Impacts of +2°C global warming on winter tourism demand in Europe

Publikation aus Life
Wetter- und Klimarisikomanagement

Damm A., Greuell W., Landgren O., Prettenthaler F.

Climate Services Volume 7 , 7/2017


Increasing temperatures and snow scarce winter seasons challenge the winter tourism industry. In this study the impacts of +2 °C global warming on winter tourism demand in Europe’s ski tourism related NUTS-3 regions are quantified. Using time series regression models, the relationship between natural snow conditions and monthly overnight stays is estimated. Based on these model results, we quantify the risk of tourism demand losses due to weather variability and assess the potential impacts of climate change. Hereby, the concept of Weather-Value at Risk (0.95) is applied. Snow data are provided by the hydrological model VIC, which is forced by E-OBS data to obtain historical snow values for tourism model calibration and forced by EURO-CORDEX climate simulations to obtain snow projections until 2100.

Under +2 °C warming, the weather-induced risk of losses in winter overnight stays related to skiing tourism in Europe amounts to up to 10.1 million nights per winter season, which is +7.3 million overnight stays additionally at risk compared to the reference period (1971–2000). Among the top four European skiing tourism nations – Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland – France and Switzerland show the lowest increase in risk of losses in winter overnight stays. The highest weather-induced risk of losses in winter overnight stays – in the reference period as well as in the +2 °C scenarios – is found in Austria, followed by Italy. These two countries account for the largest fraction of winter overnight stays in skiing related NUTS-3 regions.

Keywords: Climate change impacts, Winter tourism demand, Overnight stays, Weather-Value at Risk