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Future heat-related climate change impacts on tourism industry in Cyprus

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Tourism is a vital sector of Cyprus economy, attracting millions of tourists every year and providing economic growth and employment for the country. The aim of this study was to investigate the impacts of projected climate change in the tourism industry in Cyprus (Republic of Cyprus) using both “Tourism Climate Index” (TCI) and “Beach Climate Index” (BCI). TCI refers to tourism activities mainly related to sightseeing, nature-based tourism, and religious tourism etc., while BCI represents beach tourism that constitutes 85 % of tourism activities in Cyprus. The projections of climate change impacts in tourism are performed for 2071–2100 period, using regional climate model output employing the A1B greenhouse gas emissions scenario. The 1961–1990 period is used as the control run to compare the respective results of the future projections. The significant warming anticipated in the distant future (increases in annual and summer temperatures close to 4 °C) will have adverse impacts on Cyprus tourism industry regarding sightseeing tourism. TCI results for the distant future period show only acceptable conditions for general tourism activities during summer in contrast with the good/very good conditions in the present climate. Conversely, this type of tourism seems to be benefited in shoulder seasons, i.e., during spring and autumn; TCI and hence tourist activities improve in the distant future in relation to the present climate. On the other hand, concerning beach tourism, future projections indicate that it will not be negatively affected by future climate change and any changes will be positive.

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The authors acknowledge the European financial instrument for the Environment, LIFE+, for part financing this work in the framework of the CYPADAPT project LIFE10 ENV/CY/000723.

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Correspondence to Giannis Lemesios.

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Lemesios, G., Giannakopoulos, C., Papadaskalopoulou, C. et al. Future heat-related climate change impacts on tourism industry in Cyprus. Reg Environ Change 16, 1915–1927 (2016).

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