Chapter 15: The benefits of coastal recreation in Europe’s seas: an application of meta-analytical value transfer and GIS
Outdoor recreation and nature tourism in coastal areas have experienced an extraordinary growth over the past decades, becoming a key factor for the economic development, employment and revenues of many coastal communities. In Europe, coastal tourism and recreation do not only play a major role in highly popular touristic destinations, such as along the Mediterranean coast, but also in more remote areas, such as Wales and the Western Isles of Scotland, where they often represent a major source of employment and economic activity (Jones et al., 2011). Many factors have contributed to the observed growth: improving wealth and quality of life of the population; demographic growth; increasing rapidity of mass transportation; improved infrastructures for access to the coast; and enhanced on-site support facilities. The intensification of coastal leisure activities has often come at the price of a loss of environmental quality, biodiversity and cultural heritage. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment has identified in tourism and recreation-related infrastructure development the second largest threat to the sustained provision of the ecosystem services generated in coastal habitats (MA, 2005). Pressures on the identity of local coastal communities and cultural heritage have often been the outcome of business models having as primary target the maximization of the number of visitors, irrespective of the carrying capacity of a territory (Satta, 2004).
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