Scott et al. (2018): The changing geography of the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in a warmer world

Scott, D.; Steiger, R.; Rutty, M; Fang, Y. (2018): The changing geography of the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in a warmer world

The Olympic Winter Games (OWG) and the Paralympic Winter Games (PWG) are showcases for winter sports. With their high dependence on weather conditions, accelerating climate change poses a challenge to these mega-events. Two indicators are used to assess the climate reliability of locations to host the Games (OWG in February, PWG in March) in the future under a low (RCP 2.6) and high (RCP 8.5) greenhouse gas emission scenario. Climate change will alter the geography of the Games over the twenty-first century. In a low-emission scenario, only 13 of 21 locations remain climate reliable for the OWG in the 2050s and 12 in the 2080s, whereas only 10 are reliable for the PWG (both in the 2050s and 2080s). The impact of a business-as-usual high-emission scenario is far greater, reducing the number of locations reliable for the OWG to 10 in the 2050s and 8 in the 2080s, with even fewer reliable for PWG (8 in the 2050s and only 4 in the 2080s). Adaptive responses are considered, including strengthening the climatological assessment requirements in forthcoming bid processes, the unification of the OWG and PWG (in the month of February), and considering dual host countries/regions.

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Steiger et al. (2017). A critical review of climate change risk for ski tourism – Open Access Artikel

Steiger, R., Scott, D., Abegg, B., Pons, M., & Aall, C. (2017). A critical review of climate change risk for ski tourism. Current Issues in Tourism, 1–37. Link

Abstract:
Ski tourism is a multi-billion dollar international market attracting between 300 and 350 million annual skier visits. With its strong reliance on specific climatic conditions, the ski industry is regarded as the tourism market most directly and immediately affected by climate change. A critical review of the 119 publications that have examined the climate change risk of ski tourism in 27 countries is provided. This growing and increasingly diverse literature has projected decreased reliability of slopes dependent on natural snow, increased snowmaking requirements, shortened and more variable ski seasons, a contraction in the number of operating ski areas, altered competitiveness among and within regional ski markets, and attendant implications for ski tourism employment and values of vacation property real estate values. The extent and timing of these consequences depend on the rate of climate change and the types of adaptive responses by skiers as well as ski tourism destinations and their competitors. The need to understanding differential climate risk grows as investors and financial regulators increasingly require climate risk disclosure at the destination and company scale. Key knowledge gaps to better assist ski tourism destinations to adapt to future climate risk are identified.

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Eine Reihe von neuen Publikationen sind über die letzten Monate entstanden. Details zu den Publikationen finden sich auf der entsprechenden Seite (Link).

Abegg, B., Steiger, R. & Trawöger, L. (2017): Resilience and Perceptions of Problems in Alpine Regions. In: Butler, R.W. (ed.): Tourism and Resilience. Wallingford: CABI Publications: 105–117.

Abegg, B. & Steiger, R. (2017): Die Zukunft des Wintertourismus in Österreich gestalten. Innsbrucker Jahresbericht 2016-2017. Innsbruck: 211-221.

Meinel, U. & Abegg, B. (2017): A multi-level perspective on climate risks and drivers of entrepreneurial robustness – Findings from sectoral comparison in alpine Austria. Global Environmental Change 44: 68-82.

Steiger, R. & Abegg, B. (2017): Klimawandel und Skigebiete im Ostalpenraum. In: Roth, R. & Schwark, J. (eds.): Wirtschaftsfaktor Sporttourismus. Schriften zu Freizeit und Tourismus 19, Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag: 137-145.

Steiger, R., & Abegg, B. (2018): Ski areas‘ competitiveness in the light of climate change: comparative analysis in the Eastern Alps. In: Müller, D.K. & Więckowski, M. (eds.): Tourism in Transition – Recovering Decline, Managing Change. Cham: Springer: 187–199.

Abegg et al. (2017). Resilience and Perceptions of Problems in Alpine Regions

Abegg, B., Steiger, R. & Trawöger, L. (2017): Resilience and Perceptions of Problems in Alpine Regions. In: Butler, R.W. (ed.): Tourism and Resilience. Wallingford: CABI Publications: 105–117.

Conclusion:
There is a considerable gap in the perception of the urgency to act and adapt to climatic changes between science and the tourism industry. Summarizing the reasons for and the possibilities to overcome this gap, several research needs can be identified. First of all, science needs to base the impact assessment on indicators and timeframes the industry is willing and able to work with. Potential impacts of extreme winter seasons and the managerial and behavioural options to adapt to extreme situations are worth being investigated. More detailed knowledge on potential behavioural adaptation of tourists is also required, as this component of the tourism system has the highest capacity to adapt and adaptation can be made immediately, for example by temporal, spatial or activity substitution. The integration of supply- and demand-side reactions and options is vital for understanding the sensitivity and adaptive capacity of tourism destinations to a changing climate. More emphasis should be placed on the social aspects of climate change adaptation. Tourism businesses (e.g. ski-area operators) are part of larger tourism systems, and these systems, again, are part of communities/regions. A series of actors is involved, and very little is known how these actors – within the tourism system and beyond – interact. Wyss (2013), for example, argues that adaptation in a mountain tourism context can only be understood (and planned) when both the action potential of the individual actors (e.g. adaptive capacity) and the structural components of the system (e.g. cooperation, networks, power relations, etc.) are taken into account.
Climate is only one driver of change, and it is time to move beyond adapting to climate change and to embed adaptation in responses to multiple stresses. Combining climate change adaptation with hazard research, sustainability science, and community and regional resilience offers interesting perspectives. Disaster risk reduction, for example, has a long tradition in mountain environments; it has developed its own set of tools to assess vulnerability and deal with risks, many of these tools being widely accepted in the respective communities and regions (see Kaján and Saarinen, 2013). The notion of resilience and its application to climate change-related studies in tourism, on the other hand, are still relatively new (Lew, 2014). A specific resilience-based perspective on how local/regional winter tourism systems can deal with external disturbances (including climate change) is only beginning to emerge but offers a promising way to cope with complex change processes (Luthe and Wyss, 2014, 2016) – and the suggestions made in this chapter to bridge the science–industry gap, in particular a system-based approach that looks at different disturbances and different scales, is fully in line with current resilience thinking.

Steiger & Abegg (2017): Klimawandel und Skigebiete im Ostalpenraum

Steiger, R. & Abegg, B. (2017): Klimawandel und Skigebiete im Ostalpenraum. In: Roth, R. & Schwark, J. (eds.): Wirtschaftsfaktor Sporttourismus. Schriften zu Freizeit und Tourismus 19, Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag: 137-145.

Zusammenfassung:

Die Signale für die Zukunft des Skitourismus sind zwar regional differenziert, jedoch recht klar: Die Zahl der schneesicheren Skigebiete wird sich im Laufe der nächsten Jahrzehnte deutlich verringern (zuerst am Alpenrand) und zu massiven Steigerungen beim Beschneiungsbedarf und dem damit verbundenen Ressourcenbedarf führen. Der Klimawandel wird somit den Strukturwandel im Skitourismus noch beschleunigen. Skigebiete, die heute robust und gut aufgestellt sind, könnten von dieser Entwicklung möglicherweise sogar profitieren, während Skigebiete, die heute schon mit Problemen zu kämpfen haben, schneller an den Rand der Existenz gedrängt werden. Aus diesen Gründen sind Entscheidungsträger im Tourismus, aber auch in der Politik, gefordert, sich mit den möglichen Folgen des Klimawandels auf den Skitourismus in ihrer Region auseinanderzusetzen.