CR 32:75-87 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/cr032075

Climate potential and tourist demand in Catalonia (Spain) during the summer season

Ma Belén Gómez-Martín*

Department of Physical Geography and Regional Analysis, Faculty of Geography and History, University of Barcelona, C/ Baldiri Reixac s/n, Barcelona 08028, Spain

ABSTRACT: This article shows how the study of climate-preference demand (through surveys, interviews, behavior observation, etc.) is a key factor in the development of a catalog of types of weather suitable for tourism, which can then be applied to present or future climatic scenarios with the goal of evaluating climate-tourism potential. The proposal utilizes the weather-types method of Besancenot, Mounier and de Lavenne, which incorporates 7 climate variables and comfort indexes relevant to general tourism activities, to assess the spatial and temporal distribution of climate resources for tourism in Catalonia (Spain). The results were compared with the tourist’s reality in the area of study, by considering the number of visitors and the occupation rate of tourist lodging. The study of present climate suitabilities and of tourists’ behavior discloses several uncertainties that should be examined; however, at the same time, these suggest several management strategies which, if adopted, could be immediately beneficial for the tourist sector. At present, in the Spanish and Catalan case, the opportunities offered by climate-tourist resources are not being fully utilized. The periods and places identified as climatically suitable for tourism are greater than the periods and spaces actually used by tourists. This is why the agents and operators in the market must act on the demand, in consideration of the geographic-tourist space, and on the supply to maximize use of the climate resource.

KEY WORDS: Weather · Climate · Tourism potential · Demand · Climate change · Catalonia

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