Kate Simon: Freezing snow, blazing sun – the British holidays of the future

Scotland never had it so good – at least last week. As the whole country shivered in Arctic conditions, news came in of skiers forming long queues in the Highlands' resort of Aviemore, keen to benefit from the latest eight inches of snowfall.

As our ski expert, Patrick Thorne, wrote in a recent Snow Report column (IoS, 20 December 2009), Scottish slopes once enjoyed annual visitor numbers topping 650,000, but these have dipped to 150,000 since the 1970s. Perhaps Scotland's luck is about to change, and if so, as Patrick says, the Scots better spend some money fast on upgrading their facilities.

It seems UK ski resorts may not be the only tourist spots affected by climate change and cyclical weather. Freezing winters, boiling hot summers, and wet springs and autumns could become a regular feature of the 21st century.

According to the 2009 UK Climate Projections, from the UK Climate Impact Programme, which considers the effect of different levels of carbon emissions on weather patterns, the threat of summer droughts, winter floods and storm surges is real. It predicts that by 2040 temperatures in southern Britain are likely to rise by an average of around C and could escalate to 8C if carbon emissions aren't controlled.

That has many serious ramifications. But one consideration is how it could permanently alter the face of Britain's domestic tourism scene.

Tourism 2023 – a project launched last year by the sustainability think tank Forum for the Future and supported by Defra and major travel industry bodies and companies – considers climate to be one of the major factors that will influence our travelling choices and habits.

Among its "what-if" scenarios is a Britain experiencing a "carbon clampdown" aided by milder winters and hotter, drier summers. "High levels of government investment in local resorts means that many people find their holiday needs can be met closer to home," it says, adding the prospect of "international celebrities snapped sunning themselves on the beaches in Norfolk".

It's enough to make the imagination run wild: Mediterranean-style resorts on Cornwall's Hayle Sands; Bridport – the new Benidorm; Disneyland Barry Island?

Sounds bonkers, yet even now we're seeing signs of the climate-sensitive nature of British tourism – Whitley Bay on the north-east coast says it will be opening a beach hut "resort" this Easter. And Bournemouth has constructed the first artificial surf reef in Europe to extend its watersports season.

The CEO of VisitEngland, James Berresford, remains sanguine about England's ability to rise to the challenge. "England has always been an all-weather destination and will continue to develop new and exciting tourism offers to adapt to changing weather patterns," he says.

Of course, how we get to all these exciting new UK destinations efficiently is another question – at the moment you can reach the Alps quicker than Scotland's slopes from some parts of the country due to better transport links. That's down to government to sort out. But if the way it handled this month's deep freeze is anything to go by...

Do you have a travel issue? Email sundaytravel @independent.co.uk

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Life and Style
tech
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
news
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
theatre
Extras
indybest
News
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
tvWebsite will allow you to watch all 522 shows on-demand
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Recruitment Consultant (Trainee), Finchley Central, London

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    Day In a Page

    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
    Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

    Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

    They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
    The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

    20 best days out for the summer holidays

    From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
    Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

    All the wood’s a stage

    Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
    Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

    Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

    Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
    Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

    Self-preservation society

    Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
    Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

    Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

    We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor