Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban Studies


Planning and Urban Studies

Major Professor

Bethany M. Stich

Second Advisor

Bridget M. Bordelon

Third Advisor

Monica Farris


Climate change is an influencing phenomenon in the present global perspective, having a wide range of impacts at different levels within society and the global tourism industry. Climate change has progressively affected coastal areas more vulnerable to intense hydrodynamic and atmospheric events due to their proximity to water. The primary process to be held responsible is eustatic sea-level rise due to anthropogenic (human-induced) and morphological (natural) factors over time. While the exact magnitude of global sea-level rise and regional variability remains uncertain, sea-level rise is considered one of the most certain consequences of anthropogenic climate change in the coastal regions that rely on tourism activities. Tourism has a more significant environmental impact on coastal areas than non-coastal areas due to its proximity to water and cruise line activities. This research presents a case study on Venice. In this emblematic iconic city, the two most pressing issues are flooding due to sea-level rise and locals fleeing the city due to the overtourism phenomena. The research uses a mixed methods approach to examine changes adopted to manage climate change stressors and overtourism activities in Venice to ensure the city’s habitability by 2100. The research uses the conceptual framework between environmental impact and urban tourism as a reference and develops a framework that includes socio-cultural and economic impacts at the destination level. In addition to its proximity to water, Venice is characterized by a strong economic dependence on the tourism and hospitality industry, leading the research to examine how the industry (alongside climate patterns) affects a UNESCO world heritage site’s historical heritage and cultural preservation over the past 20 years, and what actions are required to protect Venice in the future.

This study contributes to the tourism and climate change body of knowledge by advancing a further step toward understanding experts’ and tourism stakeholders’ responses to the safeguarding of Venice in a scenario in which a destination’s most appealing, cultural, historical, and natural resources are impacted by climate change.


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