Uses and Preferences of Visitors to Coastal Wetlands in Tourism Destinations (Costa Brava, Spain)
The local development policies of coastal tourism destinations are frequently focused on popular resources, such as beaches, and tend to overlook coastal wetlands, which are often located in the interstitial spaces of urbanistic transformations caused by mass tourism and considered untended marginal sites. This article investigates the uses and preferences of visitors to these wetlands with the goal of increasing cultural sustainability, improving conservation and strengthening management policies. Although the results show that almost all the current uses of coastal wetlands are recreational (such as cycling, running and walking), visitors have indicated that the positive aspects of these sites are related to their landscape quality and degree of naturalness. The results also suggest that although repeat visitors are aware of wetlands’ value, increasing the consciousness of local inhabitants regarding their value is important for prioritising local policies designed to promote the conservation of wetlands located at coastal tourism destinations. Finally, our study results indicate that improving cultural sustainability is compatible with improving the ecological status of coastal wetlands.
KeywordsWetlands tourism Cultural sustainability Ecosystem services Coastal destinations Costa Brava
The authors are pleased to mention their collaboration with Maria Blanco in the survey collection. This article is part of the project “Analysis of the trends and resilience strategies in use and water consumption in tourist areas. The case of Costa Brava” [number CSO2010-17488], which is funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Spain). The Ministry of Education, Science and Sports (Spain) funds the PhD student grant to the first author [number FPU13/00663].
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