Assessing preferences of beach users for certain aspects of weather and ocean conditions: case studies from Australia

Abstract

Three well-known Australian beaches, Surfers Paradise Beach (Gold Coast), Narrowneck Beach (Gold Coast) and Bondi Beach (Sydney), were selected for analysis of beach user preferences for certain weather and ocean conditions. Regression methods were used to determine how the numbers of visitors to these beaches are affected by these conditions. Actual visitor numbers were counted at three times during the day over several months at each beach with the aid of web cameras. The corresponding weather and ocean conditions were obtained from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and local government agencies. Weekly and seasonal factors were also considered. The conditions preferred by beach users, as found in this study, are: no precipitation, higher temperatures, light-to-moderate wind speed (less than 30 km/h) and low wave height (up to 1.25 m). This study, the first to provide an analysis of beach user preferences for both weather and ocean conditions, shows that ocean conditions play a significant role in explaining the demand for beach recreation in Australia. It is therefore necessary for tourism management authorities or local governments to provide accurate and timely weather and ocean information to local, domestic and international beach users.

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Notes

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    In this paper, to make Eq. (1) valid, we assume that one beach does not draw visitors away from another.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Professor Paulo Augusto Nunes and Professor Andreas Matzarakis for suggestions and useful guidance, Dr Peter McIntyre for editorial assistance, Professor Satish Chand for supervision, Mr Chris Lane from CoastalCOMS for data support and two anonymous referees for helpful comments and suggestions. F.Z. is grateful for financial assistance from the Chinese Scholarship Council and The University of New South Wales. This is a publication of the Sino-Australian Research Centre for Coastal Management, paper number 9.

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Correspondence to Fan Zhang.

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Zhang, F., Wang, X.H. Assessing preferences of beach users for certain aspects of weather and ocean conditions: case studies from Australia. Int J Biometeorol 57, 337–347 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-012-0556-4

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Keywords

  • Beach-user preferences
  • Weather conditions
  • Ocean conditions
  • Tourism climatology
  • Australia