Abstract : 1C.3
The impacts of climate change on tourism and potential adaptation reponses in coastal and Alpine regions

Tanja Cegnar
Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia

The main tourist attractions in Slovenia are well-preserved nature with its beautiful landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Snowy Alpine peaks and the Triglav National Park with many glacial valleys, gorges, waterfalls, lakes and crystal-clear wild waters attract visitors looking for peace in the mountains as well as sports climbers, skiers, rafters, canoeists, gliders and others in search for relaxation and excitement in everyday life. Landscape and opportunities for sport, recreation and leisure are highly dependet on local climate. Climatic conditions in Slovenia vary. There is a continental climate in the northeast, a severe Alpine climate in the high mountain regions, and a sub-Mediterranean climate in the coastal region. Yet there is a strong interaction between these three climatic systems across most of the country. This variety is also reflected in climatic variability over time and is an important factor determining the impact of global climate change in the country.

As nature based tourism prevails in Slovenia, climatic change could more or less seriously jeopardize some of the touristic resorts and activities. Already now it is evident that winter tourisem based on sport and recreatation on ice and snow is highly vulnerable and immediate efforts to adapt are needed. Climate change will shorten the tourist season in some parts of the country, but on the other hand there are locations, which will benefit with extended favourable climatic conditions for selected sport, recteation and leisure activities. It is expected that more tourists will concentrate in selected zones increasing environmental stress in that region. Slovenia is perceived as rich with water, there is no perception that we should carefully deal with it, yet. But certainly with progressive climate change during the next decades this perception will have to change.