Data challenges and solutions in the calculation of Tourism Climate Index (TCI) scores in South Africa

Jennifer M. Fichett, Gijsbert Hoogendoorn, Dean Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Climatic indices are a valuable yardstick for comparing regions of differing climate regimes. This is particularly useful for economic sectors that are heavily climate-reliant. The selection of a vacation destination by tourists is strongly influenced by the climate. Climate influences the choice of destination, the timing of vacations and the success of outdoor attractions. The Tourism Climatic Index (TCI) is a widely adopted measure of the climatic suitability for tourism of a particular destination. The climatic data required for the calculation of climatic suitability using this index, however, provide limitations for its adoption in much of the African continent, for which regular measurement of the complete set of variables does not occur. South Africa is one such example, which although supporting a large network of meteorological stations, has very few recording sunshine hours. This paper therefore proposes a mathematical adaptation of the index to facilitate the calculation of TCI scores for destinations. TCI scores produced using this mathematical adaptation for stations that do have sunshine hour measurements are compared with the scores using the standard TCI equation, and demonstrate suitability of this approach. Such adaptations to the model should facilitate a more widespread use of TCI scores in the global South.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-370
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Climate
  • South Africa
  • Sunshine hours
  • Tourism
  • Tourism Climate Index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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