Climate change adaptation planning for tourism destinations

  • Climate change adaptation planning for tourism destinations

    It is well-established that climate change is a concern for destinations in the context of tourism; the changing climate will affect which products and services a destination can offer to tourists. The first challenge is for destinations to know how their climate will change and secondly what developments can and should be made to ensure the sustainability of their product portfolios in the future.

    CITEM is currently researching climate change adaptation in Croatia, a country whose economy is firmly dependent on tourism, using tourism climate indices and forecasting models from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) together with data from governmental meteorological societies. These calculations allow future projections of climatic conditions in specific destinations from a minimum of ten years in advance, up to around 60 years into the future. Future climatic conditions are divided into classifications such as humidity, temperature and comfort, and the team is investigating how to best present this important information to research users – primarily tourism industry actors, but also Government stakeholders. Using CITEM’s research, destinations will be able to identify which products are supportable in the context of the future changed climate. For example, a projected extended summer season might indicate a focus on beach tourism products; whereas higher winter temperatures could suggest a shortening of the ski season, requiring destinations to develop alternative options for winter tourists.

    CITEM’s aim is to ensure that destinations not only have access to this data, but can interpret it to allow them to plan their portfolio effectively based on predicted climatic conditions for their region. The outcome will be a replicable toolkit to support destinations in adapting to climate change. The toolkit will be applicable to destinations across Europe – the team has plans to extend research into Spain, Turkey and the UK.


    Together with colleagues from the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford, CITEM has won seed funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to conduct knowledge exchange activity and initial research on the Adriatic island of Mali Lošinj. In partnership with the University of Zagreb, the Government Meteorological and Hydrological service of Croatia and a leading luxury hotel brand, CITEM Co-Director Prof. Chris Cooper has conducted a pilot testing approaches for the development of the climate change adaptation toolkit. Lošinj, as an island destination, is particularly susceptible to changes in the maritime climate, and has shown a progressive attitude towards adaptation measures. The island was listed in 2016 as one of the world’s top 100 most sustainable destinations; their support for the research will be critical to delivering impact more widely across Croatia in the next phase of this research.

  • Get involved

  • The centre is firmly international in scope, working to build a portfolio of research and consultancy projects in the field of tourism, hospitality and events – and offers the opportunity for researchers to address key research gaps across this broad sector. We are particularly interested in cross-disciplinary studies and will be aiming to take advantage of the numerous points of intersection between tourism and other fields, including health and social care, natural science, computer science and technology. Please contact us to discuss any areas of potential collaboration or research.

    The centre aims to assist doctoral students in the early stages of their careers in tourism research. This support could take the form of advice on publication, pilot studies or facilitating access to specialist events and further funding. By capitalising on our expertise in securing funding and building partnerships on an international scale, we enable students to engage in activity which complements or extends the scope of their doctoral study. The assistance we offer ranges from helping students with small grant proposals to fund data collection, travel or pilot studies, to more involved support with post-doctoral fellowship applications. Ultimately, we want to develop the next generation of tourism researchers and create a supportive, collaborative environment in which high quality research can flourish.

    We are pleased to be offering PhD studentships. Contact us for more information.

    Does your doctoral thesis interface with tourism, hospitality or events management? If so we would be pleased to hear from you to discuss how the Centre may be able to support you in your research activity. Contact us for more information.

  • Contact us
    Oxford Brookes Business School
    Wheatley Campus
    Oxford OX33 1 HX
    Tel: +44 (0)1865 485858