Gold Coast Beach Use & Carrying Capacity
Australia has over 70,000 kilometres of coastline, of which Queensland has 7,000 kilometres. The beach has long occupied a special place in the Australian identity. The beaches are not only important to the Australian people but they are a highly valuable tourist resource. Determining their carrying capacity is an essential factor for their sensible use and management. A preliminary perception study of Gold Coast beaches was conducted over a two-year period - in 2004 and 2005. The survey, adapted from one used in Portugal by Professor Carlos Pereira da Silva (Da Silva, 1998), was conducted with a group of Griffith University students. This survey provided a base from which further research was conducted in April 2006. Using a modified, shorter, more precise, survey with an expanded population range the survey explored beach perception, landscape, and behaviour. The modified survey was conducted at four designated Gold Coast beaches using a random selection process. This initial survey work revealed some interesting results including that the majority of the people surveyed thought beach crowds were perfect in their current state but 79% of the remaining respondents indicated carrying capacity had already been exceeded; with Gold Coast beaches perceived as either over-crowded or could do with less people. The future analysis of this data will assist in gaining a wider populations' perception of the Gold Coast beaches and to better determine what Australians use their beaches for, which can aid in future development and conservation programs.
The Second International Conference on the Management of Coastal Recreational Resources