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Too hot to go? CEE emerges as a popular travel destination

Will the Mediterranean Become “Too Hot” for Tourism? This was the title of a paper published by the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada early in 2010. In other words, 13 years ago, experts and academicians were already alarmed by the increasing temperatures of what is considered by the World Tourism Organisation as the leading tourism destination: the Mediterranean.

The paper quoted a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from 2007, according to which “in the Mediterranean, annual temperatures will increase from 1.7°C to 6.5°C in the summer months by the end of the twenty-first century with likely (more than 66 per cent) increases in the risk of heat waves, wildfires and drought.” Unfortunately, it was a very accurate prediction, as I personally just witnessed days of uncontrolled fires in Sicily, scenes that seemed to be right out of an apocalyptic movie.

That Italy and Spain are hot summer destinations is somewhat well-known. However, to what extent can humans endure such temperatures?

The same paper argued that, on a “positive” note, northern European travellers might acclimatise to warmer average temperatures at home, while the number of months that are considered “ideal” will increase.

However, today we are registering temperatures of around 50°C in the South of Italy. And not only these countries are affected. Bucharest saw land surface temperatures of 45°C and as climate change takes grip, heatwaves such as this are likely to be more frequent and more severe, with far-reaching consequences, says the European Space Agency (ESA).

Also, Poland has been affected, with record-high temperatures and the country’s second-largest opposition group and trade unionists calling for the introduction of a maximum temperature above which working hours are restricted.

The same applies to countries like Slovakia and the Czech Republic, typically colder destinations. I personally was in Riga, Latvia, earlier in June and the daily temperature was very close to the Italian one, from where my plane departed. 

Thus, CNN is asking if we will see more popular destinations popping up and new trends appearing. According to the European Travel Commission, there has been already a surge in popularity for the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. However, if the above-mentioned assumptions are true, neither the northern countries of Central and Eastern Europe will be immune to the effects of climate change, with long-lasting consequences on the health of the people and the economy of these nations.

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