What does winter tourism have to do with climate change?

December 11, 2019

Climate change and skiing are closely related – if there is no more snow, winter tourism will disappear along with it. We’ll explain to you the effects of climate change on tourism. 

Not only are winter sports a great passion for many people, they are also immensely important for the regional development and economy in the mountain regions. At the same time, tourism is responsible for significant CO₂ emissions.  

How significant is the impact of climate change on winter tourism? 

Winter tourism is feeling the consequences of climate change in various ways: For example, winter starts later, but snow cover in the northern hemisphere has also decreased by 53% since 1967. Likewise, the mean snow line has risen by about 300 metres in recent decades, and a further increase of about 500 to 700 metres is forecast by the end of the century. According to a study from 2017, the snow season in Switzerland starts 12 days later and ends around 25 days earlier than in 1970, meaning it is therefore 37 days shorter. The temperature will continue to rise, with direct consequences for our climate. It is therefore up to us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is the only way to control climate change.  

What is the biggest source of CO₂ emissions in tourism?

By far the largest source of emissions is travel, especially caused by guests coming to and returning from their holiday destination. Up to 75% of all CO₂ emissions at a ski resort are caused by this. For this reason, Andermatt Responsible is seeking to focus primarily on travel issues, and to that end it offers various mobility solutions. 

How much CO₂ can be saved thanks to Andermatt Responsible?

Two mobility solutions – the Andermatt Snow Express (direct train service between the Zurich main railway station and Andermatt) and the Andermatt Ski Express (direct coach service from the lowlands to Andermatt) – alone reduce CO₂ emissions by between 126 and 201 tonnes over the entire winter. This does not include regularly operating public transportation options. In addition, all electricity used by Andermatt+Sedrun+Disentis comes from renewable sources, and all Andermatt Swiss Alps properties are heated in a climate-neutral manner.  

Are winter sports still a viable/acceptable activity? 

Definitely! Because snow and winter sports are not only our passion but also our business – and ultimately our duty. The players involved – Andermatt Swiss Alps, the SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun, and POW Switzerland – want to offer winter guests a wonderful time in the snow. We also understand that winter tourism is an important economic sector in the region. And we want it to stay that way. That’s why we’re dedicated to protecting nature. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to protect the environment and play a pioneering role in corporate responsibility and sustainability. To stay in business forever, we need unspoiled nature and snow. This is something we’re committed to. 

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