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).
Opportunities - Romania
Countries bordering the Black Sea (Bulgaria, Romania and the Ukraine) could expect beneficial effects from climate change for their regions. Primarily, they could attract seaside holidaymakers away from the hot eastern Mediterranean area (e.g. Greece and Turkey) (3,4).
Vulnerabilities - Romania
The main vulnerabilities for tourism in Romania are (5):
- During the last decades coastal erosion led to a decrease of beach surfaces on the Romanian seaside;
- Sea level rise of the Black Sea (which was 34 cm during 1860-2004) may increase beach erosion, destruct coastal ecosystems, or flood areas with heritage monuments and other important tourist attractions;
- Extreme weather events, such as floods and storms, may affect tourism infrastructure and jeopardize the tourists and local communities’ safety and health;
- Water reserves may be exposed to supplementary stress especially during the peak tourism season, as the increase of the demand corresponds to the dry periods and the decrease of the water reserves;
- Resorts for winter sports are the most affected by the climate change effects. Pressure on higher altitude areas will increase;
- The summer season will record a higher demand, with negative effects on the environment and with the overflow of the tourist capacity of certain areas.
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.
Adaptation strategies in Romania
The following adaptation strategies have been proposed (5):
- rehabilitation of beaches affected by coastal erosion;
- increase protection level against natural disasters;
- construction of tourist infrastructure and resorts far from the coast;
- stricter rules for buildings on/near beaches or on areas exposed to natural risks;
- diversification of tourism forms for seaside resorts (e.g. business tourism);
- plans for emergency situations.
- machines that generate artificial snow;
- creation of additional tourist attractions in mountain resorts as alternatives to winter sports;
- extension of summer tourism season and creation of tourism packages for the people who can take holidays in the late season too, especially the old persons.
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 Romania.
- EEA, JRC and WHO (2008)
- UNWTO, UNEP and WHO (2008)
- Deutsche Bank Research (2008)
- Iordache and Cebuc (2009)
- Ministry of Environment and Forests (2010)