Climate change a threat to tourism in Spain

Serious measures need to be taken to avoid Spain turning into a Sahara-like desert. Credit: Shutterstock

Europe is the most important tourist region in the world. According to UNWTO the majority of all international tourist arrivals (461 million) are on the “old content”. Southern Europe and the Mediterranean areas being the most favoured holiday destinations in Europe. But could this end?
Spain in terms of international arrivals is the second most popular destination after France and tourism is Spain’s most stable source of income, but there is a danger that tourism in the country will suffer a major setback in the decades to come.
In the Mediterranean states, increasing average temperatures, together with the increasing probability of heat-waves, could result in temperatures exceeding comfortable levels more frequently in the future. It is estimated that, by 2030, the region will have a noticeable increase in the number of days with temperatures above 40°C. Other problems are shortages of water, that restrict the operation of tourist facilities (swimming pools, golf courses), and an increasing risk of forest fires in many areas.
Within Spain, the southern and eastern mainland could lose the most from climate change.
Conditions for tourism in the three months that are currently the most popular ones (July, August and September), will be much worse. Of the current six high-season months only in May the estimated conditions in 2030 will still be good according to all scenarios.
Serious measures need to be taken to avoid Spain turning into a Sahara-like desert.

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Written by

Cristina Hodgson

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