Rome heatwave.

Global warming to shuffle vacation destinations: Goodbye Greece, hello Canada

According to a new study, popular tourist destinations around the world will lose about half of their pleasant days for outdoor activities by the end of the century. In Greece, tourists will lose up to 37 days, in Spain 13, and in Thailand 55 days. The good news is that some countries will become more attractive for tourism

While a global temperature rise of 2-3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century might sound abstract, the reality is that everyday life will be drastically transformed. We can expect a significant decrease in comfortable weather days, with summers becoming longer and more brutal. Extreme events like heat waves will also become more frequent, lasting longer and reaching higher intensities. A new study by MIT, published in the Journal of Climate, projects the long-term effects of climate change on specific destinations around the world in 2100, and reveals how our vacations will be affected, by combining data from 50 climate models.
The researchers counted the number of days when tourists will be able to stay outdoors until 2100 at a temperature that is not too hot or too cold (between 10 and 25 degrees Celsius), both under an optimistic scenario in which humanity manages to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius - a scenario that is not considered realistic today - and under a scenario in which humanity continues with business as usual and the average global temperature rises by 3 degrees Celsius.
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Rome heatwave.
(Photo: REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane)
According to the researchers' worst-case scenario, tourists in Greece, for example, will lose up to 37 days of comfortable outdoor weather due to hot summer temperatures from May to September, Italy 7, Mexico 86, Spain 13, Portugal 33, Turkey 11, and Thailand 55. Albania will lose 30 days, Serbia 26 days, Croatia 22 days, North Macedonia 21 days, Bulgaria 17 days, Kosovo 19 days, and Romania 12 days. In the United Arab Emirates, visitors will have to find indoor attractions for an additional 85 days a year, and in Florida for an additional 68 days.
The good news is that some countries will actually become more attractive in the face of a warming climate: Russia, Canada, and other global northern countries, where warming will increase the number of days that can be spent outdoors. By 2100, Austria will have an additional 52 days when tourists can enjoy outdoor activities, France 18, and Germany 28. Norway's tourism businesses will gain an additional 63 days suitable for outdoor stays, New Zealand up to 69, and in England, there will be an additional 60 days. The reason for this is mainly warmer winters, which will succeed in getting people outside - but will actually "dry up" the ski industry.
Prof. Adi Wolfson, a sustainability expert at the Sami Shamoon College of Engineering, elaborates the importance of the data: “The study presents in a simple and accessible way how the climate crisis is expected to directly affect the quality of life and the ability of citizens of each country to function and exist in the public space. It translates the impact of climate change, and especially heat and cold waves, into the number of days when it will be impossible to carry out activities outdoors, from work to leisure, but in fact on the days when the climate will have a significant impact on the economy, health, security and national resilience."
According to the optimistic scenario, Israel will lose up to 44 outdoor days per year by the end of the century, and according to the pessimistic scenario - 81, compared to 1980. The Dominican Republic, with 124 fewer outdoor days by 2100, will see a 50% decrease in the number of days the climate will be considered pleasant per year.
Mexico, India, Thailand, and Egypt, all in the Northern Hemisphere, will also experience a reduction of about half of their outdoor days, losing 55 to 86 outdoor days per year. Developing countries, which are already suffering more from the effects of climate change, will pay the price the most. This includes, for example, Côte d'Ivoire, Bangladesh, Sudan, Indonesia, Colombia, and various countries in the global south.
According to Wolfson, "Since this is a forecast for the future, it requires all of us to act intensively now to mitigate the climate crisis by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy, moving from an animal-based diet to a vegetarian one, and reducing the culture of consumption”.