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Uses and Preferences of Visitors to Coastal Wetlands in Tourism Destinations (Costa Brava, Spain)

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgements

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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Correspondence to Josep Pueyo-Ros.

Appendix 1: Coding process

Appendix 1: Coding process

Question: Why do you visit this site?

Code Subcode Answer
Aesthetical Nature To walk and watch birds
To visit a natural site
Interested in nature
To breath fresh air
To watch birds
Nature
To visit natural areas and swamps
Swamps
Landscape Landscape
It is beautiful to walk
Landscape
To watch a river
Photographic report
To enjoy landscape
To know surroundings To walking
Landscape
Landscape
Landscape
To enjoy landscape
It is very beautiful to walk
To take pictures
To enjoy landscape
To visit the site
Recreational Bicycle Bicycle
Bicycle
Bicycle
Bicycle
Bicycle touring
Burricleta (electric bike)
Bicycle touring
Bicycle
Bicycle
Bicycle
To walking To walk for health
To walk
To walk
To do a tour
To walk
To walk
To walk
To walk quiets
To do a tour
To walk
To walk
To walk
To walk
To walk
To walk
To walk
To walk
To walk
To walk
To walk
To walk
To walk
To walk and do sport
To walk
To walk
To walk
To walk
To walk
To walk
To walk and the beach
To walk
To walk
To walk
To walk
To do a tour
To walk
Running To run
Sport
To run
Sport
To run and do sport
To do sport
To do fitness
To do sport
To do sport
To do sport
Dog To take the dog for a walk
To take the dog for a walk
To take the dog for a walk
To take the dog for a walk
To take the dog for a walk
Dog
To take the dog for a walk
Dogs
To take the dog for a walk
To take the dog for a walk and go out
To take the dog for a walk
To take the dog for a walk
To take the dog for a walk
Without Others By chance, to sleep
By the way to home
Diving
By job
We are coming from shopping
To control mosquitos
To work
Beach To take the dog to beach
To take the dog to beach
Beach
Beach
To go to beach
Beach
Beach
Beach
Beach
Because the beach is dog-friendly
To the beach
Because the beach is dog-friendly
Because the beach is dog-friendly
The beach is dog-friendly
To go to beach
Because the beach is dog-friendly
Because the beach is dog-friendly
Beach
It is close to l’Estartit and is a quiet beach
Beach and take the dog for a walk
To go to beach and bird-watching
Beach
Beach
Beach
Beach
Beach
Beach
Because the beach is dog-friendly
Beach
Beach
Beach
This beach is close
To spend the day
To take my partner
Beach
To “investigate” new beach and natural areas
Quietude Quietude Calm
Calm
To walk alone and quiet
Calm
Quiet
To rest

Which aspects of this site are negative?

External Climate Too much hot
Too arid
Little beach Little beach
Wildlife Wildlife Mosquito
Mosquito
Mosquito
Mosquito
Mosquito
Gull
Too many gulls
Poor_management Accessibility No sign posts to arrive
Little signalized to arrive
Stones in paths
Bad access for elderly
Not conditioned for tourists
No advices about wildlife refugee
They are removing promenade
Paths
Unfinished promenade
Arrival path is neglected
Dirty Water is dirty
It is not too much clean
No cleanliness
Dirty
So dirty because of the dogs
Unkempt and dirty
Unkempt
Litter
No trash bins
Unkempt
Dirty
Litter
Bad conditioned
Dirty and contamination
Dirty
Little cleanliness
Dog excrements
Dog excrements
Dog excrements
It is not too much clean
It is so dirty
Dirty
Dirty because of peasants
Equipment No drinking fountains
Uncared sign posts in paths
Little signalized routes
Uncared sign post in paths
It lacks information, sign posts and trash bins
Uncared Neglected by urbanization
Uncared, broken path
Bad cared
Broken
Too much canes, dirty, butts
Uncared promenade
Neglected, uncared
Uncared, broken path
Park car and promenade are ruined
Uncared
Observation point
Few people There are few people
Restrictions There are too many restrictions
Nothing No answer Nothing
Nothing
Nothing, all is right
Blank (×36)
Visual_impact Electric towers Light towers
Electricity cable
Electric towers
Electric towers
Urbanization Built part
Neglected urbanization
Urbanized segments
Promenade should be removed
Promenade and ruins
Urbanizations in horizon
Urbanization is unpleasant
Urbanized area
Urbanization
Urbanization
Area cut up by urbanization
Close urbanizations
Buildings
Buildings
Urban impact
Urbanizations
Golf courts
Too many buildings
Accessing streets
Human_presence Anthrophonies Too many people are doing noise
Noise from cars
Contamination Contamination from rice crops
Cars Cars
Too many cars
Too many parked cars
There are too many cars and too fast
Too many cars and trucks
To many cars
Crowded Too many people and cars
Too many people
Too many bikes and people
Uses Caravans
People don’t respect protected areas

Which aspects of this site are positive?

Quietude Quietude Nature and calm
Silence
Calm
Tranquility
No noise, green
Calm
Tranquility
Calm
Solitude
Tranquility
Tranquility, nature
So quiet
Quiet, few people
Quiet
Calm
Quiet
No buildings, no crowded
Quiet when there aren’t people
Beach and silence
Tranquillity
Calm
Single_element Fauna A lot of animals
Diversity of birds, rabbits and plants
Birds and animals
Bird-watching point
Birds, rice crops, dunes, beach
Animals
Animals
Fauna and water
Birds and conservation
Birds and rice
Hearing birds and sea
Fauna
A lot of birds and plants
Respected fauna, birds
Birds and rice
Rice Rice crops, wild
Rice crops and water, green
Rice crops and birds
Rice
Agronatural pattern
Rice
Dunes Conservation of dunes and dog-friendly
Protection of dunes and few people
Protection of dunes and beautiful site
Protection of dunes
Dunes and saltmarsh
Naturalness Naturalness A lot of plants, it’s beautiful
Clean, as before
Restoration project
Vegetation
Natural
Natural
Preservation of nature
Site is protected, animals, paths and colours
Naturalness
Natural
Virgin
Nature
Very natural
Nature, protected
Nature
Freedom and nature
No buildings
Naturalness, water, green
Calm, wild, without houses
Natural
Nature
Nature
Flora and fauna
Very natural
No urbanized, virgin
The landscape is very virgin
Very natural
Conservation, little presence of pesticides
Plants and birds
Natural
Well conserved, no crowded
Nature and quiet
It’s well conserved, plants and animals
Naturalness
No urbanized, seaside
Very natural, there isn’t buildings
Nothing Nothing Blank (×2)
Landscape Color Green
Green colour
Very green
Greenness
Tonalities
Green of rice crops
Contact sea-mountain The contrast between sea and mountain
Beach is very close to the mountain
The view of the sea, Medes islands and the mountains
Contrast sea mountain
Diversity Diversity
Cohabitation of uses
Diversity
Urban and natural landscape, a positive contrast
There is everything: mountain, sea, crops and so on
Contrast between green, mountain and sea
Contrast green and beach
Generic Well cared
Very beautiful site
It’s beautiful, quiet and with freedom feelings
Landscape
Views
Combination of landscape and sea
Site is nice
Freedom
Beautiful natural site
It’s beautiful
Beautiful
Beautiful
Sea The sea and atmosphere
Mountains in horizon Mountains, birds and castles
Relief Open space, green and water
Continuity
Sensation of wideness
Flat
Flat
Amplitude
Sensation of openness
Sea views The sea is very close
Cost views and it’s wild
Recreational Paths Flat for bike routes
Paths and green views
Flat for walk
There is a promenade
There are little paths and it is quiet
Dogs Beach is dog-friendly

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Pueyo-Ros, J., Ribas, A. & Fraguell, R.M. Uses and Preferences of Visitors to Coastal Wetlands in Tourism Destinations (Costa Brava, Spain). Wetlands 38, 1183–1197 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-017-0954-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-017-0954-9

Keywords

  • Wetlands tourism
  • Cultural sustainability
  • Ecosystem services
  • Coastal destinations
  • Costa Brava