News article

Rising global temperatures are already affecting the tourism industry – here’s how

August 14 2023 Rising global temperatures are already affecting the tourism industry – here’s how
  • Tourism is crucial to many economies, but rising global temperatures are putting parts of the industry at risk.
  • The climate crisis is changing the face of many tourist destinations and is already making some holidaymakers rethink their plans.
  • The World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the Future of Sustainable Tourism is working to help the tourism sector build towards a more sustainable future.

Hot weather is what many people go on holiday for. But record global temperatures have been sending people home early from their vacations this July, raising questions about what kind of impact the climate crisis could have on the tourism sector – and on tourism-dependent economies.

Greece – where travel and tourism make up 15% of GDP – has had to evacuate over 2,000 holidaymakers after wildfires broke out on the island of Rhodes. Athens took the unprecedented step of closing its top tourist attraction, the Acropolis, after temperatures reached 45°C.

“The climate crisis is already here,” said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. “It will manifest itself everywhere in the Mediterranean with greater disasters.”

Over in Italy, visitors to Rome have been returning home early because of the heatwave, while hospitals have faced a rise in the number of medical emergencies. Admissions at one hospital reached their highest since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Soaring temperatures have not just been ending holidays – they’ve even stopped some from getting started. This is because aircraft find it harder to get off the ground in hotter conditions, as it makes the air less dense.

US airlines flying out of Las Vegas – where temperatures hit 46°C – have consequently had to reduce passenger numbers, remove baggage, reduce the level of fuel they are carrying or delay flights until temperatures fall.

Read moreWorld Economic Forum

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