Holidaymakers Urged to Prepare for Climate Change Impact on Tourism

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Is your next vacation destination at risk? Holidaymakers are being urged to prepare for the impact of climate change on tourism, as extreme heat and natural disasters disrupt European holiday spots.

Extreme heat and climate change-induced disasters are taking a toll on European holiday destinations, affecting the travel plans of thousands of tourists. 

Recently, wildfires on Greek islands forced around 20,000 people and tourists to evacuate, leaving many stranded without a way to return home for days. This has brought attention to the urgent need for holidaymakers to consider climate risks and take preventive measures while planning their trips.

Rising Temperatures Threaten Beloved Holiday Spots

Climate change has played a devastating role in exacerbating extreme heat across the globe, impacting European holiday spots known for their summer allure. Experts warn that unless immediate action is taken to address rising temperatures, these destinations could undergo permanent changes, making them less desirable for tourists.

Susanne Becken, Professor in sustainable tourism at Griffith University, stresses the significance of climate change-induced disasters on travel plans. She emphasises that tourists must be more cautious and consider alternative destinations to avoid such risks.

Professor Becken comments, “I think it’s a wake-up call for tourists, and I would think about where I’d go, and I think more and more people who watch the news will consider that.”

Sara Dolnicar, a marketing and tourism lecturer at the University of Queensland, points out that tourists often need to assess climate risks when choosing a destination. She highlights the need for proper research and planning before embarking on a trip.

“The time when tourists pick off what looks pretty is possibly gone. Thinking about things like if there’s a flood risk, is the hotel in a low-lying area — but people want to pick a hotel on if it has a nice pool,” says Professor Dolnicar.

Government Advice and Travel Insurance are Crucial

To cope with the changing climate and its potential impacts, holidaymakers should consult government advice, such as the Smartraveller website, which provides regular risk assessments for various destinations. The website also offers valuable resources related to climate and natural disasters, local laws, health advice, and consular assistance.

For additional protection, travellers should secure travel insurance covering natural disasters and read the policy’s fine print to understand the coverage’s extent fully. Experts suggest purchasing insurance before booking flights, as coverage may be voided if a disaster unfolds at the chosen destination.

Shift in Travel Trends: Cooler Seasons Gain Popularity

In light of recent extreme heat events, experts predict a shift in travel trends, with more tourists opting for cooler shoulder seasons (June to September) in traditional European summer destinations. Despite rising temperatures in cooler regions, these destinations may become more appealing as tourists seek to escape the extreme heat.

Professor Becken suggests that travellers traditionally seeking warm weather consider more relaxed destinations a viable option. “What we might see is people who traditionally go in search of warm weather; they might change,” she says.

Preparing for Disasters: Less Reliance on Local Help

As climate change disrupts travel plans, tourists are encouraged to prepare for possible disasters rather than solely rely on local assistance. Professor Becken highlights the importance of individual planning and acknowledges that even locals may struggle to cope during adverse weather events.

“People must do their planning; you can’t rely on a destination being prepared … even locals are often not handling the heat,” says Professor Becken.

Government and Company Contingency Plans are Crucial

To effectively handle disruptions caused by climate-induced disasters, experts stress the need for improved contingency plans by governments and companies. As tourists’ safety and well-being are at stake, planning for contingencies and mitigating the impacts of extreme weather events is imperative.

Holidaymakers must be aware of the effects of climate change on their travel plans. Thorough research, adherence to government advice, appropriate travel insurance, and thoughtful planning can help mitigate risks and ensure a more enjoyable and safe travel experience in the face of climate change challenges.

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