Climate Change Impacts on Baltic Coastal Tourism and the Complexity of Sectoral Adaptation

Book Chapter
Filies, Christian
Schumacher, Susanne
Climate Change Adaptation in Practice. From Strategy Development to Implementation
Schmidt-Thomé, Philipp
Klein, Johannes


Tourism as an economic sector which, with a high dependency on natural resources, will face direct, indirect and induced climate changes to its key and framework conditions. While some attempts have been made to develop adaptation strategies for the touristic market, it has become obvious that adaptation strategies will be most efficient when established on a micro-regional level. By examining coastal tourism in the southern Baltic Sea Region, this chapter discusses the attempt to establish adaptation strategies not only by spatial, but also by sectoral criteria.

Southern Baltic Sea Region's coastal tourism is a heterogeneous field with different natural, cultural and recent historical background. Still, the sector will face climatic challenges all around the Baltic Sea. While warmer temperatures and shifts in precipitation from summer to winter favour coastal tourism at first glance, many effects of climate change need to be examined individually to characterize their impacts on the main touristic resources of Baltic Sea tourism: nature and cultural heritage.

Understanding these effects, it is possible to build up effective adaptation networks of different touristic stakeholders. Successful adaptation will be the main parameter to decide if the changes will be risks or chances for Baltic Sea tourism. To demonstrate the actual perception of climate impacts and a possible need for adaptation, German-based expert interviews with touristic decision makers have been conducted. The results were analysed and put into the theoretical context of adaptation as a contribution to the development of effective adaption strategies, a process being initiated by corresponding national or international projects such as RADOST, BaltCICA or baltadapt.