It is anticipated that climate change will have a significant impact on participation in outdoor recreation via changes to weather conditions and modifications to the environments that visitors use. Coastal tourism may be particularly affected by these impacts, as beach visitors are strongly influenced by weather conditions, and sea level rise could have a significant effect on the appearance of coastlines. Despite the importance of coastal tourism to the global economy, the magnitudes of the likely impacts of climate change on beach visits are currently poorly understood. Using a case study of the coastline at East Anglia, U.K., this work models these potential impacts under four future climate change scenarios. Using a Geographical Information System, the output of a model linking visits with beach characteristics and weather conditions is combined with data on likely changes in beach width, temperature, and precipitation to predict future visitor demand. The results suggest that climate change will result in a net increase in visitors on this section of coast, with the positive effects of warmer and drier weather outweighing the negative influences of reductions in beach width due to sea level rise. The findings are discussed in the context of beach management strategies.
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Vol. 2009 • No. 254