On the 25th of April 2019, the OPCC participated in a working group of experts on the theme of adapting the tourism sector to the new challenges posed by climate change in the Aragonese Pyrenees. The event took place at the OPCC headquarters, located in the building of the Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología in Jaca (Huesca).
The tourism sector is one of the main drivers of tourism in the Pyrenees. In Aragon, snow tourism represents 7% of GDP and the expenditure generated by skiers is close to 170 million euros each season.
With rising temperatures, the favourable climatic conditions for this tourism will change. Thus, in the Central Pyrenees, according to the results of the Climpy project, at an altitude of 1,800 m, the period of permanence of snow on the ground would be reduced by more than a month and the average thickness of snow could decrease by half by 2050 compared to the current reference. This will not allow for the different forms of alpine skiing to be performed normally.
One of the positive repercussions of climate change for mountain tourism will be the extension of the summer tourism season and the occurrence of milder temperatures in spring and autumn. Moderation of minimum temperatures could lead to an increase in the election of mountain destinations, to the detriment of other less attractive destinations due to high temperatures and heat waves in summer.
During the workshop, the importance of a detailed analysis of the vulnerability of the tourism sector in the Jacetania territory and the involvement of all local actors in the definition of possible strategies for adapting mountain tourism to climate change was highlighted, which would make it possible to reduce the impacts on infrastructures and the local economy, highly dependent on tourism. The group of participants was made up of academics from the Rovira i Virgili University of Tarragona and the eco-union association, responsible for the ADAPTUR project, as well as 30 professionals and local and regional actors.
This meeting is part of the ADAPTUR project, financed by the Spanish Ministry of Ecological Transition through the Biodiversity Foundation, within the framework of the National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change. This event underlined the importance of debating the challenges of adaptation to climate change for different socio-economic sectors that will be affected by the effects of global warming in the short and medium term.