EU-MACS Coordinator: Prof. Adriaan Perrels,
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The use of climate services is still developing in the tourism sector. Few businesses or officials are aware of their potential and of the already available scope of service offering. There are, however, several success stories and good practices, as these examples from Austria show:

Assessment of the future snow-reliability of four ski areas in Lower Austria

A ski season simulation model that accounted for the individual snowmaking capacities was applied to assess the future snow-reliability of four ski resorts in Lower Austria. The model was calibrated using local measurement data, considering elevation and aspect of the ski resorts. Results of the calibrated model were validated using reported season lengths and reported water consumption for snowmaking. Regional climate model data was used to assess the development until the mid of the century. Provided indicators included the change in average season length, the change in the probability of ski operation during Christmas holidays, and the required amount of technical snow to maintain a 100-day season. In addition, snowmaking options under current climatic conditions were analysed, including the variability in season length given increased snowmaking capacities.

Based on the information gained from the CS, the governmental body (co-)owning the four ski areas decided to close parts of one of its ski resorts, dismantle the transport facilities and transfer the snowmaking infrastructure to higher-lying parts of the respective resort. In addition, further investments into the snowmaking infrastructure of the ski resort’s higher-lying parts were undertaken in the form of an additional reservoir.

Assessment of investment options for a Styrian ski area in the light of climate change

This example of climate service use included the assessment of the ski area’s importance for the regional economy, the assessment of the ski area’s risks towards climate change, the analysis of opportunities and challenges associated with the establishment of a bike park, and an economic feasibility study of the different investment options. Climate change risks were analysed by means of a ski season simulation model, accounting for the ski area’s specific snowmaking capacities and extension plans. Regional climate model data was used to assess the development of the next decades. Using data on current skier days and sales, changes in ski season length were translated into monetary terms and incorporated into the economic feasibility study of the investment options.

Based on the outcomes, the ski resort owners decided to invest in the optimization of the existing snowmaking infrastructure. In addition, with the report’s short-version attached, the public subsidies applied for at the provincial government were granted (previous requests had been rejected).

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