Climate Change Poses Threat to Ski Tourism in Bulgaria - Report
An analysis of the impact of climate change in Bulgaria predicts a lengthened summer season and a serious threat to winter tourism.
According to the analysis, which has been published on the website of the Ministry of Environment and Water, the projected increase in temperatures and the decrease in the number of rainy days in summer, spring and autumn are expected to result in a longer summer season at the expense of a shorter winter season.
At the same time, plans are being made for the construction of a new winter resort in the Rila Mountain and the local authorities in the resort of Bansko have sought permission to expand the ski zone near the town.
"Ski resorts and other activities related to winter tourism will be hardest hit by the climate change, which has a direct negative impact on the local communities depending on the jobs and the revenues generated by this type of tourism," the analysis informs, as cited by Trud daily.
There will be less snow due to the delayed onset of winter precipitation onset and the earlier melting of the snow, which will have a substantial negative impact on ski resorts, especially those in lower mountain regions.
According to the forecast, there will be periods of 2, 4, 5 and even 6 consecutive years of bad winter conditions after 2020.
In the winter of 2014, Bulgaria's mountain resort of Chepelare failed to register any profit because the costs for artificial snow made it impossible.
The lack of snow resulted in an outflow of tourists and the prices of snow passes were substantially reduced.
"It will not be possible to offset the costs for expensive equipment for artificial snow using tourism revenue and even now their use discourages a substantial number of Bulgarian tourists," the analysis says.
The analysis informs that Switzerland expects to see its annual winter tourism costs increase by USD 1.6 B by 2050.
Climate change, however, is expected to have a positive impact on summer destinations in Bulgaria.
The number of tourists visiting sea resorts is expected to increase in spring at first, and then in autumn.
However, the heat on dog days in July and August may lead to an outflow of tourists from Northern and Western Europe as the citizens of these countries frown at high temperatures. Besides, the prospects of spending the summer holidays in their home countries are expected to become more attractive.
As regards negative scenarios, the dry spells may lead to a water scarcity. Cyprus is already plagued by these problems and experiences water supply disruptions in summer.
Besides, the higher temperatures in summer will increase electricity demand for cooling, as has already happened in Cyprus, Turkey and Greece, according to the analysis.
Dry spells are also seen as a threat to golf tourism, as many of the golf courses in Bulgaria are on the Black Sea coast where the water resources are more limited. At the same time, maintaining the grass on the golf courses requires a lot of water.
In order to reduce Bulgaria's vulnerability to climate change and to improve the country's capacity to adjust the natural, social and economic systems to the unavoidable negative impact of climate change, the Ministry of Environment and Water has taken steps towards drafting a National Adjustment Strategy.
The strategy will be drafted in stages, the first stage envisaging a framework document titled "Analysis and Evaluation of the Risk and Vulnerability of the Sectors of the Bulgarian Economy to Climate Change."
The document is to evaluate the risk of the most typical natural disasters for the region on the basis of climatic models and scenarios. The analysis is to span the sectors of agriculture, waters, urban environment, transport, energy, construction and infrastructure, ecosystems and biodiversity, human health and tourism.
The framework document also takes into account cross-border cooperation on issues related to the impact of climate change.
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