Plans to Heat Up the Traditional Tourist Trade in Wales Thanks to Global Warming; Study to Assess the Impact of Climate Change

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), July 28, 2009 | Go to article overview

Plans to Heat Up the Traditional Tourist Trade in Wales Thanks to Global Warming; Study to Assess the Impact of Climate Change


Byline: Sally Williams

TOURIST attractions and holiday spots in Wales should prepare to cash in on global warming over the coming decades, it was claimed last night.

Consultants producing a ground-breaking study with tourism body Visit Wales and Welsh academics say climate change could lead to a longer, more profitable and festival-packed summer tourist season in future.

Just two years ago, First Minister Rhodri Morgan was criticised for suggesting a potentially "Spanish" climate by 2050 "would hardly be unhelpful to Wales". Green campaigners accused him of complacency regarding one of the biggest issues facing Wales and the world.

But environmental consultancy Adas yesterday suggested climate change could at least provide a national tourism boost, after launching a project with Visit Wales to determine its impact on visitor numbers.

The aim of the study, which is being supported by climate change and tourism experts from the universities of Aberystwyth, East Anglia and Manchester, is to investigate how the Welsh visitor economy can develop tourism, based on the levels of climate change expected in the future.

David Frost, a senior consultant at Adas, said: "Climate change will play a key role in tourism in the coming years.

"Currently, the vast majority of visitors choose to holiday in Wales during the summer period.

"Early indications are that there are significant opportunities to capitalise on lengthening the season, from Easter right through to autumn, by packaging a more in-terestinand varied offer throughout the year.

"Wales would benefit from making its existing summer festivals longer, creating a broader spread of appeal, to attract visitors from overseas to stay longer.

"It also needs to look at water-proofing outdoor events."

The consultancy will investigate how businesses can benefit from heatwaves and changing weather using the latest information from UK Climate Projections UKCP09.

A key finding of UKCP09 was that hotter, drier summers in Wales may lead to an increase in tourism opportunities.

UKCP09 also said Wales can expect an increase in milder, wetter winters and by 2050 average annual temperatures are projected to increase by 2.3[degrees]C. Meanwhile, sea levels around Wales are predicted to rise by approximately 20cm by 2050, potentially leading to more watersports activities.

Mr Frost added: "By focusing on three key study areas - Cardiff, Snowdonia and Ceredigion - and looking at different leisure activities in each, we are able to establish the patterns of visitor activity and map information around the effects of climate change on visitor behaviour.

"This study will provide Visit Wales with evidence that shows that weather is very important to demand. …

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