How is Europe’s drought affecting tourism?

susza w Europie

Looking at photos of dried up lakes and scorched earth can make you reconsider your plans and ask yourself – is traveling to drought-stricken countries a good idea? Undoubtedly, the impact of drought on tourism is becoming an increasingly common and noticeable phenomenon. Drought in Europe is proving to be a challenge for both nature and the economies of many regions of our continent. Long-term water shortages, caused by a changing climate, are leading to drastic changes in European landscapes that have attracted crowds of tourists from around the world for years.

Beautiful beaches, green valleys, picturesque vineyards and charming towns are now subjected to the devastating effects of drought. Countries such as Italy and Spain are facing extreme drought conditions. The lack of water not only affects the nature of these regions, but also the tourism industry, which is a major contributor to their economy, providing employment and development for local communities.

Drought in Europe – current situation

Last week saw record average temperatures on Earth. According to the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer, our planet reached 17.18°C on Tuesday.

The whole world, including Europe, is struggling with persistent heat. The Spanish city of Seville, for the second time in its history, has called the heat extreme. After a record hot June, Britain is gearing up for an even hotter July. According to The European Observatory for the Development of the European Union. Drought More than1/3 of the continent is now under a drought warning, and 10% are already experiencing it, in a very severe form. In France, about 68% of the groundwater level is in deficit. In Catalonia, water levels in reservoirs have dropped dramatically and are now averaging just 26%, down from last year’s 58%. This situation is due to the lack of rainfall since the fall of 2021. Experts unanimously call this the worst drought in the history of measurements, which date back to 1914.

Professor of physical geography at the University of Barcelona, Javier Martín Vide, warns that due to climate change, we can expect droughts to become an increasingly common problem. “Due to climate change, we should expect droughts to become even more frequent, intense and prolonged in the coming decades.”

Drought in Europe and its impact on tourism

Going to the areas most affected by the drought, we must expect many restrictions. Drought in Europe brings with it a number of constraints. Water consumption limits have already been imposed in Catalonia for several months. In northeastern Spain, more than 200 municipalities are currently under restrictions. This means forgoing all sorts of tourist attractions, such as performances and music and light shows at the Font Magica fountain in Barcelona. Beachgoers must prepare to use only one shower on the beach, which can lead to long queues and inconvenience during the summer vacation.

Italy is also feeling the effects of the drought. The northern region, including Lake Garda and the Po, Italy’s largest river, have extremely low water levels. The tourism industry in these regions is concerned about the impact of the “drought campaign” on image and visitor numbers. It is not only the natural attractions that are threatened, but also the availability of water for public and private use, which affects the comfort of tourists. Restrictions on water consumption, such as limits on filling pools in hotels and residences, as well as bans on watering greenery or cleaning streets with fresh water, pose challenges for both tourists and residents, who currently have an imposed water consumption limit of 230 liters per person per day. Europe’s drought is a major challenge for everyone.

Drought in Europe and a new trend – drought tourism

Drought in Europe is a very serious problem. It comes with a number of restrictions, including in the tourism industry. Visitors to shortage-stricken countries cannot always take advantage of traditionally available attractions, so entertainment organizers are looking for alternatives. Of unexpected interest are water reservoirs with lowered mirror levels that reveal hidden treasures, and even not so long ago completely submerged villages. This attracts former residents and their living relatives, but also other interested parties who want to see this unusual phenomenon. The low water level creates a unique opportunity to discover and explore historical and cultural sites.

drought in Europe
How is Europe's drought affecting tourism? 1

One of the most famous examples is the Sau reservoir in Barcelona, where the 11th century Sant Romà de Sau church disappeared under water in 1963. Currently, access to it is hampered not by water, but by too many tourists who want to visit it. A similar phenomenon – entire villages emerging from under the water – is occurring in other places, such as Portomarín in Lugo province, Bande in Ourense, Cantabria, Navarra, Extremadura and reservoirs in Andalusia. San Biagio Island on Lake Garda has become accessible on foot. The low water level has exposed sandbanks and stones, creating a path from the shore to the island. And although these phenomena are unusual and temporary, they represent an attractive opportunity for tourists.

Nevertheless, it is important to remember that drought in Europe is a serious environmental problem that requires a comprehensive approach and measures to manage water resources. The impact of drought on tourism is just one of many aspects to be considered in the context of climate change and environmental protection.

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