Climate is a determining factor for tourism. Until recently climate in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East has been a major attractor for tourism which has become an economic pillar for a number of countries in the region. Climate change threatens this important economic lifeline; it will affect several aspects of the regional tourist industry regarding both demand and supply of the tourist services. This report deals with the various challenges the touristic industry will face, such as depletion of natural resources (water, energy), changes in the coastal areas due to sea level rise, protracted and intensified heat waves and sustainability of infrastructure. The competitiveness of the area, the yearly tourist period (already changing due to change of climatic conditions), and the effects of the changing biosphere (reduction in biodiversity and vegetation) are significant parameters that need to be understood in the light of the specific forecasts for the EMME region.
The experience of the pandemic has demonstrated the volatility and vulnerability of the tourism industry. The Task Force on tourism focuses on analysing the situation and designing specific adaptation measures that will allow the survival of tourism in the region by minimizing climate change consequences on the industry. The report presents good practices already applied in some countries which can be generalized for the region.
At the same time tourism is a significant source of emissions, from international and local transportation of people and goods to air conditioning for cooling and swimming pools. Decarbonizing the Tourist sector is a global concern; however the measures that need to be taken in this specific geographic area are distinct and need to be considered as such.All these point to the need of a radically different model of tourism, which is the focus of the EMME CCI white paper on Tourism.