Study Takes Stock of Climate Change's Impact on Tourism

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(Image courtesy of Purdue University.) (Image courtesy of Purdue University.)

A researcher at Purdue University says a first of its kind study shows how climate change could affect the state's tourism industry and stakeholders -- particularly small businesses. One example, study lead author and Associate Professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management Jonathon Day says is the state will begin losing some of its "sweet spot" days where the temperature is between 65 degrees and 85 degrees. He says, over time, milder months that open and close the Indiana travel season will also begin hitting earlier and later than they do now.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Day said awareness is "just good business sense." While the ways climate will change, Day added, are predictable, the precise effects are tougher to nail down. "There's always indirect things," Day said. "For instance, people leave Chicago and go to the Indiana Dunes because it's hot in Chicago in the middle of summer and it's nice and cool to be by the lake. And as the temperature rises, we might look at that and go 'well, maybe this will be less attractive,' but you've got to look at what's happening in Chicago, as well. Chicago's going to get much hotter because if the heat island effect over the city, so Indiana Dunes will still be appealing."

Figures from 2016 peg the economic impact of tourism on the state at $12.2 billion, supporting 240,000 jobs statewide. The study's mission states "our climate is changing, so let’s start building effective plans for a productive future." The research is part of a larger initiative a called the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment, which is based at the Purdue Climate Change Research Center. The effort looks at the expected effects in 10 areas, including health, water resources and infrastructure.

You can connect to the full tourism report by clicking here and the other reports released as part of the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment by clicking here.

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