Differences in perception and reaction of tourist groups to beach marine debris that can influence a loss of tourism revenue in coastal areas

Allan Paul Krelling, Allan Thomas Williams , Alexander Turra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Marine debris is the most conspicuous pollutant that makes beaches aesthetically unappealing to users. The perceptions and reactions of beach users to stranded litter were compared between second-home owners and users (SHOU) and non-recurrent tourists (T). A questionnaire was applied to obtain socio-economic characteristics; assessment of the overall beach quality and perception of beach litter pollution (perception); hypothetical scenarios of marine litter pollution and deterrence (reaction); and potential alternative destinations in the case of deterrence (economic effect). Questionnaires (n = 319) were applied at two Brazilian subtropical beaches, with different physiographical settings (Pontal do Sul, PS, estuarine beach; Ipanema, I, open-ocean beach). Beach users’ groups differed regarding daily expenses (T > SHOU), period of permanence per trip (SHOU > T) and trip frequency (SHOU > T). The open-ocean beach (I) was rated the worst regarding overall beach quality. Marine debris generation was mainly attributed to local “beach users”, in the open-ocean beach (I). “Marine” (or non-local) sources were four times more frequently cited in the estuarine beach (PS). Perception on actual litter pollution and litter deterrence scenarios, did not vary between beaches or groups. More than 85% of beachgoers would avoid a beach visit if a worst scenario (> 15items/m2) occurred and most users would choose a neighboring state beach destination. Stranded litter may potentially reduce local tourism income by 39.1%, representing losses of up to US$ 8.5 million per year. These figures are proxies to support the trade-off local authority's make between investments to prevent/remove beach litter and the potential reduction in income from a tourist destination change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-99
Number of pages13
JournalMarine Policy
Volume85
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017

Keywords

  • Economic effects
  • Marine debris
  • Public perception
  • Second home
  • Tourism

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