STA, 23 May 2019 - Climate change is bringing some major challenges for tourism, with skiing being among the sectors already suffering substantially under its impact. Participants of the Green Day of Slovenian Tourism conference heard on Wednesday that the number of ski destinations in the Alps with sufficient natural snow could drop by 70% in this century.
Talking about the impact of climate change on ski resorts at the annual conference promoting sustainable tourism was Cenk Demiroglu of the Umea University in Sweden, who said the number of skiers in the US had fallen by 15 million between 2000 and 2015.
Revenue in the sector in the US fell by US$1 billion in the same period, while the number of jobs lost is estimated between 13,000 and 27,000.
Future prospects are also bleak, as some resorts in the US will see their season shortened by 50% by 2050 and by 80% by 2090. This entails the number of skier falling by 25 million and revenue by US$ 2 billion.
Similarly worrying forecasts are coming from the Alps, where the projected rise in global temperatures by 4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century would reduce the number of resorts that can rely fully on natural snow from 666 to 202.
While conditions could improve for some resorts, many would no longer be able to operate even with artificial snow, Demiroglu warned, while also noting that artificial snow required a lot of water.
Climate change will also be felt by Slovenia, Renato Bertalanič of the Slovenian Environment Agency said. He said the number of hot days will be rising and they will also be recorded at higher altitudes. The most pessimistic projections suggest the number of snow cover days could decrease by over a month.
Economy Ministry State Secretary Eva Štravs Podlogar added that Slovenian ski resorts are already having to supplement their operations with strong and attractive summer programmes. Only two resorts, Vogel and Kanin, are operating without artificial snow, she noted.
Štravs Podlogar also explained that the ministry, in cooperation with mountain resorts, recently ordered a study on ski resorts. The results are expected to be in by the end of the summer.