Will Beaches be enough? Future Changes for Coastal Tourism at the German Baltic Sea

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

HALLER, I., STYBEL, N., SCHUMACHER, S and MOSSBAUER, M., 2011. Will Beaches be enough? Future Changes for Coastal Tourism at the German Baltic Sea. In: Micallef, A. (ed.), MCRR3-2010 Conference Proceedings, Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, No. 61, pp. 70-80. Grosseto, Tuscany, Italy, ISSN 0749-0208.

At first glance, present tourism in the southern Baltic Sea region could most likely be described as ‘beach tourism’. Given that the beach is the main point of interest for the majority of coastal tourists, destinations largely rely on the potential of natural beaches. With more than 33 million overnight stays along the German Baltic coast in 2009 of which 70% refer to the beach as the main reason for choosing the destination, an effective management of beaches already today plays a decisive role for success. At present, predominant concerns of coastal communities are losses of sand caused by erosion and storm surges, and summery accumulations of beach wrack. They threaten the recreational use of beaches and are therefore driving elements in stakeholder discussions. In future, global influences such as climate change could be of additional influence. Impacts on a regional level are still being analyzed. Prospective favorable weather conditions in summer might further increase the number of visitors, and thus bring among new challenges also new economic possibilities. Based on these premises, ongoing national as well as European funded projects are conducting research on present and future influences on coastal tourism within the region. Parallel to identifying crucial issues for coastal destinations, relevant stakeholders are brought together in workshops and topical symposiums. Project work aims at initiating a participatory regional stakeholder network and enabling it to develop successful adaptation strategies to a variety of future challenges. In addition, studies on the perception of tourists are carried out and information brochures on climate change and other beach related aspects are devised. The paper summarizes recent results of the RADOST and BaltCICA projects and gives an overview on how current and future changes might affect coastal tourism at the German Baltic coast in the next decades.

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