Dodds, R. and Holmes, M.R., 2020. Preferences at city and rural beaches: Are the tourists different? Journal of Coastal Research, 36(2), 393–402. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
Visiting a beach is one of the most popular tourist activities and one that draws people to the surrounding area. Although much literature has been written on tourism, little examines preferences for visitor behavior in a rural versus urban setting or whether that behavior is linked to environmental management of the setting. To this end, this paper examines tourists' motivations to visit beaches, as well as their experiences, perceptions, demographics, and desires, all within the context of the tourists' geographic orientation (i.e. urban vs. rural). Drawing on responses from 1664 quantitative surveys from Ontario beaches in Canada, this research found that beachgoers to rural beaches were more likely to have higher income levels but lower levels of education than city beachgoers. Rural beachgoers were also more likely to spend more per trip, as well as having higher levels of overall satisfaction. Findings also show that beachgoers to both rural and city beaches would be more willing to make the Blue Flag environmental management designation a component of their future beach going decision if they were aware of which beaches had the certification. The outcomes of this research have implications for beach destinations, tourism organizations, and municipalities, enabling them to better understand beachgoers and derive targeted marketing strategies.