Risks and opportunities for tourism

The rising snow line is affecting winter tourism, while opportunities for summer tourism are also emerging. In the mountains and at exposed locations, the expected increase in natural events presents a challenge. Higher-lying tourist destinations are also affected by the change in the landscape.

The following overview shows the most important risks and opportunities for tourism and recreation areas based on the Confederation’s climate change analysis completed in 2017. Risks and opportunities for individual parts of the country are
addressed in the section Major regions


[R] Risks of climate change
[C] Opportunities due to climate change
[?] Areas for which a clear assessment is not yet possible

[R] Yield losses in winter tourism

  • Declining profitability especially of the lower-lying winter sports areas, due to
    • -decreasing duration of snow cover, shortening the ski season
    • -increasing costs for making snow for slopes
    • -declining number of guests at mountain railways and tourist accommodation due to uncertain snow conditions
    • -declining motivation for winter sports when the Swiss Plateau lacks a winter landscape

[C] Yield gains in summer tourism

  • Longer duration of the summer season, better weather conditions for outdoor activities
  • Increasing attractiveness of bathing waters and higher areas in the summer heat
  • Locally new tourism attractions in the high mountains (new lakes due to glacier shrinkage)
  • Mediterraneanisation of the climate (fewer rainy days, milder evenings)

[R] Increasing economic losses due to more frequent and more intense natural events

  • Increasing damage to tourist buildings, facilities and paths due to rock fall, rock avalanche, debris flows, landslides, floods and forest fires; increasing expenses for maintenance in recreational areas
  • Additional economic damage if the accessibility of a tourist destination is temporarily restricted due to a natural event
  • Increased negative perception of the mountain area as a recreation area / tourism destination after natural events with personal or major property damage

[R] Loss in the attractiveness of the mountain landscape

  • Decline in attractiveness of destinations that are heavily focused on glacier and snowy landscapes

[?] Uncertain impacts

  • Increases or decreases in damage to recreational areas (forests, tourist Infrastructure) by storms

Last modification 22.11.2018

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Federal Office for the Environment FOEN
Reporting and Adaptation Section

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