections show a statistically significant decrease of the number of days with cold stress for all eight combinations, and a significant increase of the number of days with heat stress in four out of eight combinations. The results for sultriness (high vapour pressure) show a consistently substantial increase for most combinations (4).
Adaptation strategies – In general
Climate change is slowly entering into decision-making of a range of tourism stakeholders (e.g., investors, insurance companies, tourism enterprises, governments, and tourists); studies that have examined the climate change risk appraisal of local tourism officials and operators have consistently found relatively low levels of concern and little evidence of long-term strategic planning in anticipation of future changes in climate (2).
There is also some evidence that local tourism operators may be overestimating their adaptive capacity (e.g., capacity to make snow under the warmest scenarios). The incorporation of adaptation to climate change into the collective minds of private and public sector tourism decision-makers (‘mainstreaming’) remains several steps away (2).
The capacity of the tourism sector to adapt to climate change is thought to be relatively high due to its dynamic nature and therefore there will be important opportunities for tourism to reduce the vulnerability of communities to climate change (2).
The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Luxemburg.
- EEA, JRC and WHO (2008)
- UNWTO, UNEP and WHO (2008)
- Deutsche Bank Research (2008)
- Matzarakis et al. (2013)