10.6. Recreation and tourism
Recreation and tourism is one of the largest sectors of the economy. It accounts for a substantial share of consumer spending in rich countries, and employs many people. Supply of tourism services is the dominant activity in many regional economies.
Recreation and tourism encompass many activities, some of which are more sensitive to weather and climate than others: compare sunbathing to angling, gambling, business seminars, family visits, and pilgrimage. Climate change would affect the place, time and nature of these activities.
There is a large literature on the impact of climate change on tourism. Some studies focus on the changes in the behavior of tourists, that is, the demand for recreation and tourism services (see 10.6.1). Other studies look at the implications for tourists resort, that is, the supply of recreation and tourism services (see 10.6.2). A few studies consider the interactions between changes in supply and demand (see 10.6.3).
10.6.1. Recreation and tourism demand
Conventionally, recreation does not involve an overnight stay whereas tourism does. That implies that recreation, unlike tourism, is done close to home. Whereas tourists, to a degree, chose the climate of their holidays, recreationists do not (although climate is a consideration in the choice where to live). Tourists would adapt to climate change by changing the location, timing and activities of their holidays; recreations would adapt only timing and activities (Smith, 1990).
There has been no research on systematic differences of recreational behaviour due to differences in climate. The impact of climate change on recreation is therefore unknown. The economic impact is probably limited, as people are more likely to change the composition rather than the level of their time and money spent on recreation. For instance, (Shaw and Loomis, 2008) find a likely increase, due to climate change, in boating, golfing and beach recreation at the expense of skiing.
There are case studies of the impact of climate change on recreation.(Dempson et al., 2001) note that the salmon fishery in Newfoundland is closed during hot weather and low water levels. (Ahn et al., 2000) study the impact of climate change on recreational trout fishing in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. (Whitehead et al., 2009) study the effect of sea level rise on sea shore fishing in North Carolina. Both studies find a substantial decrease in the value recreationists would derive from these activities – so much so that one could expect people to adopt other ways of enjoying themselves. Such alternatives were unfortunately excluded from the studies. Similarly, (Daugherty et al., 2011) conclude that climate change will make it more difficult to guarantee adequate water levels for boating and angling in artificial reservoirs – but do not study what recreationists would do instead. (Pouta et al., 2009) project a reduction in cross-country skiing in Finland, particularly among women, the lower classes, and urban dwellers. (Shih et al., 2009) find that weather affects the demand for ski lift trips. There are positive effects too. (Richardson and Loomis, 2005) find that climate change would make trips to the Rocky Mountain National Park more enjoyable. (Scott and Jones, 2006; Scott and Jones, 2007) foresee an increase in golf in Canada due to climate change, (Kulshreshtha, 2011) sees positive impacts on Canadian recreation in general, and (Coombes et al., 2009) predict an increase in beach tourism in East Anglia; but none of these studies accounts for budget constraints on time or money.
Some studies confuse weather and climate, or suffer from selection bias. For instance, (Graff Zivin and Neidell, 2010) find that people recreate indoors when the weather is inclement. (Scott et al., 2007) estimate the relationship between visitors to Waterton Lakes National Park and weather variables for eight years of monthly observations; and use this to project an increase in visitor numbers due to climate change. A survey among current visitors indicates that a deterioration of the quality of nature would reduce visitor numbers. (Taylor and Ortiz, 2009) estimate the impact of weather on domestic tourism in the UK, finding that tourists often respond to past weather. The hot summer of 2003 had a positive impact on revenues of the tourist sector. As another example, (Denstadli et al., ) find that tourists in the Arctic do not object to the weather in the Arctic. (Gössling et al., 2006) reaches the same conclusion for tourists on Zanzibar. Neither study assesses the representativeness of their sample of all tourists.
Climate (Braun et al., 1999; Gómez Martín, 2005; Wall and Badke, 1994) and weather (Agnew and Palutikof, 2006; Garbas, 2006; Rossello, 2011; Rosselló-Nadal et al., 2010; Álvarez-Díaz and Rosselló-Nadal, 2010) are important factors in tourist destination choice. (Maddison, 2001) estimates a statistical model of the holiday destinations of British tourists. (Lise and Tol, 2002) replicate this for Dutch tourists and (Bigano et al., 2006) for tourists from 45 countries. Tourists have a clear preference for the climate that is currently found in Southern France, Northern Italy and Northern Spain. People from hot climates are more particular about where they spend their holidays than people from cool climates.
However, whereas (Bigano et al., 2006) find regularity in revealed preferences, (Scott et al., 2008b) find pronounced differences in stated preferences. This suggests that the impact of climate change on tourism demand may be more complicated than suggest by the econometric analyses reviewed above (Gössling and Hall, 2006).
(Bigano et al., 2007; Hamilton et al., 2005a; Hamilton et al., 2005b) use the above econometric analyses to construct a simulation of domestic and international tourism. (Hamilton and Tol, 2007) downscale the national results of these studies to the regions of selected countries. The advantage of such a model is that it assesses the logical consequences of the econometric results, which is not trivial as all potential holiday destinations see a simultaneous change in their attractiveness. The disadvantage is stylized representation of the effect of climate on destination choice. Two main findings emerge. First, climate change would drive tourists to higher latitudes and altitudes. International tourist arrivals would fall, relative to the scenario without warming, in hotter countries, and rise in colder countries. Tourists from Northwestern Europe, the main origin of international travelers at present, would be more inclined to spend the holiday in their home country, so that the total number of international tourists falls. Second, the impact of climate change is dominated by the impact of population growth and, particularly, economic growth. In the worst affected countries, climate change slows down the rate of growth in the tourism sector, but tourism nowhere shrinks.
10.6.2. Recreation and tourism supply
There are a number of so-called biometeorological studies of the impact of climate change on tourism. (Yu et al., 2009a) construct a Modified Climate Index for Tourism and apply it to fifty years of past data for Alaska and Florida. They find that Alaska has become more attractive, and Florida less attractive to tourists. (Yu et al., 2009b) use the same approach to conclude that the climate for sightseeing has improved in Alaska, while the climate for skiing has deteriorated. (Scott et al., 2004) use a similar index. Climate change would make Mexico less attractive to tourists, and Canada more attractive. Florida and Arizona would lose market share in US tourism. (Perry, 2006) notes that the hot summer of 2003 had a negative impact on tourism in the Mediterranean. (Matzarakis et al., 2010) construct a composite index of temperature, humidity, wind speed and cloud cover, and use this to map tourism potential. (Lin and Matzarakis, 2011) apply the index to Taiwan and Eastern China. (Endler and Matzarakis, 2010a; Endler and Matzarakis, 2010b; Endler and Matzarakis, 2011)use this index to study the Black Forest in Germany in detail, highlighting the differences between summer and winter tourism, and between high and low altitudes; the latter aspect is thoroughly investigated by (Endler et al., 2010). (Matzarakis and Endler, 2010) uses this method to study Freiburg. (Matzarakis et al., 2007) use the same method to project this potential into the future, finding that the Mediterranean is likely to become less attractive to tourists. (Amelung and Viner, 2006; Giannakopoulos et al., 2011; Hein et al., 2009; Perch-Nielsen et al., 2009) use a different index to reach the same conclusion, but also point out that Mediterranean tourism may shift from summer to the other seasons. (Giannakopoulos et al., 2011) notes that coastal areas in Greece may be affected more than inland areas because, although temperature would be lower, humidity would be higher. (Moreno and Amelung, 2009), on the other hand, conclude that climate change will not have a major impact on beach tourism in the Mediterranean (at least not before 2050) because sunbathers like it hot. (Amelung et al., 2007) use a weather index for a global study of the impact of climate change on tourism, finding shifts from equator to pole, summer to spring and autumn, and low to high altitudes. (Perch-Nielsen, 2010) combines a meteorological indicator of exposure with indicators of sensitivity and adaptive capacity. She uses this to rank the vulnerability of beach tourism in 51 countries. India stands out as the most vulnerable, and Cyprus as the least vulnerable.
The main criticism of most biometeorological studies is that the predicted gradients and changes in tourism attractiveness have rarely been tested to observations of tourist behaviour. (De Freitas et al., 2008) validate their proposed meteorological index to survey data. (Moreno et al., 2008) and (Ibarra, 2011) use video of beach occupancy to test meteorological indices for beach tourism. (Gómez-Martín, 2006) tests meteorological indices against visitor numbers and occupancy rates.
Other studies put tourists centre stage. (Eijgelaar et al., 2010) argues that so-called “last chance tourism” is a strong pull for tourists to visit Antarctica to admire the glaciers while they still can. (Farbotko, 2010) uses a similar mechanism to explain the rise in popularity of Tuvalu as a destination choice.
Studies on the supply side often focus on ski tourism. (Abegg and Elsasser, 1996) is one of the earliest papers. Under their particular climate scenario, a warming of 2ºC would raise the altitude of snow-reliable resorts by 300 metres in the Swiss Alps; 22% fewer resorts would be snow-reliable. (Elsasser and Bürki, 2002) point out that artificial snow-making cannot fully offset the loss in natural snowfall. (Hamilton et al., 2007) reaches a similar conclusion for New England, highlighting the importance of “backyard snow” to induce potential skiers to visit ski slopes. (Pickering et al., 2010) find a preference of skiers in Australia of natural snow over artificial snow. From a series of interviews, (Hill et al., 2010) find that tourist operators in the Swiss Alps seek to maintain the status quo through adaptation, rather than search for viable alternatives to ski tourism; and argue that better coordination is needed for adaptation to be successful. (Scott and McBoyle, 2007) highlight that there are many options to adapt to a loss of snow for skiing. (Hoffmann et al., 2009) use a survey of ski lift operators in the Swiss Alps and find that adaptation measures are driven by the ability to adapt (rather than the need) and that adaptation is more prevalent on higher slopes (which are less vulnerable). (Scott et al., 2006) study the impact of climate change on six ski areas in eastern North America. Even with snowmaking, climate change could be an existential threat to 3 of the 6 ski areas by 2050; and climate change would lead to a contraction in each area in each scenario. (Dawson et al., 2009) use past analogues to study the impact of future climate change on ski tourism in the Northeastern USA. They find that small and very large resorts will be hit hardest. (Scott et al., 2008a) find that snowmobiling would have disappeared from the Northeastern USA by the end of the 21st century. Artificial snowmaking would halt the decline of ski resorts, but water scarcity and the costs of snowmaking would be increasingly large problems. (Scott et al., 2003) reach the same conclusion for southern Ontario, (Scott et al., 2007) for Quebec, and (Steiger and Mayer, 2008) for Tyrol. (Bicknell and Mcmanus, 2006) study adaptation for ski resorts in Southeastern Australia. They note that resorts may continue to be economically viable in the absence of snow by focusing on alternative activities. (Pickering and Buckley, 2010) note that artificial snow-making may be infeasible and uneconomic at the scale required to offset the loss of natural snow in Australia, and argue for a reorientation towards summer tourism and residential property development. (Moen and Fredman, 2007) find that alpine ski resorts in Sweden would become economically unviable, and that alternative livelihoods need to be developed. (Tervo, 2008) finds that the shortening of the Finnish ski season would be too limited to affect the economic viability of tourist operators. (Serquet and Rebetez, 2011) find that the Swiss Alps attract more tourists during hot summers, and argue that climate change would structurally improve the mountains as a summer tourism destination. (Bourdeau, 2009) argue along the same lines for the French Alps, stressing the importance of non-tourism alternatives as a source of economic development. (Potocka and Zajadacz, 2009) argue that prudent management supplies tourism services suitable for all weather.
Other studies consider beach tourism. (Phillips and Jones, 2006) focuses on beach erosion due to sea level rise, and the various options to prevent that. (Hamilton, 2007) finds an aversion against artificial coastlines, so that hard protection measures against sea level rise would reduce the attractiveness of an area for recreation and tourism. (Raymond and Brown, 2011) survey tourists on the Southern Fleurieu Peninsula. They conclude that tourists who are there for relaxation worry about climate change, particularly sea level rise, while tourists who are there to enjoy nature do not share that concern. (Becken, 2005) finds that tourist operators have adapted to weather events, and argues that this helps them to adapt to climate change. (Belle and Bramwell, 2005) find that tourist operators on Barbados are averse to public adaptation policies. (Uyarra et al., 2005) find that tourists on Barbados would consider holidaying elsewhere if there is severe beach erosion. (Buzinde et al., 2010a; Buzinde et al., 2010b) find that there is a discrepancy between the marketing of destinations as pristine and the observations of tourists, at least for Mexican beach resorts subject to erosion. They conclude that, contrary to official preconceptions, tourists are not deterred by environmental change.
Some studies focus on nature tourism. (Wall, 1998) notes the impact of climate change on water-based tourism, on the coast through sea level rise and inland through drought. (Cavan et al., 2006) find that climate change may have a negative effect on the visitor economy of the Scottish uplands as natural beauty deteriorates through increased wild fires. (Saarinen and Tervo, 2006) interviewed nature-based tourism operators in Finland, and found that about half of them do not believe that climate change is real, and that few have considered adaptation options. (Nyaupane and Chhetri, 2009) argue that climate change would increase weather hazards in the Himalayas and that this would endanger tourists. (Uyarra et al., 2005) find that tourists on Bonaire would not return if coral was bleached. (Hall, 2006) finds that small tourist operators in New Zealand do not give high priority to climate change, unless they were personally affected by extreme weather in recent times. The interviewed operators generally think that adaptation is a sufficient response to climate change for the tourism sector. (Wang et al., 2010) note that glacier tourism is particularly vulnerable to climate change, highlighting the Baishiu Glacier in China.
A few studies consider all aspects of the impact of climate change for particular countries or regions. (Ren Guoyu, 1996) shows that domestic tourism in China will shift northwards, that sea level rise would damage some tourist facilities, and that the overall impact of climate change on China’s tourist sector would be negative. (Harrison et al., 1999) conclude that climate change would make Scotland less attractive to tourists in winter but more attractive in summer. (Ceron and Dubois, 2005) assess the impact of climate change on tourism in France. They argue that the French Riviera may benefit because it is slightly cooler than the competing coastal resorts in Italy and Spain. The Atlantic Coast, although warming, would become less attractive because of increased rainfall. The increase in summer tourism in the mountains is unlikely to offset the decrease in winter tourism. (Jones et al., 2006) study the impact of climate change on three festivals in Ottawa. They argue for heat wave preparedness for Canada Day, find that skating on natural ice may become impossible for Winterlude, and fret that the dates of the Tulip Festival may need to be shifted to reflect changing phenology. (Dawson and Scott, 2010) assess the impacts in the Great Lakes regions, finding reduced tourism potential in winter but increased opportunities in summer. (Turton et al., 2010) study Australia. They conclude that tourist operators find the uncertainty about climate change too large for early investment in adaptation.
10.6.3. Market impacts
There are only two papers that consider the economic impacts of climate-change-induced changes in tourism supply and demand. Both studies use a computable general equilibrium model, assessing the effects on the tourism sector as well as all other markets. (Berrittella et al., 2006) consider the consumption pattern of tourists and their destination choice. They find that the economic impact is qualitatively the same as the impact on tourist flows (discussed above): Colder countries benefit from an expanded tourism sector, and warmer countries lose. They also find a drop in global welfare, because of the redistribution of tourism supply from warmer (and poorer) to colder (and richer) countries. (Bigano et al., 2008) extend the analysis with the implications of sea level rise. The impact on tourism is limited because coastal facilities used by tourists are sufficiently valuable to be protected against sea level rise. The study finds that the economic impacts on the tourism sector are reinforced by the economic impacts on the coastal zone; and that the welfare losses due to the impact of climate change on tourism are larger than the welfare losses due to sea level rise.
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