Presentation on theme: "What’s the value of nature tourism in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas? Woosnam, An, Aleshinloye, Dudensing, and Hanselka March 2012."— Presentation transcript:
What’s the value of nature tourism in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas? Woosnam, An, Aleshinloye, Dudensing, and Hanselka March 2012
Background Nature tourism defined: “Responsible travel to natural areas, which conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people” (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 2011). Takes various forms Adopting D.K. Shifflet operationalization Lower Rio Grande Valley ideal for nature tourism RG and Gulf with world-renowned birding opps. Starr, Willacy, Hidalgo, and Cameron Cos.
Background Texas is arguably best state for birding in country; LRGV #2 birdwatching destination in NA (Mathis and Matisoff, 2004). Each year 1000s of Winter Texans flock to Valley, many of which are birders Birders drawn from all over NA for Harlingen Birding Festival (in 19 th year) With shrinking chamber budgets, it is important to indicate the value of tourism in an area, especially niche forms of tourism
Problem Rapid residential development threatening natural areas in LRGV (Metrostudy, 2011). Most recent economic impact study of nature tourism in LRGV conducted over 15 years ago—not in a scientific manner (Millar, personal communication, April 2011).
Purpose of Study Provide an initial examination of the economic impact of nature tourism throughout the LRGV during the off- peak tourist season Three specific research questions (based on off-peak): 1) What are the annual and person-day expenditures among nature tourists for 2011? 2) What are the estimated total annual expenditures by nature tourists for 2011? 3) What are the direct, indirect, and induced effects of nature tourism for employment, labor income, and value-added categories in the RGV in 2011?
Methods Sample and data collection Off-peak visitors to LRGV Intercepted at seven key locations (i.e., Estero Llano Grande SP, Bentsen Rio Grande SP, Santa Ana NWR, Edinburg Scenic Wetlands, Frontera Audubon, South Padre Island World Birding Center, Alamo Inn) Six weekends in May/June 2011 using systematic sampling procedure (every 2 nd ) with random start Self-administered survey instrument Travel behavior, likelihood of returning, perception of region, travel expenditures (along with length of stay, group size, purpose of travel, etc.), and SOE/SOD questions Effective response rate was 80.2% (N = 303)
Descriptive findings SOE/SOD M age = 47.4 years 50.5% women 76.8% had at least undergraduate degree 44.4% had household income of at least $100,000 Travel behavior M group size = 2.63 people 51% visiting LRGV for nature tourism as primary purpose M stay in LRGV on current visit = 5 days M stay in LRGV during year = 7 days 64% had visited LRGV previously, on average 15 times.
Economic Impact Analyses Economic impact analyses based on: D.K. Shifflet reports provided to Texas Office of Governor, ED&T 2010 South Texas Plains Region and 2010 Gulf Coast Region destination reports 2010 Texas Visitor Profile LRGV nature tourists reporting of: Travel party size # days planned to be in region (engaging in nature tourism) on trip and throughout year Annual nature tourism expenditures in LRGV and elsewhere
Conclusion and Implications Sizable economic impact for nature tourism in LRGV Help to make case for potentially preserving undeveloped areas in Valley. Chambers and CVBs throughout LRGV should focus on promotional campaigns that continue to highlight area for natural resources Bringing visitors to the area Within days of receiving report, STNMC released press release that appeared all throughout South Texas newspapers and across state.
Limitations and Future Research Only collected data from off-peak nature tourists Data from peak nature tourists was collected in Fall/Winter 2011 Will be used in subsequent analyses Data collected from seven key locations; not all places Only used “intentional” nature tourists and not “casual” nature tourists in analysis