Tourism In Southern Europe Sees 76% Drop Since 2019 Due To Record Heatwaves And Wildfires

by Shreya Shriyan
Tourism In Southern Europe Sees 76% Drop Since 2019 Due To Record Heatwaves And Wildfires

Wildfires and heatwaves have become increasingly frequent and severe in Europe, wreaking havoc on landscapes and communities alike. As temperatures continue to rise, the risk of wildfires and heat waves is expected to escalate. But, this risk is now also affecting the tourism sector of the country. Southern Europe has now witnessed a tourism drop so severe, that it’s their lowest since 2019.

Europe Witnesses Stark Tourism Drop Due To Heatwave And Wildfires

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Image Credits: Canva (representative image)

Wildfires and heatwaves in Europe have now seemingly become the country’s new reality. The worst reported fire was that in Greece’s Rhodes Island. But now, the southern part of the country faces a new challenge, decreasing tourism. 

Due to the wildfires, many tourists have been reported to have left their vacation mid-way or cancelled before arrival, for obvious concerns. As per Hindustan Times’s report, Ponti from ForwardKeys reported Rhodes’ anticipation of an 8% to 10% surge in foreign arrivals for 2023.  The Greek island had enjoyed a prosperous year with around 2.6 million visitors, mostly from Britain and Germany.

However, the wildfires brought unprecedented flight cancellations during the last week of July. 

Also Read: Greece: Free Week-Long Holiday In 2024 Offered To Tourists Who Fled Rhodes Fires

What Does This Mean For The  Country’s Tourism Sector?

Image Credits: Canva (representative image)

These cancellations surpassed all bookings from the same week in 2019. According to Hindustan Times, Manolis Markopoulos, head of the Rhodes hotel association, remains optimistic. He believes that rebounding arrivals to unaffected parts of the island can save a significant portion of the projected tourism boost.

The reports also highlighted that some major British operators briefly cancelled all Rhodes flights and holidays. And also granted refunds for bookings in fire-hit areas. On the other hand, budget airlines persisted in offering seats and reported normal travel figures, as stated by HotelPlanner’s Hentschel.

According to The Independent, Italian firefighters reported tackling almost 1,400 fires. They dealt with 650 fires in Sicily and 390 fires in Calabria, the southern mainland region.

In conclusion, the increasing frequency and severity of wildfires across the globe are strongly linked to the effects of climate change. As temperatures rise and droughts become more prolonged, the conditions for wildfires to ignite are increasing. 

Also Read: Rhodes Wildfire: Blaze On Greek Island Creates Chaos; Horrifying Pics And Videos Go Viral

The devastating impact of these fires falls on ecosystems, communities and daily livelihood.

Cover image courtesy: Canva (Representative image)