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

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
videoJapanese prepare for the afterlife by testing out coffins
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford attends Blade Runner at Target Presents AFI's Night at the Movies at ArcLight Cinemas on 24 April, 2013 in Hollywood, California
film... but Ridley Scott won't direct
Sport
Hughes is hit by a bouncer from Sean Abbott
cricketStephen Brenkley on batsman's tragic flaw that led to critical injury
Sport
Dejected England players applaud the fans following their team's 3-0 defeat
football

Extras
indybest
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
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

    Investigo: Finance Manager - Global Leisure Business

    £55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...

    Investigo: Senior Finance Analyst - Global Leisure Business

    £45000 - £52000 per annum + bonus+bens : Investigo: My client, a global leader...

    Investigo: Financial reporting Accountant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...

    Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luton – £25k

    25,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luto...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
    Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

    24-Hour party person

    Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
    Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

    A taste for rebellion

    US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
    Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

    Colouring books for adults

    How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
    Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
    Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

    Call me Ed Mozart

    Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
    10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
    Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
    'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

    'I am a paedophile'

    Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
    Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

    From a lost deposit to victory

    Green Party on the march in Bristol
    Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

    Winter blunderlands

    Putting the grot into grotto
    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

    London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital