Margot Hill, 2007

Master's Thesis, Imperial College London, UK

The Alps will experience some of the most pronounced effects of climate change due to a combination of their latitudinal positioning, altitude and unique eco-systems, placing socioeconomic stresses on alpine communities, particularly those that rely on seasonal tourism. How stakeholders need to respond to climate change within the Alps has been well documented in the academic literature, with studies focussing on measures to minimise damage on winter ski tourism and from increased natural hazards. During the winter of 2006/2007 there was increasing academic and media attention on the ability of mountain areas to maintain successful winter tourism. Studies into tourism adaptation within the Swiss Alps have so far focussed on the adaptation options and needs of different stakeholders. These concepts of adaptation measures were tested on stakeholders from the private and public sector within two case study areas within the Swiss Alps, both part of the communes of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jungfrau Aletsch Bietschorn. The qualitative methodology aimed to better ascertain the barriers to adaptation that local communities faced.