Public perception of beach quality: lessons learnt from a French case study

Abstract : This paper will expose and discuss some results of the research programme QUALIBEACH launched in 2008 to support the Community of municipalities of Oléron Island (biggest island of the French Atlantic coast) in the implementation of its Beach Plan. This plan aims to improve both environmental quality in the face of anthropogenic degradation and touristic attractiveness. The QUALIBEACH programme is meant to support the implementation of this plan through the realization of in-depth studies and the design of management tools, like a Guidebook for Beach Quality edited in 2011. Our presentation will focus on the results obtained in the field of beach quality perception, showing how it can contribute to beach management improvement and ICZM implementation. After a brief presentation of the context, we will expose the methodology. The first step is designed to characterize the studied sites to determine on which basis to assess beach quality perception. The second step consists in submitting questionnaires to various categories of beach users so as to highlight the foundations of beach attractiveness and get their view on beach quality. The third step aims to collect beach user opinion on some general orientations of the Beach Plan and on the beach models designed by practitioners. The results obtained will be compared with those of previous studies and their interest for beach management will be highlighted. They show that the expectations of the various user groups are convergent, which guarantees that the Beach Plan will at the same time improve the quality of life of residents and support tourism development. Another point is that beach users and practitioners share the same vision of coastal heritage, a situation that is favourable to its preservation or restoration. At last, they highlighted divergences between user preferences and public policies that are being considered by practitioners to improve beach management.
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Virginie Duvat. Public perception of beach quality: lessons learnt from a French case study. Public perception of beach quality: lessons learnt from a French case study, Mar 2012, Santa Marta, Colombia. ⟨hal-00821861⟩

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