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Climatic Change

, Volume 114, Issue 3–4, pp 745–768 | Cite as

The influence of hurricane risk on tourist destination choice in the Caribbean

  • Johanna Forster
  • Peter W. Schuhmann
  • Iain R. Lake
  • Andrew R. Watkinson
  • Jennifer A. Gill
Article

Abstract

Climate change could have major implications for the global tourism industry if changing environmental conditions alter the attractiveness of holiday destinations. Countries with economies dependent on tourism and with tourism industries reliant on vulnerable natural resources are likely to be particularly at risk. We investigate the implications that climate-induced variations in Atlantic hurricane activity may have for the tourism-dependent Caribbean island of Anguilla. Three hundred tourists completed standardised questionnaires and participated in a choice experiment to determine the influence hurricane risk has on their risk perceptions and decisions regarding holiday preferences. The hurricane season had been considered by 40 % of respondents when making their holiday choice, and the beaches, climate and tranquility of the island were more important than coral reef-based recreational activities in determining holiday destination choice. Choice models demonstrated that respondents were significantly less likely to choose holiday options where hurricane risk is perceived to increase, and significantly more likely to choose options that offered financial compensation for increased risk. However, these choices and decisions varied among demographic groups, with older visitors, Americans, and people who prioritize beach-based activities tending to be most concerned about hurricanes. These groups comprise a significant component of the island’s current clientele, suggesting that perceived increases in hurricane risk may have important implications for the tourism economy of Anguilla and similar destinations. Improved protection of key environmental features (e.g. beaches) may be necessary to enhance resilience to potential future climate impacts.

Keywords

Gross Domestic Product Choice Experiment Tourism Industry Mixed Logit Model Cost Attribute 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

Thank you to all of the tourists in Anguilla who gave 20 min of their holiday time to participate in the surveys, and to the key informants at Anguilla DFMR who provided invaluable local information. We are also extremely grateful to Ian Bateman and Stephanie Watkins for help with the choice experiment design and to Peter Forster for invaluable help with data-entry. Johanna Forster was supported by a joint studentship from the Economic and Social Research Council and the Natural Environment Research Council (UK). Also thanks to the reviewers of this manuscript for constructive and useful suggestions.

Supplementary material

10584_2012_433_MOESM1_ESM.doc (45 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 45 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johanna Forster
    • 1
  • Peter W. Schuhmann
    • 2
  • Iain R. Lake
    • 3
  • Andrew R. Watkinson
    • 3
  • Jennifer A. Gill
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Marine Science and TechnologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.Department of Economics and FinanceUniversity of North Carolina at WilmingtonWilmingtonUSA
  3. 3.School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK
  4. 4.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK

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