Tourist perceptions of environmental degradation caused by nature-based tourism activities in a coastal environment were determined in the Central Coast Region of Western Australia. Structured surveys were administered to 702 visitors over two peak seasons. Visitors were required to indicate their perceptions on a Likert-type scale. Activities assessed were swimming, boating, fishing, diving and snorkelling, (wind)surfing, sandboarding, four-wheel driving, (bush)walking, camping, horseriding and sightseeing. Tourists had significantly variable demographic characteristics over two seasons and participated in different activities. However, perception of environmental degradation of individual activities did not vary significantly between seasons, except for fishing, four-wheel driving and sandboarding. The age, origin and level of education of visitors had more effect on perceptions than gender or income group. Participation in an activity affected perceptions only for those who went fishing, sandboarding, four-wheel driving and sightseeing. Visitor perceptions were comparable to ‘real’ impacts documented in the recreation ecology literature. The results of this research indicate a need for improved visitor education and interpretation facilities.
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The research presented here formed part of a doctoral research project of the author in the Department of Geography at The University of Western Australia. I thank visitors participating in the survey and the Eliot family for their help with data entry. The assistance of Renae Stenhouse, Lucy McNicol, and Lyal Harris during fieldwork is much appreciated. I wish to thank my supervisor Ian Eliot and the reviewers of the paper for their comments.
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Priskin, J. Tourist Perceptions of Degradation Caused by Coastal Nature-Based Recreation . Environmental Management 32, 189–204 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-002-2916-z