CR 29:245-254 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/cr029245

Effects of climate change on international tourism

Jacqueline M. Hamilton1, David J. Maddison2, Richard S. J. Tol1,3,4,*

1Research Unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University and Centre for Marine and Atmospheric Science, Bundesstrasse 55, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
2Department of Economics, University College, Gower Street, London WC1E GBT, UK
3Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1081, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Baker Hall 129, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: We present a simulation model of the flow of tourists between 207 countries, used to study the impact of climate change on international tourism. The model almost perfectly reproduces the calibration year 1995, and performs well in reproducing the observations for 1980, 1985 and 1990. The model is used to generate scenarios of international tourist departures and arrivals for the period 2000–2075, with particular emphasis on climate change; we report variations on a single baseline scenario (A1B). The growth rate of international tourism is projected to increase over the coming decades, but may slow down later in the century, as demand for travel saturates. Emissions of carbon dioxide would increase quickly as well. With climate change, preferred destinations would shift to higher latitudes and altitudes. Tourists from temperate climates would spend more holidays in their home countries. As such tourists currently dominate the international tourism market, climate change would decrease worldwide tourism. Nevertheless, its effects are small compared to the baseline projections of population and economic growth.


KEY WORDS: International tourism · Climate change impacts · CO2 emissions · Scenarios


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