Management priorities from tourists’ perspectives and beach quality assessment as tools to support sustainable coastal tourism
Lukoseviciute, G., Panagopoulos, T. (2021)
Recently coastal tourism has increased dashingly; however, it has negatively affected environmental, social and cultural sustainability. Algarve is the most visited tourist attraction in Portugal with a large number of beautiful beaches. Due to negative tourism impacts and climate change, coastal tourism management tools need to be assessed and implemented. Most beach areas have the dual mandate of conserving natural resources and providing opportunities for recreation and tourism. This paper aims to develop a methodology for sustainable beach management. An urban, rural, resort and remote beach type were chosen as case studies. The proposed methodology for assessing beach quality and effective beach management consisted of three parts: initially, SWOT analysis was performed, where overcrowding, coastal urbanization, ecosystem degradation and coastal erosion due to sea level rising emerged as main future threats. Beach quality evaluation was assessed using the Bath Area Registration and Evaluation (BARE) method. Face-to-face interviews were conducted to get the beach visitor’s opinions. An Importance–performance (I–P) analysis has been applied to identify the service quality gap and the most appropriate actions to improve beach management. For most of the beach attributes, satisfaction exceeded importance, and hence no management attention was needed. Exceptions were the condition of litter facilities, public toilets, showers and associated footpaths, the use of renewable energy, and the presence of litter in sand and vegetation health. For these, satisfaction was lower than importance, suggesting management attention is needed. The combined methodology allowed to identify beach management priorities resulting in enhanced visitors’ experiences and protecting the natural environment.
Keywords: Beach management; Importance-performance analysis; User perception; Service quality; Coastal tourism
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