Tourism and hospitality encompasses the travel, lodging, and services that support travel for leisure or business purposes. According to the U.S. Travel Association, direct spending by travelers totaled $489.7 billion in 2009 (U.S. Travel Association 2010).
Physical Exposure Risk. Climate change can affect the tourism industry in three main ways:
(1) Regional climate effects: The long-term changes in regional climate may dramatically change the unique characteristics of certain places, such as the timing and length of seasons or quality of the climate (WTO 2009).Regional climate change is predicted to have an impact on the following types of vacation activities and places in the U.S.:
- Winter recreation: Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and other winter recreation industries that rely on snowpack are already contending with shorter seasons and the costs of maintaining snowpack (U.S. EPA 2011).
- Coastal areas: Coastal areas are at risk of sea level rise and more frequent and severe storms and hurricanes.
- Cities: Cities are predicted to endure more frequent and intense heat waves, which worsen air quality (via smog) and can exacerbate health problems such as asthma. Children, the elderly, and those with respiratory or other sensitivities are most at risk. More intense and lengthened heat ways may affect the desirability of summer travel to cities.
- National Parks: Parks in the western U.S. and Great Lakes face worsening water loss; Alaska and other winter parks are threatened by increasing ice and snow loss; and coastal national parks are vulnerable to more frequent/intense storms. Plant communities and wildlife are migrating or at risk of extinction. Historical and cultural resources, such as Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in New York City, are also at risk (Saunders 2009).The National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have developed strategic plans to deal with climate change (Burns 2010).
(2) Travel disruptions: The increased frequency of severe weather events, like rain and snow storms, will mean corresponding disruptions in air and road travel.
(3) Travel costs: Vacation travel, particularly in the summer and over the winter holidays, is sensitive to gas and airline prices. High energy prices can discourage travel.
Policy & Regulatory Risk. The industry is not likely to face any direct regulation. However, the industry may need to track or lobby on relevant climate adaptation policies and initiatives, such as more rigorous building codes, funds for beach or snowpack replenishment, or changes in insurance policies.
Reputational Risk. The risks to the industry described above—physical impacts and energy/transportation costs—are perceived to be out of the control of the industry. As a result, the brand risk of the industry to climate change is insignificant.
Competitive Risk. The viability of the most at-risk places and tourism industries is at stake if they do not prepare for impending climate change impacts. However, the long timeframe of change (50-100 years) may give the industry time to adapt. These places/industries should prepare short- and long-term mitigation and adaptation plans. Also, some places are expected to benefit from climate change and can take advantage of those opportunities. For example, more U.S. cities are expected to become attractive destinations during the winter months (Scott 2004).
 See Physical Exposure Risk Dimension in Chapter 3.
 See Physical Exposure Risk Dimension in Chapter 3 and the Healthcare Industry in this chapter.