Nature-based tourism destinations such as the Harz (Germany) depend on their natural resources and need to react to the challenges climate change creates for them. The sustainability concept is widely applied in tourism’s adaptation to climate change, however, there are difficulties in being successfully implemented in dynamic tourist destinations. Destination resilience is a relatively new concept which can help to prepare destinations to adapt effectively to climate-change impacts on the long-term. The goal of this paper is to determine the impacts of climate change on the Harz tourism system and how its resources become vulnerable and aims to find feasible adaptation methods to increase destination resilience. A mixed-methods approach including stakeholder interviews, desk research and content analysis is used to characterize the destination’s sensitivities and determine the suitability of current tourism development goals to prepare for the future. The development goals were found to be partly matching, partly mismatching with those effects, which draws the attention to complex problems beyond the impacted activities. Issues in stakeholders networking, the recognition of the climate change as a threat, power and politics, as well as investment were found to be the key issues which need to be addressed to improve destination resilience.
Author: T. Reinecke (2018)