Access for outdoor recreation in England and Wales: Production, consumption and markets
Curry, N. (2001) Access for outdoor recreation in England and Wales: Production, consumption and markets. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 9 (5). pp. 400-416. ISSN 0966-9582
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09669580108667411
Supply-driven access policies for outdoor recreation in England and Wales have led to growth in the access resource during the 1990s. This has come about through policy shifts in agriculture and forestry as well as policies for community participation and access to open country. Aggregate consumption, however, has remained static. There is little evidence to suggest any significant increases in outdoor recreation participation since the late 1970s. This production-consumption imbalance can lead to inefficiencies in resource allocation, but it also could be considered to be inequitable since the recipients of state outdoor leisure resources are dominantly the more affluent members of society. Except at a very small number of renowned sites, carrying capacity is not a significant issue in England and Wales, given that outdoor recreation resource availability is generally outstripping consumption. The principal challenge for public intervention lies in improving information about, awareness of and confidence to use, the access resource rather than increasing the resource per se. For some provision, particularly in relation to rural tourism, markets also offer potential for ensuring resource quality, controlling visitor numbers, stimulating the rural economy and allowing confident visitor use.