Beach and Surf Tourism and Recreation in Australia: Vulnerability and Adaptation

Michael Raybould, David Anning, Daniel Ware, Neil Lazarow

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportResearchpeer-review


The Beach and surf tourism and recreation in Australia: Vulnerability and adaptation project has produced estimates of economic values for recreation and tourism related to beach and surf amenities across four case-study locations in Australia. Estimates of the non-market consumer surplus values of beach recreation indicate that beach recreation is worth around: $70 million per annum (p.a.) to residents of the Sunshine Coast (Qld), $32 million p.a. to residents of Clarence Valley (NSW), $6 million p.a. to residents of the Surf Coast (Vic) and $4 million p.a. for residents of Augusta-Margaret River (WA).
In addition to the non-market values, real market expenditures are incurred by tourists in order to visit and stay in coastal locations. The value of this tourism expenditure that is specifically related to beach and surf recreation is estimated to be in the order of: $270 million annually for the Sunshine Coast (Qld), $32 million p.a. for Clarence Valley (NSW), $107 million for the Surf Coast (Vic) and $25 million for the Augusta-Margaret River (WA) region.
Market expenditure specifically associated with tourist use of beach and surf recreation amenities is estimated at between 2% and 13% of gross regional product across the four case study regions.
Potential beach-related recreation and tourism losses associated with climate change may be substantial. Current projections indicate that climate change will result in long-term beach recession and more frequent erosion events in some regions. Resident survey responses to scenarios about beach damage suggest that between 25% and 35% of residents’ consumer surplus values for beach recreation could be lost as a result of major erosion events. Loss of recreation values on this scale would equate to a minimum $18 million p.a. on the Sunshine Coast and $10 million p.a. in the Clarence Valley. Tourist responses to similar beach damage scenarios suggest that between 17% and 23% of tourists would respond to major erosion events by switching to other destinations. Loss of tourism receipts on this scale would equate to losses of approximately $56 million p.a. on the Sunshine Coast and $20 million p.a. on Victoria’s Surf Coast. The time taken to repair the damage is critical and rapid action by authorities can reduce the duration and extent of these losses considerably.
Coastal managers may utilise a menu of adaptive management strategies to minimise the economic losses associated with climate change impacts on beaches. These include increasing resilience of beaches and increasing beach recreation space through beach nourishment and enhancement of beachside parks; increasing supply of alternative recreation sites such as estuary, river, and reservoir beaches, and; management of user expectations and behaviour through information provision.
KEYWORDS: economics, beaches, climate adaption, recreation, tourism.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherBond University
Commissioning bodyFisheries Research and Development Corporation
Number of pages132
ISBN (Print)978-0-646-90467-2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


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