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Data Shows How Heat Waves Impact Tourism In Mexico, U.S. and Europe

American and European studies show how intensive temperatures are becoming an important factor when choosing a vacation getaway.

Summertime holidays often bring to mind pictures of tropical or Mediterranean beaches and sun-soaked cities and towns. 

But travel trends are changing as global temperatures climb to record highs. Meanwhile, the tourism infrastructure doesn’t seem to be ready for the challenge.

Extreme heat waves and heat domes in Mexico, Central America, Europe and parts of the U.S. South have left millions in sweltering temperatures, strained energy grids, blackouts, a lack of water, health issues and, in extreme cases, even death.

Let’s explore how this environmental issue is impacting multiple countries across continents and what travelers are doing to adapt.

Mexico Currently Experiencing The Worst Heat Wave In 50 Years

With temperatures higher than 45°C (113°F), Mexico is being impacted by the worst heat waves seen in more than 5 decades, reported Juan Vázquez Montalvo, weather forecaster at the Autonomous University of Yucatan.

According to the Health Secretary, 61 people have died due to high temperatures and another 390 have been rushed to the hospital for the same reasons.

Wildlife is also paying a price. More than 130 howler monkeys have passed away and dozens have died at birth in the southeast jungles and northern areas due to abnormal temperatures. 

The third heat wave of the season began on May 20 and should end on June 5, breaking all records set in CDMX and other states, the National Weather Service reported.

There’s no place to hide. This phenomenon is happening across most of the Mexican territory, with 46 locations breaking all-time temperature records. A fourth heat wave is expected soon.

U.S., Central America & the Caribbean Expecting Heat Wave This Week

States like Texas, Florida, California, Arizona and Nevada will be roasted by a severe heat dome this week. High temperatures are expected to break maximum records in multiple locations.

According to experts, “southerly winds from the tropics transported warm, moist air northward from the equator, which contributed to the unusually warm conditions,” said Shawn Bhatti, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

Some of the most affected locations include Sacramento, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. The last two are set to break their earliest temperatures on record on Thursday with 111°F in both cities.

The Death Valley, the hottest and driest US natural park, could record its earliest temperature in recorded history on Thursday (51.6°C /125°F), say experts.

Excessive heat is expected in California with the arrival of a heat dome.

For their part, Guatemala, Belize, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti and Honduras are also undergoing abnormally high temperatures.

Data From 2023 Show How High Temperatures Negatively Impacted Tourism in Spain 

Despite high temperatures Spain is not currently experiencing a “technical” heat wave, however, concerning data has been revealed regarding the negative correlation between increasing temperatures and tourism growth.

Using anonymized data, CaixaBank found a decrease in tourism expenditure in cities where temperatures increased the most between 2029 and 2023. It’s worth noting that 2023 was the hottest year ever recorded in the world.

According to the report, tourists are spending up to 10 percent more in places where temperatures go below 17°C/62°F (mostly in the country’s north) than in places where the temperature goes above 23°C/73°F (mostly in the country’s south).

These and other data show that Spain is set to become the most severely affected destination in Europe due to high temperatures in the years to come.

Interested in learning how current and future heat waves are reshaping American travel trends, Passport Photo Online polled 1,004 Americans (50.6% male; 48.7% female; and 0.7% other) to understand what may be changing. Here are their major takeaways:

  • First and foremost, almost 94% of travelers have observed an increase in heat waves in the last few years.
  • More than 77% of Americans will consider heat waves when making travel plans in the near future.
  • The main aspects Americans will take into account when traveling during heat waves include: changing daily schedules (27.15%); choosing accommodations with better cooling devices (26.56%); and changing transportation methods (25.74%).
  • 57% of holidaymakers would purchase travel insurance that specifically covers disruptions from heat waves.
  • Nearly 48% of travelers have experienced dehydration or exhaustion during heat waves.

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