An Empirical Investigation of Sunshine Coast Residents’ Perceptions about the Environmental, Cultural, Social and Economic Impacts of Tourism Development

Dr. Bishnu Sharma,
Pam Dyer,
Jennifer Carter
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This study identifies the major areas of tourism impact, areas of community concern and the elements of relationship between humans and the environment. A survey of households on the Sunshine Coast region covering the hinterland residential, hinterland high tourist activity, coastal residential and coastal high tourist activity areas of the three shires (Caloundra City Council, Maroochy Shire and Noosa Shire) was carried out to assess residents’ perceptions about these items. Altogether 732 responses were received. Based on the perceptions of the respondents, the survey results suggest that if rates of resident perceptions are aligned with actual impact, tourism has the highest impact on traffic congestion. It is also found that residents perceive the opportunity to meet people from other regions of the world gives a valuable experience to the respondents to better understand their culture and society. The study also found a number of significant correlations between community concerns and tourism impact variables. The study reveals that in terms of community concerns, the lack of capacity of roads / transportation tops the list followed by perceived negative impacts on the environment and crime related incidents. Respondents’ perceptions also indicate that human interference with nature can produce disastrous consequences.

Keywords: Tourism impact, community aspects, environment
Stream: Environmental Sustainability
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in
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Dr. Bishnu Sharma

Senior Lecturer in Management, Faculty of Business, University of the Sunshine Coast

Bishnu Sharma is Senior Lecturer in Management at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia. Bishnu received his PhD in management from the University of Technology, Sydney. He holds a Masters degree in Industrial Engineering & Production Management from the Cranfield Institute of Technology, UK and post graduate diploma from RVB, Holland. Bishnu’s undergraduate degree was in Chemical Engineering from India. Bishnu has published his research outcomes in the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Thailand, India and Australia. Bishnu's research interest is in the areas of strategy, total quality management, organisational culture and learning, tourism and business performance.

Before taking up teaching and research position at the Australian University, Bishnu was Executive Director of the Town Development Board of Nepal. Bishnu has also worked for several years in Nepal as a strategic planning and development consultant. Bishnu has presented in the national and international conferences in Australia, France, Japan, New Zealand, Philippines, and Hong Kong.

Pam Dyer

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast

Pam Dyer is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. She is now the Acting Dean of the Faculty. Pam has published and presented papers in International Journals and International Conferences pertaining to avian ecology and tourism interpretation and management.

Jennifer Carter

Lecturer in Environmental and Planning Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast

Dr Carter is a lecturer in Environmental and Planning Studies at the University of the Sunshine Coast. She is a geographer, and specialises in environmental and cultural geography, and their interconnections that connect the nexus between humans and their environments. She has conducted research with indigenous groups in Australia, with institutional and farmer groups in Zimbabwe, and with institutional groups in Chile, in applications as diverse as forestry, fisheries, participatory land use planning, protected area management, ecotourism and cultural heritage mapping. She also has expertise in avian ecology, specialising in seabird and raptor species and their habitat requirements, and how tourism and planning impacts these species.

Ref: S06P0064