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Europeans continue to migrate to the sweltering Mediterranean. However, extreme weather could diminish future bookings.

It’s possible that Spain and Italy will remain two of Europe’s most popular vacation spots, but scorching temperatures in the south have already begun to influence vacationers’ decisions.

The number of Europeans who intend to go to Mediterranean regions this summer and autumn has declined by 10% year-over-year, as reported by the European go Commission, an association of European tourism organisations located in Brussels.

The ETC stated in a statement this month that after polling over 6,000 people, the most popular countries to visit were still Spain, Italy, France, Croatia, and Greece, but other countries had seen a “surge in popularity,” such as the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Ireland, and Denmark.

The reason for this, according to the group, is that tourists are looking for places with less people and warmer weather.

Last summer’s record-breaking heat wave was followed by another scorcher this summer. If tourists start flocking to more temperate destinations in the years ahead, that might spell trouble for the economies of the Mediterranean states.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the tourism industry accounted for almost 10% of Italy’s economy in 2016 and 18.5% of Greece’s.

According to the ETC poll, 7 percent of respondents cited the risk of harsh weather during their European holiday as their greatest concern, reiterating the importance Europeans continue to place on pleasant weather when deciding where to vacation.

In light of the heat waves that have been plaguing continental Europe this month, a representative for the travel data business ForwardKeys stated that “there has been a shift in preference towards cooler and more northern destinations” among British tourists.

British tourists, “aware of heat waves for the first time,” are scrambling to find cooler climates at the last minute this summer, according to a company representative.

According to ForwardKeys senior researcher Olivier Ponti, at the beginning of July, 58% of all flight searches in the United Kingdom were for tickets to southern Europe during the prime holiday months of July and August, down from 62% the previous month. Meanwhile, interest in travelling to northern Europe via the web rose by 3%, reaching 10%.

The heat epidemic has ‘only just begun’

After days of oppressive heat, Italy, Spain, and Greece received a statement from the European Space Agency last week saying that the heat wave had “only just begun.”

According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the land surface temperature (how hot the ground was to the touch) on Tuesday reached 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) in Rome, 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in Nicosia, Cyprus, and the city of Catania on Sicily, Italy.

Heat waves like this one are expected to become more common and severe as climate change takes hold, the ESA said in a statement.

British airline easyJet (ESYJY) CEO Johan Lundgren told reporters on Thursday that the heat wave had not discouraged travellers from visiting their traditional vacation spots, but that the company could change its routes in the future if necessary.

Hotspots for tourists are making changes in preparation for the heat.

The Acropolis and other archaeological sites in Greece will be closed to the public from midday to 5:30 p.m. local time until at least Sunday, Greek authorities announced on Thursday. The meteorological service of Greece has issued a warning that temperatures will continue to rise this week, with some regions of the country reaching 44 degrees Celsius (111 Fahrenheit) by the weekend.

A British tourist fainted in front of the Colosseum on Tuesday, and several others have collapsed this week in Rome due to heat stroke, according to Rome’s chief of civil protection, Giuseppe Napolitano. A command post has been set up in the city to ensure that visitors waiting in line for attractions have access to beverages, misting stations, and, if available, shade.

Many Britons continue to visit southern Europe.

Despite the skyrocketing temperatures, many tourists continue to flock to the countries in southern Europe.

Thomas Cook, a British travel agency, said they had not noticed “any difference whatsoever” in customer demand for trips to Mediterranean countries.

Customers are booking their vacations across the Mediterranean with the same vigour as they did at the beginning of the year, the spokesperson said.

British Travel Agents Association (ABTA) spokesman Sean Tipton said that his organization’s members had seen “zero evidence of cancellations,” and that people were eager to go on the vacations they had booked in advance.

Spain, Greece, and Turkey remain “by far the most popular [destinations],” he said, adding that this has not “changed at all.”

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