The vulnerability of destinations to climate change: A comparative analysis of contextual socio-political factors

Raquel Santos-Lacueva, Eduard Ariza, Francesc Romagosa, Òscar Saladié

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

2 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Climate change affects tourism and tourism affects climate change. Thus, both adaptation and mitigation strategies are needed to guarantee the sustainability of destinations. As well as the direct impacts of climate change, the effectiveness of these strategies determines the vulnerability of destinations. This paper compares the Riviera Maya (Mexican Caribbean) and Alt Maresme (Spanish Mediterranean) to identify the contextual socio-political factors that influence the vulnerability of destinations to climate change. Thirty-six semi-structured interviews were conducted with key stakeholders from tourism and the environment, public organizations, NGOs, and different levels of the public administration at both destinations. This research focuses on the perception of risk and agenda setting, the stakeholders’ involvement and the limitations of public action. The results show that awareness is greater, climate change is more important to the tourism agenda and private organizations are more involved in the Riviera Maya than in Alt Maresme. Five socio-political aspects are identified and discussed to explain the results: the destination’s evolution; the characteristics and evolution of tourism policy; extreme meteorological events as breaking points for policies; the socioeconomic context and the dependence on tourism; and the characteristics of the tourism offer, such as the dependence on natural resources and seasonality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1217-1238
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2019


  • Alt Maresme
  • Climate change
  • policy
  • Riviera Maya
  • stakeholders
  • vulnerability

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