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REFRESH - Climate Change: Chances and challenges for tourism destinations close to metropolitan areas

Project Leader
Unbehaun Wiebke, Project Leader
Duration:
01.07.2016-31.12.2018
Type of Research
Basic Research
Project partners
Federal Environment Agency, Spittelauer Lände 5, A-1090 Wien, Austria.
Contact person: Andrea Prutsch;
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Art, Rösslimatte 48 , 6002 Luzern, Switzerland.
Contact person: Urs Wagenseil;
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
Staff
Juschten Maria, Co-worker
BOKU Research Units
Institute for Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation Planning
Institute for Transport Studies
Subproject(s):
REFRESH - Climate Change: Chances and challenges for tourism destinations close to metropolitan areas - ILEN (REFRESH ILEN)
Funded by
Klima- und Energiefonds, Gumpendorferstrasse 5/22, 1060 Wien, Austria
Abstract
Tourism is one of the most important sectors of the Austrian economy; it accounted to 5.3% of the Austrian GDP in 2013. However, given the nature of tourism, this sector is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Due to changing temperatures and precipitation levels, changes in the demand and supply of tourism offers can be expected. On the demand side, travel behaviour and destination choice are likely to be affected by warming temperatures, changes in weather patterns and even extreme weather events. Especially in cities, where abundant sealed and reflective surfaces create higher temperatures than elsewhere, an expected increase in the number of heat days is likely to enhance the demand among city inhabitants for short-trips into the surrounding, rural areas that are traditionally known as “SOMMERFRISCHE” (“Summer retreat”) areas. These are areas that are characterized by their location in close distance around heat-affected agglomerations while still displaying significantly lower temperature levels due to their position in higher altitudes. On the supply side, some of these formerly well-visited ski regions are facing challenges due to a de-creasing reliability of snow conditions, while there are new opportunities arising in summer due to the new potential of these “Sommerfrische” regions as described above.

Althought tourism is of high importance for Austrian economy and strongly affected by climate change impacts, tourism research in relation to climate change has singularly focused on the winter season so far. Travel behaviour of urban citizens as response to increasing heat days (demand side) and multi-seasonal tourism destination developments as adaptation to climate change impacts (supply side) in the summer season are still under-developed. Against this background, the two main objectives of the REFRESH project are:
- To explore how metropolitan people adapt to the increasing number of heat days and tropical nights within the urban agglomeration and to explain their adaptation intensions with respect to their booking and travel behavior towards “Sommerfrische” destinations in the nearby mountainous regions.
- To evaluate if nearby mountainous regions can benefit from the metropolitan people’s travel behaviour and how they can respond on this demand and develop a sustainable multi-seasonal tourism portfolio considering the climate change adaptation and mitigation goals.
Keywords
Traffic psychology; Tourism research; Empirical social research; Regional development; Transport planning;
Destinationmanagement; Heat waves; Climate Change Adaptation; mobility pattern; Tourism;
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