Purdue University researchers have released a report highlighting challenges the state’s tourism industry may face in the upcoming century due to climate change, as well as offering suggestions for how to prepare.
The Indiana economy reaped about $12 billion from the tourism industry in 2016, but a warming planet could threaten that revenue. That same year, about 80 million people traveled more than 50 miles and stayed overnight in Indiana, and more than 185,000 jobs were tied to the tourism industry.
But the tourism will not be immune to climate change says Purdue hospitality professor and co-author Jonathon Day.
“So all the things in the Indiana climate change whether it’s health or energy or what’s happening to our forest, what’s happening to our lakes is going to impact tourism in their own ways,” he says.
The report forecasts the amount of time people spend vacationing in Indiana may be shrinking with climate change will causing Indiana to lose three to four weeks of its prime outdoor tourism weather.
“For tourism, that temperature between 65 and 85 is the perfect weather to do something outside and we’re going to be losing some of that time,” says Day.
The report predicts intense rainfall, increased flooding, and reduced snowfall throughout the 21st century. Day says the purpose of the study is to make businesses aware of oncoming changes.
“The tourism industry is a very adaptive industry; we can change. But it’s worthwhile knowing what’s coming in the future,” he says.
Day says those in the tourism industry should have contingency plans for their businesses in the event of weather shifts.
“If we know there’s going to be more storms or more floods, then small businesses in particularly, and the tourism industry is made up of small businesses, should be thinking about, what’s my business continuity plan,” says Day.
The report is one in a series from the Purdue Climate Change Research Center.