Create long-term opportunities
for coastal tourism through sustainable practices and effective
The travel and tourism industry is the nation's largest employer
and second-largest contributor to the U.S. gross domestic product,
generating over $700 billion annually. Coastal tourism and recreation
comprise the largest and fastest-growing sector of the U.S. service
industry, accounting for 85% of all tourism-related revenues.
Many coastal communities depend
on healthy coastal ecosystems and clean coastal waters for their
survival. Yet rapidly growing coastal populations, increasing
numbers of visitors (180 million annually), and unsustainable
coastal development are degrading the water quality and destroying
the habitats that are the main attractions of coastal areas.
Although tourism and recreation-related development are major
factors shaping the use and management of U.S. ocean and coastal
resources, this sector has not been regarded as requiring policy,
management, planning, and resources. The federal government can
help tribes and states, which have key roles in managing coastal
tourism, achieve their goals of protecting vital coastal ecosystems
while promoting economic growth and economic stability.
- Federal efforts to help tribal,
state, and local partners promote and implement sustainable practices
for coastal recreation and tourism are fragmented or limited.
- There is no systematic data
collection on the magnitude, value, and impacts of coastal tourism
and recreation, which should be the foundation of sound planning
and sustainable management.
- Federal efforts to educate
tourists and recreational users about safe and sustainable use
of coastal resources are expanding, but the lack of coordination
and resources significantly limits progress, and key opportunities
- Current financial and technical
resources available to federal, tribal, state, and local entities
are inadequate to effectively manage and safeguard many of the
coastal and marine protected areas and other tourism and recreation
resources (e.g., national marine sanctuaries, national and state
parks, city beaches) that are the foundation of coastal tourism
- There are too few areas for
marine tourism use.
- Collect and provide access
to information on the magnitude, value, and impacts of ocean
and coastal recreation and tourism, including information on
a coastal-county basis and studies on the dynamics of tourism
in coastal and marine areas.
- Build on existing groups to
coordinate relevant federal, tribal, state, and other programs
dealing with ocean and coastal resource management to foster
a sustainable tourism industry.
- Mobilize public/private partnerships
to develop coordinated and effective policies and public outreach
programs related to coastal recreation and tourism.
- Provide guidance and technical
assistance to tribal, state, community, and private-sector partners
to help them sustainably manage coastal recreation and tourism.
- Evaluate current federal,
tribal, state, and local programs related to recreation and tourism,
and develop best management practices as part of general guidelines
for managing sustainable recreation and tourism industries in
the nation's coastal zones.
- Working with tribal, state,
and local governments, create new areas for sustainable marine
tourism, and provide access to these areas.
For more information
In South Florida, the environment
is the economy. A recent study found that over 2.3 million visitors
spent $1.6 billion in 1997 on recreation and tourism in the Florida
Keys. The total economic impact of the visitors was $ 2.9 billion
in output/sales, $1.7 billion in income, and almost 28,000 jobs.
Ninety-four percent of all recreating visitors were concerned
about protecting the environment of the Florida Keys.