Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Costa Brava beachgoers want beautiful scenery and clean beaches

20.06.2008
Going beyond the technical indicators used to define the quality of Spanish beaches, such as the blue flag system or Bathing Waters Directive, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) has now released a sociological study based on questionnaires completed by 700 beachgoers on the Costa Brava, reflecting their opinions and reasons for choosing either urban or semi-natural beaches.

Most beachgoers prefer beaches with pleasant views and clean water and sand. This is the conclusion reached by a sociological study carried out by UPC researchers Elisabet Roca and Miriam Villares during the summer of 2005. They were taking part, along with coastal engineers and geographers, in a broader scientific project analysing social perceptions of beach quality.

The research, published in the latest edition of Ocean & Coastal Management, compares differences in holidaymakers’ perceptions and beach preferences, and contains the responses of 700 beach users as well as in-depth interviews with local agents (tourism sector, environmental groups, companies and institutions, etc.) in four towns: Lloret de Mar, Blanes, Malgrat and Tossa de Mar.

Elisabet Roca and Miriam Villares suggest this information ‘from the horse’s mouth’ could be used to provide a better service for beach users and have an impact on public and environmental attitudes. “The idea isn’t to design beaches with only beach users in mind, but to take their opinions into account along with those of geomorphologists, ecologists, experts and managers,” the researchers told SINC.

The researchers chose six beaches (Malgrat Nord, S’abanell, Santa Cristina, Platja Llarga, Canyelles and Platja Gran) in the southern part of the Costa Brava, with their selection based on tourist density on urban and more natural beaches, where foreign tourists share the sand with local and Catalan holidaymakers. “This type of study aims to prevent the creation of identical beaches, and to avoid natural beaches being provided with the full range of services or to all have the same means of access. We need to promote an individual management model to suit each context,” explained Elisabet Roca, the study’s lead author.

The most popular beaches are long, with warm water

In physical terms, visitors to semi-natural beaches gave the most points (8 out of 10) to beach length, while water temperature scored highest for those using urban beaches, at 7.8 out of 10. With regard to environmental features, the most important element both on urban and semi-natural beaches was the scenery – the classic attraction of the Costa Brava coast.

One of the study’s main conclusions is that “beachgoers’ social class and opinions vary depending on the kind of beach in question”, according to Roca. However, water and sand quality, as well as scenery, are of greatest importance to all beach users, although urban beaches, which suffer more from pollution caused by human activity, receive worse scores in this respect.

On semi-natural beaches, frequented by local and Catalan visitors, peace and quiet is a highly-rated quality. Bathers on urban beaches, which attract many foreign tourists, prefer the convenience of having all facilities and services close at hand on the urban seafront.

The researchers also report a marked difference in the type of beach users, with 33% of tourists on urban beaches being foreigners, while 40% of those on semi-natural beaches are from the Barcelona metropolitan area. The study also shows that local beachgoers have a greater degree of beach loyalty, but also expect higher standards.

Foreign tourists express a greater degree of satisfaction with everything, despite mainly frequenting the urban beaches, which are extremely over-crowded. “This information could help to clarify or adapt the management model for beaches in each area, and to draw up priorities in terms of conservation or recreational use,” the researchers told SINC:

I don’t like it because it’s dirty and difficult to get to

The study also contains less favourable responses by beach users. “Urban beaches, for example, suffer from erosion, offer limited space, and the size of the beaches and number of people on them generally received poor marks,” explained the author. Negative features noted on semi-natural beaches were their difficult access routes or the lack of services.

Despite negative opinions relating to access routes or parking on semi-natural beaches, however, “this does not mean that access should be improved or that car parking facilities should be expanded, because this would lead to more people visiting the beaches, which would in turn lose some of the features that made them popular in the first place: their peace and natural environment”. In general, it is clear that semi-natural beach users are happy on the beach “because no very low marks were given”, say the researchers.

The methodology used

The questionnaires, part of a project financed by the Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN), form part of Elisabet Roca’s thesis. The survey was translated into four languages (Catalan, Spanish, English and French) in order to ensure foreign tourists could also take part in the study.

The range of questions comprised one part relating to user profile (with socio-economic variables and demographic profiles based on age, gender, profession, place of residence, customs, information on local accommodation and frequency of beach visits) and an evaluation of beach quality based on 46 parameters (giving a score from 1 to 10 for each depending on the level of satisfaction). The parameters were divided into four categories: physical, environmental, facilities and services, and lastly layout and convenience.

SINC Team | alfa
Further information:
http://www.plataformasinc.es

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>