The future of Swiss alpine winter tourism must be reassessed in view of global climate change in order to determine possible strategies for overall development of mountain regions. At present, 85% of all Swiss ski areas still have sufficient snow cover. A 300-m rise of the snow line, however, would reduce this to about 63%. As a consequence, skiers will expect more artificial snow, go on winter holidays less often, and concentrate on ski areas at higher altitudes. On the supply side, climate change will be used to justify increased use of artificial snow and advances into areas above 3000 m. This raises a variety of new problems, both economic and ecological. Developments in the Swiss snow industry indicate the rise of 2 distinct classes of tourist resorts. Climate change may increase economic pressure in terms of capital concentration and division into “winners” and “losers.” Although global climate change certainly has an influence on tourism, it is not the only factor that determines the conditions of tourism.
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