Most Brits think Spain, Greece, and Turkey will be ‘too hot’ to visit by 2027, as climate change drives temperatures up.
Every summer, travellers from the drizzly UK flock to Europe for the sunshine.
But with the mercury steadily rising year-on-year, this trend could shift, new research suggests.
According to a UK survey by InsureandGo – a specialist travel insurance provider – climate change is altering people’s holiday expectations.
In a poll of more than 2,000 respondents, 71 per cent thought that parts of Europe would be too hot to visit over summer by 2027.
The results are “staggering,” says Chris Rolland, CEO of InsureandGo travel insurance.
“UK holiday makers are really paying attention to what is going on in the world in terms of global warming.
“Though the picture may seem worrying now, there is hope that these predictions will not come to fruition if we can get a collective handle on climate change by sticking to net zero targets and reducing our overall consumption.”
Will UK tourists keep visiting Europe as temperatures rise?
Spanish tourism may be hit hardest by the increasing temperatures. Before the pandemic, more than 15 million UK residents travelled to the country every single year. But nearly two thirds (65 per cent) are concerned that it will be too warm by 2027.
Greece – another popular travel destination for Brits – may also lose significant tourism traffic, with 59 per cent of people concerned about the heat.
More than half of those polled said they would avoid Turkey (55 per cent) and Cyprus (51 per cent) by 2027. Portugal and Italy could also lose potential visitors, with 49 per cent and 42 per cent of respondents respectively claiming the locations would be too hot.
But there might be no respite at home, either. Nearly one-in-five Brits think that the UK will be too hot by 2027.
Overall, concerns about heat rise with age. While 53 per cent of people aged 18-34 said Spain will be too hot to visit by 2027, 83 per cent of over 65s said the same.
This is a trend that follows through the data – 43 per cent of 18–34-year-olds said Greece would be too hot in 2027, compared to 77 per cent of over 65s.
Where are temperatures rising across Europe?
Europe has just recorded its hottest ever summer. Across the continent, residents and tourists alike sweltered through unprecedented heatwaves and drought.
It was the second consecutive blistering summer for Europe, with average temperatures 0.4 degrees Celsius higher than the previous record set in 2021.
Summer temperatures of over 50°C could become a reality in Europe.
“The chances each summer of seeing really extreme temperatures are pretty high now,” said Professor Peter Stott, a Met Office meteorologist, after Sicily recorded a 48.8°C reading in 2021.
“We can’t say exactly when it is likely to happen, but Europe will need to prepare for the eventuality of further records being broken with temperatures above 50.0°C being possible in Europe in future, most likely close to the Mediterranean where the influence of hot air from North Africa is strongest.”
Human-induced global warming is responsible for these changes.
The Earth’s average surface temperature has risen by around 1.1°C since the pre-industrial period (1850-1900). In Europe, this figure is closer to 1.8°C.
Where will tourists go to escape the heat?
Everywhere will be impacted by rising temperatures. However, the survey results indicate that would-be travellers may be drawn to colder climes.
Just four per cent of people think that Scandinavia and Switzerland will be too hot to visit, while five per cent say the same about the Netherlands.
“The family summer holiday will certainly not go away,” Rolland says.
“Our research does suggest however, that it may well change in terms of holiday makers moving toward cooler climates – or perhaps that Easter and Christmas will become the school holidays when more families head abroad for their break. I think this research is a real eye opener that things need to change – and fast.”
Part of the change will be making travel more sustainable – swapping flights for trains and avoiding extractive tourism.
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