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

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Prof. Antonio Russo for kindly providing ATTREG indicators. The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions to improve the quality of the paper.

Funding

The research leading to the results reported in this paper received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) IMPACT2C Project: Quantifying projected impacts under 2 °C warming, grant agreement no. 282746.

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Correspondence to Aristeidis G. Koutroulis.

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Koutroulis, A.G., Grillakis, M.G., Tsanis, I.K. et al. Mapping the vulnerability of European summer tourism under 2 °C global warming. Climatic Change 151, 157–171 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-018-2298-8

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