Greece may be among the destinations to suffer a loss in tourists due to climate change and high temperatures expected to drive travelers to other cooler destinations, found a new study released by the European Commission.
Findings from the “Regional Impact of Climate Change on European Tourism Demand”, which assessed data from 269 European destinations over a period of 20 years, reveal that in a 4°C global warming scenario, 52 European regions, including Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Romania, are projected to lose tourist flows compared to base year 2019.
Instead, travelers will prefer to visit northern regions, where 80 percent of destinations are projected to see tourist flows rise compared to 2019.
At the same time, the study found that in addition to “significant reductions in tourism demand” based on location, seasonality will also change. Warmer destinations such as Greece may lose tourists in the summer but see an increase in arrivals in spring and autumn.
In a 4°C warming scenario, demand across the EU is set to rise in spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November), and drop in summer with April projected to see the highest increase in tourist flows, growing by 1.96 percent in the 1.5°C warming scenario and by 8.89 percent in the 4°C scenario.
The greatest decrease is projected for the month of July, with -0.06 percent in the 1.5°C scenario and -5.72 percent in the 4°C scenario.
Analysts reviewed four warming scenarios (1.5°C, 2°C, 3°C and 4°C) and two emissions pathways (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5), and found that the greater the effects of climate change, the greater the shift in tourism demand patterns.
In the best case scenario, 1.5°C and 2°C warming, the majority of European destinations (80 percent) will remain unaffected, with an impact on tourism demand between -1 percent and +1 percent. Cyprus is expected to face the highest decline (-1.86 percent) with Finland set to gain the most (+3.25 percent).
In a 3°C and 4°C warming scenario, Central and Northern European destinations may become more attractive for year-round travel gaining a large share of tourists from Southern and Mediterranean areas, including Greece.
According to the report, coastal regions, representing 63 percent of the affected European regions, are expected to face the highest impacts in tourism demand in the higher warming scenarios.
The largest losses are expected in Greece with an expected 9 percent decline in demand for the Greek Ionian islands, Cyprus, Spain, Italy and Portugal.
At the same time, regions set to gain the most include Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.