Tourism: responding to the effects of climate change

A conference entitled ‘Tourism: responding to the effects of climate change and high-impact events’ is taking place on Friday, May 10 at Faro’s Hotel and Tourism School from 9.30am to 5.30pm.

The first of its kind, the conference is being organised by Safe Communities Portugal, the Algarve Tourism Board and Faro’s civil protection authority (ANPC CDOS).

The overall aim of the conference, say organisers, is to ensure that the Algarve “remains one of the safest destinations in the world, reflecting the importance travellers attach to this when selecting a holiday destination”.

Speakers include representatives from the government (secretary of state for tourism), the regional tourism board, the civil protection authority, ABTA (British tour operators association), AGIF (agency for rural fires management), AHETA (hoteliers association), Faro airport and IPMA (Portuguese institute of sea and atmosphere), among others.

The conference will be mainly in Portuguese with some presentations and summaries in English.

Countries often face various challenges brought about by climate change and other factors. These can include rural fires resulting from rising temperatures, flooding resulting from heavy rain as well as other extreme weather conditions. There is also the risk of earthquakes and tsunamis. Thus, it is important to be aware of the measures in place to anticipate these conditions and understand the effects by assessing and mitigating the risks, in order to protect residents and visitors alike in case of catastrophes.

David Thomas from Safe Communities Portugal said: “Everyone in the tourism industry has a role to play in ensuring the safety of their clients. For instance, by understanding weather patterns and how these influence tourist activities and by knowing the threats caused by extreme weather conditions such as rural fires. Equally, it is important to know how the emergency services respond in crisis situations and the part the tourism industry plays in communicating and coordinating with the authorities.”

Some of the objectives of the conference are to create greater awareness of the risk of high-impact events and the preventive and protective measures that are in place in the event of a catastrophe; outline the communication channels to disseminate information to tourists; to help the tourism industry play an optimal role in protecting their clients, in particular frontline staff who have direct contact with tourists and to promote the measures that Portugal, and the Algarve in particular, has taken to protect the safety of tourists.

The conference is aimed at hotel operators, local lodging agencies and managers, tour operators, air travel operators, car hire businesses as well as the general public.

David Thomas concluded: “This will be the first conference of its type in Portugal aimed solely at the tourism industry, so whether you are a hotel employee, are letting or managing properties, arranging or leading activities for tourists, I would encourage you to attend this event.”

Registration is required by May 8 by contacting the RTA via email:

[email protected]