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Tourism Coastal And Resort Tourism Notes

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COASTAL AND RESORT TOURISM

Introduction

The relationship between coastal areas and tourism is as old as tourism itself. Early tourists favoured seaside locations and made journeys to fashionable resorts to bathe in sea water to take advantage of its alleged curative powers. This was a major departure in the 18th century from a time when the sea and coast were revered as places and even feared.

This is illustrated by Leneck and Bosker (1999) who state that "the beach, historically speaking, is a recent phenomenon. In fact it took hundreds of years for the seashore to be colonised as the pre-eminent site for human recreation". The coast continues to be one of the most important environments for tourism in contemporary times building on its established heritage.

As Hall and Page (2006) observe "the coastal environment is a magnet for tourists although its role in leisure activities has changed in time and space, as coastal destinations have developed, waned, been reimaged and redeveloped in the 20th century. The coastal environment is a complex system which is utilised by the recreationist for day trips, while juxtaposed to these visits are those made by the domestic and international tourist".

Today, for some regions, coastal tourism is the main type of tourism activity and is epitomised by the "3 S's" - sun, sea and sand. The beaches of the Mediterranean remain the most popular destination for European tourists, accounting for around 30% of all tourist arrivals in Europe, although other regions of the world have highly developed forms of coastal tourism.

Arguably the coast remains the most dominant image of holiday brochures and travel programmes worldwide, epitomised by the romantic images of the South Pacific islands with their golden beaches and palm trees in the background. In the EU alone there is 90,643 km of coastline which is a valuable resource for tourism with 12,991 km in Greece, 11,930 km in Sweden and 17,457 km in the UK.

Coastal areas are usually defined as those regions influenced by the proximity of the sea. However, other terms are in frequent use which have more specific meanings; o o

The coastal strip is a narrow piece of land up to 1 km which borders the sea

o

The coastline refers to the boundary between the land and the sea

The coastal zone, a term which is often used in a management context, includes land and sea up to a width of 50 km - this takes in the coastal area through to the open sea.

Other definitions to consider are coastal tourism and marine tourism;

o

Coastal tourism - usually refers to the type of tourism which takes place at the seaside. So resorts figure highly here.

o

Marine tourism - usually denotes activity that takes place in the water such as scuba diving, sailing and jet skiing (Orams 1998).

Tourism at the coast

The coastal zone is of great environmental and economic significance (Boissevain &
Slewyn 2004 & Bramwell 2004). The meeting of land and sea creates biologically and geologically diverse environments as well as attractive and unique landscapes which may form the basis for tourism. The surface of the earth is made up of 70%
ocean. Coastal tourism is growing at a faster rate than most other forms of tourism and this growth presents special management challenges as the EU (2005) coastal zone management report highlights, where 20% of the coastline is suffering from severe impacts due to erosion.

However coastal areas across the globe face intense pressures not just from tourism. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (1993) cite the main pressures as; o

Rapid urbanisation and settlements

o

Pollution

o

Tourism development

o

Haphazard development

This led the EU (2005) to highlight the importance of Strategic Environmental Assessment so that coastal issues are often considered more fully in planning decisions, given the erosion problems.

Population is often concentrated in coastal areas (Agarwal & Shaw 2007). At a global scale coastal zones account for 15% of the earth's surface but contain around 60%
of the world's population and around 86% of such environments are suffering from unsustainable use in Europe in the USA, the average population density of coastal counties is five times greater than that of non-coastal counties.

California has a large network of beaches starching along 264 miles and serving a resident population of 35 million with an additional visitor population. The top three state beaches in 2003 were Santa Monica (7.8 million visits), Lighthouse Fields (7.3 million visits) and Dockweiler (3.8 million visits) which generate $75.4 million in travel and tourism expenditure for the Californian economy supporting up to 1 million jobs and generate a further $4.8 million in tax revenue.

In New Zealand, Japan and the UK no one lives more than two hours travelling distance from the sea and 17 million people live within Italy's coastal zone. In Denmark 70% of the population lives in coastal zones, with 51% in Ireland, 44% in Portugal and 50% in Sweden.

In the UK the 41 largest coastal towns, each with a tourism industry stretching back over 100 years, has a resident population of over 2.1 million and employs over 112,000 people. These towns employ much larger proportions of the labour force in tourism (e.g. Blackpool 18%, Torbay 18.8% and Scarborough 18%) (House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee 2007).

Coastal populations in retirement resorts are growing disproportionately as the population ages in the coastal resorts of the south of England which are popular migration destinations for retirees, a trend being mirrored in many other developed countries. Increasing population usually results in pressure for development in coastal areas. People who may have spent their annual holidays in a certain resort may choose to retire to that place, creating a need for more housing.

More significantly resort tourism requires infrastructure in order to support the industry and this results in construction of new buildings, placing pressure on green field sites.

The economic significance of marine related industry must not be forgotten. Fishing is an important commercial element in many regions such as Canada and Scandinavia but raises questions over exploitation and indirect effects on marine ecology. The main issue raised by inadequate controls over coastal management is the international scale of the problems - pollution is a transnational issue and one country cannot alleviate the problem alone.

The European Environment Agency (1998) for instance notes that water quality, fresh water supply, fisheries, tourism, pollution and habitat deterioration transcend political boundaries and require strategic planning and the EU has been leading initiatives on bathing water quality since 1976. Mismanagement of these issues results in what is known as the "tragedy of the commons".

The attraction of the coast

A variety of factors combine to form the attraction of the coast for tourism and recreation. These may be summarised as follows; o

Natural - the landscape of cliffs, beaches, open sea, estuaries and the sky

o

Structural - the townscape, architecture and tourism related features (piers, promenades, gardens and lighthouses)

o

Psychological - the meanings and values attached to the natural and built environments which gives a sense of place

Visitors to a coastal are or resort will be attracted by the combined elements contributing to the sense of place and the imagery associated with the area. They will be keen to seek out desired experiences from the holiday - which might range from the need to escape urban life (the unspoilt coastline), such as holidays to Bonaire, the Caribbean, to the need to integrate with others in a social setting (the resort), typified by clubbing holidays to San Antonio, Ibiza.

The evolution of coastal tourism

The coast has received much attention in the tourism literature and researchers have studied different facets of coastal tourism including; o

o

The evolution of resorts

o

Tourist travel to the beach and tourist behaviour at the beach

o

The physical and environmental aspects of coastlines as resources to be managed for tourism

o

The historical dimension, including sociological analyses by Leneck and Bosker (1999) and the construction of place identities (Andrews & Kearns 2005)

Models of resort development

Thus it is clear that this subject has been studied for many years. As Hall and Page (2006) note "the beach developed as the activity space for tourism with distinct cultural and social form emerging in relation to fashions, tastes and innovations in resort form. The development of piers, jetties and promenades as formal spaces for organised recreational and tourism activities led to new ways of experiencing the sea. The coastal environment, resort and the each have been an enduring resource for tourism and recreation since the 1750's in Western consciousness with its meaning, value to society and role in leisure time remaining a significant activity space". Yet seeking to understand how this evolution has occurred and generated resort development has led several researchers to seek to explain the essential features of coastal resort development.

Coastal resort development

Miossec's model of tourism development (1976) illustrates the temporal and spatial growth of a tourist region and Opperman (1993) refined this in a developing world context. Smith (1991, 1992) applied this model to Pattaya in Thailand and developed a tentative beach resort model where development is observed from no development to full resort development.

Other studies have examined the geography of resort development based upon the initial ideas of Turner and Ash (1975) who viewed new resort development as a

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