Are tourism businesses' responses to weather variability a suitable precursor to climate change adaptation?
Purpose – This paper aims to investigate weather sensitivity of tourism businesses in New Zealand to examine whether adaptive responses and “learning” about current weather can help operators to prepare more proactively for future climatic changes. Design/methodology/approach – This paper draws on data from interviews with 57 tourism operators and stakeholders in three key tourist destinations in New Zealand. Data were content-analysed and coded into weather types, impacts and business responses. Findings – This research found that tourism stakeholders were well aware of the specific weather conditions that caused business problems, and they had considerable knowledge and experience in responding to conditions effectively, even though the causal chain of weather conditions and direct and indirect tourism impacts was often quite complex. Importantly, operators were found to learn from previous experience and also from other agents at the destination. Thus, the research established that a collective process of “sense making” occurred in relation to managing the weather. A longer term perspective of future, and possibly more dramatic, climatic changes, was not taken however. Research limitations/implications – This paper is limited to three case study destinations and is also subject to the usual limitations of qualitative research (including interviewee selection and coding). However, the research does indicate a great level of weather literacy which could be extended into adaptive capacity for climate change, if general awareness of climate change adaptation needs could be enhanced among operators. Originality/value – This paper provides detailed insights into the weather sensitivity of tourism operators and stakeholders, and of their current ability to deal with various conditions and impacts. Their weather “sense” and weather responses provide a solid platform on which more explicit and planned climate change adaptation might be based.
Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes