Establishing a multi-criteria evaluation structure for tourist beaches in Taiwan: A foundation for sustainable beach tourism
The objective of this paper is to identify factors affecting beach environments and to establish a multi-criteria evaluation structure for tourist beaches. This structure is intended to inform beach managers on where and how they should invest resources to achieve sustainable beach tourism. A critical review of literature related to beach quality criteria was made. Interviews with experts were conducted in the identification of factors with respect to a high-use tourist beach in southern Taiwan. Four major dimensions were extracted from a number of factors using factor analysis: cleanliness of beach environments, safety, beach protection and management, and facilities and services. The fuzzy analytical hierarchy process (AHP) approach, a decision-making method based on pair-wise comparisons between criteria, was then used to construct a three level evaluation structure with criteria and associated weights for beach managers. The results show that cleanliness of beach environments and safety are considered relatively important factors in the second level. Among 15 attributes, water quality standards, clean beaches, safe access to beaches, management of different uses, sediment and habitat management, information provision, controlled waste discharge, and a beach management committee are the top half rankings in the third level. Management implications from the findings were discussed, with an emphasis on managing beach in an integrated manner. At last, a step-by-step model was highlighted as a practical way to assist policy makers to find priority factors and engage in effective beach management.
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