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Assessing users’ expectations and perceptions on different beach types and the need for diverse management frameworks along the Western Mediterranean

Cabezas-Rabadán, C., Rodilla, M., Pardo-Pascual, J.E., Herrera-Racionero, P.
Land use policy 2019 v.81 pp. 219-231
beaches, coastal zone management, decision making, sediments, tourism
Beach management follows a homogeneous and rigid decision-making process that tries to fulfill expectations assumed from mass tourism without really getting to know the real users’ perception. Decisions are usually taken without considering the diversity of values of the beaches, causing high environmental, economic and recreational impacts. In this study, users’ profiles, expectations and perceptions have been defined on six Valencian beaches with both different degree of artificialization and sediment type. This has allowed a comparison between semi-natural and urban beaches, and between pebbly and sandy beaches. Differences between beach types have been observed, and a critical analysis of the current management framework and practices has been carried out. Therefore, decision-making should take greater account of users, and actions should be adapted to the diversity of beaches and their particularities, leading to a differential beach management.