The impacts of climate variability and potential climate change on tourism business in Torbay, England and implications for adaptation

Katie Jenkins, Sarah Nicholls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


As one of the world's largest and fastest growing industries, tourism's dependence on the natural environment and climate mean that it is extremely vulnerable to, and could be dramatically affected by, climatic variability and change. However, the vulnerability of the tourism industry to climate change is generally poorly understood by stakeholders, and the adoption of appropriate adaptation strategies remains in the early stages. This study investigates the impacts of climate variability and potential climate change, the level of destination vulnerability, and the adoption of adaptation strategies in Torbay, England. Data were obtained from 106 tourism businesses in the area. Results showed that over 60% of tourism businesses in Torbay have already been affected by changing climatic conditions, for the most part increased storm intensity and frequency, and shifts in seasonality. These changes were also perceived as the greatest future threat to businesses. However, businesses often failed to recognize the role that the good environmental performance of their business could play in minimizing the negative impacts of climatic variability and change. The major barriers to implementing any adaptive changes identified by respondents were cost, a lack of government incentives, and lack of knowledge. The provision of additional information regarding the interrelationships between tourism and climate change—to businesses and tourists—was one of the main needs identified by the study. These issues must be addressed if businesses are to change their attitudes and, ultimately, behavior, minimize the negative impacts of climate change, and take best advantage of the potential opportunities offered by this phenomenon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-30
Number of pages14
JournalTourism Analysis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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