Preferences and Priorities of Recreational Beach Users in Wales, UK

Robert Morgan

Abstract


Beach user preferences and priorities for 50 beach aspects were investigated via surveys at 23 beaches in Wales, UK. Results from 859 questionnaires showed that landscape/scenery was the most important single factor (11.3% of total), followed by bathing safety (8.3%) and a variety of factors associated with beach environmental quality such as bathing water quality, absence of sewage debris, litter and unpleasant odours. Various aspects concerning beach facilities were generally allotted a lower priority. Also, preference for the presence of many facilities could not be assumed, as in many cases significant proportions of beach users indicated that specific facilities should not be provided or should be limited in extent. There were many observed differences in beach user preferences and priorities according to the type of beach in terms of commercialisation, the user preferred to visit. A contrast was suggested between those wishing to enjoy the "natural characteristics" of a beach (e.g. scenery, absence of pollution in various guises, fauna), and others who preferred traditional "beach resort" qualities (hot, sunny weather, safe bathing, convenient facilities and ease of access). Such studies have potential value for beach management, planning and tourism promotion. More detailed work could provide a valuable resource for coastal management policy decisions on a local and regional basis, especially if combined with studies of other stakeholders such as residents, business owners, water sports groups and conservation bodies.


Keywords


Beach users; preferences; priorities; coastal management; questionnaire surveys; perception; Welsh coast; tourism.

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