Travel behaviour substitution for a white-water canoe race influenced by climate induced stream flow
The World Tourism Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization (UNWTO-UNEP-WMO, 2008) have identified one of the consequences of climate change is an interference of normal precipitation. This research investigates the changes in travel patterns by participants and spectators at an annual canoe race as influenced by variable stream flow. Given that stream flow varies seasonally, one might hypothesize that should a permanent reduction of water flow take place in the future, a decline or shift in water-based recreation might be expected. Using data collected over two years at the Annual Westfield River Wildwater Races, interviews were conducted at the staging area as participants waited in the queue. Observers of the race were also interviewed. The two sampling years represent a low flow season and a normal flow season and yield a sample of 142 parties. During the low flow season, one that is projected to become the norm under climate change models, expert paddlers travelled a greater distance characteristic of destination substitutability while spectators decreased travel distance and this suggests a reduction of interest in observing the race.
Keywords: Climate change, water-based recreation, substitution, travel behaviour, streamflow