A few minutes every morning is all you need.
Stay up to date on the world's Headlines and Human Stories. It's fun, it's factual, it's fluff-free.
Europe has always been a hot tourist destination. But parts of it are getting a little too hot.
Over the weekend, stretching into the early parts of this week, thousands of tourists have been sent home from Rhodes Island in Greece, a popular travel destination. Tourists from all over the world had to be evacuated as dangerous wildfires raged in the area, triggered by a brutal heat wave we’ve been seeing scorch across Europe.
"For the next few weeks, we must be on constant alert. We are at war. We will rebuild what we lost; we will compensate those who were hurt," Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told Parliament. "The climate crisis is already here; it will manifest itself everywhere in the Mediterranean with greater disasters."
With climate change leading to more extreme weather events in these popular travel spots, is the state of tourism on the verge of permanently changing?
This heat wave we mentioned spread across countries that really depend on summer tourism for their economies. Not just Greece, but also Italy, Spain and France have been affected. Out of every country in the world, France experiences the most tourism, period. But, according to new data from the European Travel Commission (ETC), the number of people expected to travel to the Mediterranean region from June to November of this year has already dropped by 10% compared to last year. On the flipside of this trend, other, less traditional places are seeing more visitors. Not as affected by the extreme heat, the UK, Denmark and the Czech Republic, plus areas in northern instead of southern Spain, are seeing more tourism.
“This can be attributed to travelers seeking out less crowded destinations, and milder temperatures,” the ETC said in a statement. According to an ETC survey, 7.6% of respondents said the extreme weather was their biggest concern when planning their vacation.
Last summer, we saw a similar (but not as bad) heat wave affecting popular tourism hubs like Spain and Portugal. If this brutal heat wave situation becomes the norm, could it change the European tourism industry entirely? This would be bad news for Mediterranean countries’ economies. In 2022, travel and tourism made up 18.5% of the Greek economy and over 10% of Italy’s. And, well, Europe isn’t the only place on Earth experiencing the effects of climate change.
“As climate change takes grip, heat waves such as this are likely to be more frequent and more severe, with far-reaching consequences,” the European Space Agency said in a statement.