The beach as a strategic element of governance for Spanish coastal towns

Valls, Josep FrancescRucabado, JosepSardá, Rafael ; Parera, Antoni. Journal of Sustainable Tourism : doi:10.1080/09669582.2016.1273358 (2017) DIGITAL CSIC

Governance models and future strategic visions for Spain’s beach social– ecological systems are assessed using an online questionnaire. Beaches continue to represent the most valuable attraction for Spanish coastal towns, but their strategic vision regarding the beach consists more of it being a profitable attraction and of maintaining the traditional “sun and sand” model, rather than of planning strategically. There are three trends looking to 2020. First, beach resorts are becoming linked with culture and heritage, gastronomy, events and ecotourism to enhance their attraction capacity and competitiveness. Second, the coastal towns plan to reduce the strain on beaches by increasing the number of square metres of sand per user. Third, they plan to reduce the strain of the seasonal population compared to the year-round population. Two indices (Beach Quality and Governance Quality) and two factors (Beach Management Proximity and Tourist Resource Expectations) were developed to assess municipal beach governance frameworks, enabling us to construct a typology of four municipal governance models. The country follows a classical public hierarchical model of beach management. Other than at the local scale, beaches are not strategically managed. There is a lack of implementation of adaptive measures, collective actions, integrated management, or policy learning.