Influences on coastal tourism demand and substitution behaviors from climate change impacts and hazard recovery responses

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Abstract

Climate change impacts can negatively affect tourism demand and, subsequently, local economies by disrupting access and altering physical conditions, including those from adaptation and recovery efforts. Research is needed that helps destinations become more climate ready, including studies of decision factors that influence trip-taking behaviors. This paper presents findings from a discrete choice experiment to determine how physical and economic changes could affect visitation behaviors to a vulnerable coastal destination, the Outer Banks region of North Carolina, USA. We embedded our experiment within an on-site visitor survey to reveal thresholds of negative changes to coastal attributes that tourists are willing to tolerate, and also examined tourists’ willingness to substitute their future trips to the region. Transportation-related changes had the highest relative importance among the four selected attributes. The likelihood of three types of spatial substitution, spurred by not being able to access the destination, were consistently related to residency but less consistently related to place meanings, visitation history, and other demographic variables. Study results can inform climate change planning within coastal zones to minimize negative impacts to tourism demand, such as the need to develop creative revenue streams to maintain resilience in communities that rely on occupancy taxes.

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Seekamp, E., Jurjonas, M., & Bitsura-Meszaros, K. (2019). Influences on coastal tourism demand and substitution behaviors from climate change impacts and hazard recovery responses. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 27(5), 629–648. https://doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2019.1599005

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