How extreme weather is changing the face of tourism in Europe

Travel to Europe is heating up (literally) this summer.
map of europe

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Mother Nature has been giving Europe’s tourism industry an extreme weather makeover with rising temperatures and relentless heatwaves last summer, and the winter season bringing little relief with low rainfall and drier-than-usual ski resorts.

The impact on those who depend on tourism has been utterly devastating, while travelers are getting a scary preview of what’s to come on our ever-warming (basically melting) planet. NASA climate scientist Ryan Stauffer tweeted, “I have never seen a forecast like this. Ever.” Speechless at the climate’s trajectory he added, “The climate implications are hard to ignore.”

How has the warm weather impacted travelers? 

Europe’s warm winter has caused ski resorts to close due to low snow levels, with areas like France and Switzerland impacted. Temperatures in many countries, including the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Spain, and Switzerland, as well as others, have reached record-high levels.

As a result, winter sports destinations are pivoting to retain visitor numbers by introducing new off-snow activities, and some areas have seen increased off-season tourism due to warm weather. Meanwhile, low water levels from heavy drought have had a negative impact on tourism, such as dry canals in Venice.

What is the expected weather in Europe for this summer? 

This summer is expected to be even hotter than the last due to the end of La Niña’s cooling weather pattern and the impact of greenhouse gas emissions. To avoid extreme temperatures, travelers should check for heat waves and drought warnings in their destinations before booking, while it may also be difficult to find swimming pools, fountains, and lakes in these destinations.

To help preserve vacation destinations through sustainable travel, tourists can support local businesses, opt for train travel over flying to reduce emissions, and consider visiting less popular destinations to alleviate the effects of over-tourism.

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