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Europe Travel: The Current “Pizza Oven” Heatwave Ignites Travel Concerns

Current heatwaves across Europe are compelling visitors to seek water wherever they can find it, such as at the Piazza del Popolo fountain in Rome.

Parts of Europe are experiencing their second heatwave in two weeks, but rather than being a disastrous inconvenience for travellers, the fact that some Britons have rushed to Europe in search of this heat demonstrates how misunderstood the dangers are and how this heat will alter the future of travel.

The Name of This Heatwave Is Charon.

According to the Red Cross, Europe is a hotspot for heatwaves, with temperatures rising quicker than the global average. This week’s heatwave across Europe is named Charon, after the ferryman from Greek mythology who transported spirits to the underworld.

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The heatwaves occur at a time of peak travel—more planes are anticipated in Europe’s skies than in 2019 (considered the pre-pandemic benchmark), with many of these travellers hailing from Europe and the United States—and many of these travellers are expected to be affected. Since June 21, Sprout Social has observed a 4000% increase in tweets about summer travel, with the majority of tweets about European travel coming from Americans.

Where Are These Hotspots in Europe?

This week, global temperatures broke records, with China and the United States (Death Valley, California) reaching 52 degrees Celsius. Similarly, hot air from Africa is transforming European countries (many in the south) into a gigantic pizza oven, according to Hannah Cloke, a climate scientist and professor at the University of Reading.

Where are the centres, then? Although the straightforward answer may be “everywhere,” the following is currently occurring in several regions of Europe:

On Wednesday, July 19, the Emergency Response Coordination Centre of the European Union issued a red alert warning for Italy, eastern Croatia, southern Spain, southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro.

In Greece, firefighters from across Europe are combating a particularly large blaze 50 kilometres from the Acropolis in Athens, which is a cause for concern given that the site receives 17,000 visitors per day, which is 70% more than last summer. The fire in the Dervenochoria region continues to expand south, and tens of thousands of locals and visitors were evacuated from the seaside resort of Mandra.

The barometer in Nimes has already surpassed 40 degrees Celsius multiple times this week. In nine French departments, particularly in the south, record temperatures have been reported and an alert has been issued.

Read also: Europe Travel Hits Peak Heat: Tips To Survive Charon’s Heatwave

Due solely to the effects of the intense weather, the number of patients visiting Rome’s emergency rooms increased by 20%.
Wildfires prompted evacuations on the Swiss island of La Palma, while Catalonia, Valencia, Andalucia, and Mallorca were all under a heat advisory.

There are many tips that travellers can use to mitigate the effects of the heat, such as booking excursions in advance (many visits to Europe’s most popular tourist destinations are being timed to avoid overcrowding in the extreme heat) and visiting at appropriate times, such as before 11 a.m.

Already, There Are Concerns About Next Summer.

Officials preparing for the Olympic Games in Paris next summer are concerned about the extreme temperatures and how they can possibly prepare for them, given that more than one million more visitors are expected than usual. According to Sprout Social, there is already a trend on Twitter for conversations about summer 2024 travel under the hashtag #UK/Europe Next Summer regarding forthcoming events and trips.

Chris Hilson, director of the Centre for Climate and Justice at the University of Reading, stated in a CNN article that these climate catastrophes can sometimes appear to be nothing more than an inconvenience to summer vacations. The reality, however, is that this is only the beginning and will have a significant impact on holidays and everyday life in the future.

In addition to the need to combat global warming at the national level, neighbourhoods need solutions to deal with extreme heat, such as shading and ventilation options, to survive.

This week, The Guardian published drone footage that it referred to as a “hellish glimpse into the future” and showed the destruction a fire had caused in Greece. Some tourists might not fully comprehend this reality; British tour operators reported an increase in sun-seeking Britons booking trips to EU nations after hearing about the heatwaves in Europe.

Sean Tipton, a spokesman for Abta, the travel trade association, appropriately reprimanded these tourists and advised them that they would be better off if they followed the custom of leaving European beaches deserted during the midday heat wave.

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