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Mapping the vulnerability of European summer tourism under 2 °C global warming

Koutroulis, Aristeidis G., Grillakis, M. G., Tsanis, I. K., Jacob, D.
Climatic change 2018 v.151 no.2 pp. 157-171
climatic factors, global warming, recreation, summer, temperature, tourism, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Spain
Summer tourism is one of the most important contributors to the European GDP especially for the southern countries and is highly dependent on the climatic conditions. Changes in average climatic conditions, along with the potential subsequent changes in the physical environment, will pose stress on the favorability of the climate of European destinations for tourism and recreational activities. Here, we study the vulnerability of summer-oriented tourism due to a global temperature increase by 2 °C relative to the preindustrial era. We use a well-defined framework of exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity indicators for a set of plausible climate (RCPs) and socioeconomic (SSPs) combinations. Our result shows that a 2 °C global warming will pose substantial changes to the vulnerability of the European tourism sector. Despite the general increase in exposure, the vulnerability of summer tourism is highly depended on the socioeconomic developments (SSPs). Although exposure is higher for most of the popular southern European destinations like Spain, France, South Italy, southernmost Greece, and Cyprus, they are expected to be less vulnerable than others, under specific SSPs, due to their higher capacity to adapt to a different climate. The capacity to adapt is lower for higher emission scenarios. Substantial changes are also apparent at the subnational level. Countries like France are foreseen to experience very diverse impacts and vulnerabilities within their own territories that will have consequences in terms of domestic tourism. The dynamics of these changes are expected to alter the state of the current European tourism regime.