Impacts of climate change on Norwegian nature based tourism (CLIM-TOUR)

Development of tourism, one of the world’s fastest growing industries, has become an important strategy for regional economic development in Norway. At the same time, climate change is altering the conditions on which tourism is based. Ski-tourism is already being affected by a lack of snow in multiple destinations across the globe, recently also identified to be the case for some of the Norwegian destinations. Tourism, and nature based tourism in particular, is dependent on ecosystem and climate services such as snow, aesthetic landscapes and wildlife, as well as being dependent of well-functioning physical infrastructure such as roads, harbors and telecommunications; all of which is subject to impacts from climate change. Still, little is known about how the Norwegian tourism industry will be affected, or its ability to cope with potential challenges and stress caused by climate change.

The overarching aim of the project is to enable a sustainable adaptation to climate change of the nature based tourism industry in Norway. The sub-objectives are: (1) Assess climate change consequences for weather conditions critical to the nature based tourism industry; (2) assess climate change consequences for selected ecosystem services and physical infrastructure critical to the nature based tourism industry; (3) develop climate change adaptation strategies for the involved user-partners; and (4) develop climate services that can support the tourism industry in comprehending impacts of climate change and developing adaptation strategies and measures.

The tourism industry has responded very positively on this project initiative, seeing a need for better knowledge on these issues. The participating stakeholders will take active part in the knowledge production, in line with the concept of co-production of knowledge. This approach will ensure the quality of the knowledge output, secure ownership to it among tourism stakeholders, and promote the practical use of the knowledge in adapting to climate change. The project consists of five case studies: Mountain hiking, physical infrastructure, fishing and hunting, winter tourism, and coast- and alpine based tourism. Furthermore, the project will benefit by getting input from some of the highest ranking international researchers on tourism and climate change in the world. The two user-oriented outputs from the project will be a climate services module tailormade for tourism on, and an interactive climate game designed to promote reflections on climate change impacts and adaptation options for tourism.