When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch
Green Or Gone

Goodbye, Greek Beach? Tourism In The Era Of "Global Boiling"

UN chief António Guterres has warned us, ominously suggesting that we update the phrase “global warming” to "global boiling" as July is on track to be the hottest month on record. Summer holidays to the beach may no longer be on the cards as countries around the globe grapple with scorching heat. Will climate change push us to drastically change the way we holiday?

Tourist sunbathe as smoke from wildfire's looms behind them on the Greek island of Rhodes.

Tourists sunbathe as smoke from wildfires looms overViglika Beach, Rhodes, on July 22

Susanne Becken and Johanna Loehr


Thousands of people on the beach. Children reportedly falling off evacuation boats. Panic. People fleeing with the clothes on their backs. It felt like “the end of the world”, according to one tourist.

The fires sweeping through the Greek islands of Rhodes and Corfu are showing us favorite holiday destinations are no longer safe as climate change intensifies.

For decades, tourists have flocked to the Mediterranean for the northern summer. Australians, Scandinavians, Brits, Russians all arrive seeking warmer weather. After COVID, many of us have been keen to travel once again.

But this year, the intense heatwaves have claimed hundreds of lives in Spain alone. Major tourist drawcards such as the Acropolis in Athens have been closed. Climate scientists are “stunned by the ferocity” of the heat.

This year is likely to force a rethink for tourists and for tourism operators. Expect to see more trips taken during shoulder seasons, avoiding the increasingly intense July to August summer. And expect temperate countries to become more popular tourist destinations. Warm-weather tourist destinations will have to radically change.

The effects of climate change on tourism

Weather is a major factor in tourism. In Europe and North America, people tend to go from northern countries to southern regions. Chinese tourists, like Australians, often head to Southeast Asian beaches.

This type of tourism isn’t sustainable long-term.

In Europe, the north-south flow is almost hardwired. When Australians go overseas, they often choose Mediterranean summers. Over the last decade, hotter summers haven’t been a deal-breaker.

But this year is likely to drive change. You can already see that in the growing popularity of shoulder seasons (June or September) in the traditional Northern Hemisphere summer destinations.

Many of us are shifting how we think about hot weather holidays from something we seek to something we fear. This comes on top of consumer shifts such as those related to sustainability and flight shame.

What about disaster tourism? While thrill seekers may be flocking to Death Valley to experience temperatures over 50℃, it’s hard to imagine this type of tourism going mainstream.

What we’re more likely to see is more people seeking “last-chance” experiences, with tourists flocking to highly vulnerable sites such as the Great Barrier Reef. Of course, this type of tourism isn’t sustainable long-term.

Holidaymakers in Rhodes flee their resort with luggage in hand as wildfires cross the island

Evacuating Rhodes, Greece, on July 22

Rob Sladden/Twitter

What does this mean for countries reliant on tourism?

The crisis in Rhodes shows us the perils of the just-in-time model of tourism, where you bring in tourists and everything they need – food, water, wine – as they need it.

The system is geared to efficiency. But that means there’s little space for contingencies. Rhodes wasn’t able to easily evacuate 19,000 tourists. This approach will have to change to a just-in-case approach, as in other supply chains.

Is this year a wake-up call? Yes.

For emergency services, tourists pose a particular challenge. Locals have a better understanding than tourists of risks and escape routes. Plus, tourists don’t speak the language. That makes them much harder to help compared to locals.

Climate change poses immense challenges in other ways, too. Pacific atoll nations like Kiribati or Tuvalu would love more tourists to visit. The problem there is water. Sourcing enough water for locals is getting harder. And tourists use a lot of water – drinking it, showering in it, swimming in it. Careful planning will be required to ensure local carrying capacities are not exceeded by tourism.

So does this spell the end of mass tourism? Not entirely. But it will certainly accelerate the trend in countries like Spain away from mass tourism, or “overtourism”. In super-popular tourist destinations like Spain’s Balearic Islands, there’s been an increasing pushback from locals against overtourism in favor of specialized tourism with smaller numbers spread out over the year.

Is this year a wake-up call? Yes. The intensifying climate crisis means many of us are now more focused on what we can do to stave off the worst of it by, say, avoiding flights. The pressure for change is growing too. Delta Air Lines is being sued over its announcement to go carbon-neutral by using offsets, for instance.

Mountains not beaches

You can already see efforts to adapt to the changes in many countries. In Italy, for instance, domestic mountain tourism is growing, enticing people from hot and humid Milan and Rome up where the air is cooler – even if the snow is disappearing.

China, which doesn’t do things by halves, is investing in mountain resorts. The goal here is to offer cooler alternatives like northern China’s Jilin province to beach holidays for sweltering residents of megacities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

Some mountainous countries are unlikely to seize the opportunity because they don’t want to draw more tourists. Norway is considering a tourist tax.

Forward-thinking countries will be better prepared. But there are limits to preparation and adaptation. Mediterranean summer holidays will be less and less appealing, as the region is a heating hotspot, warming 20% faster than the world average. Italy and Spain are still in the grip of a record-breaking drought, threatening food and water supplies. The future of tourism is going to be very different. The Conversation

Susanne Becken, Professor of Sustainable Tourism, Griffith Institute for Tourism, Griffith University and Johanna Loehr, , Griffith University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


Look At This Crap! The "Enshittification" Theory Of Why The Internet Is Broken

The term was coined by journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the fatal drift of major Internet platforms: if they were ever useful and user-friendly, they will inevitably end up being odious.

A photo of hands holding onto a smartphone

A person holding their smartphone

Gilles Lambert/ZUMA
Manuel Ligero


The universe tends toward chaos. Ultimately, everything degenerates. These immutable laws are even more true of the Internet.

In the case of media platforms, everything you once thought was a good service will, sooner or later, disgust you. This trend has been given a name: enshittification. The term was coined by Canadian blogger and journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the inevitable drift of technological giants toward... well.

The explanation is in line with the most basic tenets of Marxism. All digital companies have investors (essentially the bourgeoisie, people who don't perform any work and take the lion's share of the profits), and these investors want to see the percentage of their gains grow year after year. This pushes companies to make decisions that affect the service they provide to their customers. Although they don't do it unwillingly, quite the opposite.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

Annoying customers is just another part of the business plan. Look at Netflix, for example. The streaming giant has long been riddling how to monetize shared Netflix accounts. Option 1: adding a premium option to its regular price. Next, it asked for verification through text messages. After that, it considered raising the total subscription price. It also mulled adding advertising to the mix, and so on. These endless maneuvers irritated its audience, even as the company has been unable to decide which way it wants to go. So, slowly but surely, we see it drifting toward enshittification.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest