Hotel Biz Link – Global Hotel Business Magazine

The Global News Source of Hotel & Lodging Industry

Deadly Greek Heatwave Exposes Lack of Climate Preparedness

Tourists die due to heatwave in Greece

Deadly Greek Heatwave Exposes Lack of Climate Preparedness in European Tourism Hotspots

A series of tragic incidents in Greece has highlighted the growing threat of extreme heat to European tourism destinations and the urgent need for better preparedness.

Over the past few weeks, five tourists have died in Greece due to an unprecedented early-summer heatwave, with temperatures exceeding 38°C (100°F). Authorities have been forced to close popular attractions like the Acropolis during the hottest hours of the day, and are searching for several more missing tourists.

Meteorologists warn that heatwaves are becoming more frequent and severe in Europe, with 23 of the 30 most extreme events occurring since 2000. Scientists can now predict these events up to 5 weeks in advance, yet most governments and tourism authorities remain woefully unprepared.

“For the time being, the countries are not ready to deal with the impact of climate change,” said Cinzia de Marzo, a European Climate Pact Ambassador. “They don’t plan, they just respond to emergencies.”

This lack of preparedness is evident across the continent. While some cities like Barcelona are taking steps to create climate shelters, others like Madrid have no plans to protect tourists from extreme heat. The consequences could be dire, as the key inbound markets for Greece, like France and the US, are highly sensitive to the impacts of climate change on their travel experiences.

Beyond the immediate threat to tourists, the early heatwave also raises concerns about an extended and more severe wildfire season in Greece. Last year, wildfires caused over $1.9 billion in damage and forced 20,000 evacuations. Experts warn that the drier conditions from the heatwave will create ideal conditions for even larger and more destructive fires in the coming months.

The tragic events in Greece serve as a wake-up call for European tourism destinations. Governments and industry stakeholders must urgently invest in data-driven preparedness strategies, public communication, and climate-resilient infrastructure to protect both tourists and local communities from the escalating impacts of the climate crisis.