Evaluation of beach quality as perceived by users
Recreational beaches are strategic ecosystems for tourism and should be used in a sustainable manner. We studied three beaches in the municipality of Guaymas (NW Mexico), in order to assess their beach quality and identify key management issues. The evaluation was based on the perceptions of users concerning: (1) the user profile; (2) the recreational habits of users; and (3) the biophysical characteristics, infrastructure, services, and cleanliness of each beach. The results showed that the beaches were of different quality. The key management issues identified were the need to design and apply specific management programs for each beach, specifically in regards to improving infrastructure and services, and obtaining certification as a sustainable beach. The evaluation of the beaches as perceived by users suggests that it would be useful to assess beach quality in order to support management goals and be applicable to other beaches, both nationally and internationally.