An Empirical Investigation of Sunshine Coast Residents’ Perceptions about the Environmental, Cultural, Social and Economic Impacts of Tourism Development
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
Dr. Bishnu Sharma
Senior Lecturer in Management, Faculty of Business, University of the Sunshine Coast
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.
Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast
Lecturer in Environmental and Planning Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast