Greenways as a tourism resource: a study of user spending and value
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Manton, Richard, Hynes, Stephen, & Clifford, Eoghan. (2016). Greenways as a tourism resource: a study of user spending and value. Tourism Planning & Development, 13(4), 427-448. doi: 10.1080/21568316.2015.1136835
Cycling is increasingly recognized as a key tool in improving transport sustainability, promoting increased physical activity and improved public health and developing the tourism sector. While the provision of safe and attractive cycling routes is an important part of encouraging uptake of cycling, national and local government budgetary constraints demand that infrastructural investment must demonstrate return on investment. Greenways, fast becoming a feature of the landscape as traffic-free routes for walking and cycling, with an emphasis on recreation and tourism, are receiving significant investment. However, there is a lack of information on the economic impact of greenway investments internationally. This study of international greenway users (n = 1,125) finds that the average spend per greenway user per day is (sic)47, with accommodation and food & drink accounting for the largest proportions. Based on the estimation of a Travel Cost Model, the value of greenway recreation to cyclists is examined. The results indicate that the consumer surplus retained by greenway users is (sic)77 or 83% of the total value. However, opposition to direct payment for greenway use illustrates users' conceptualization of greenways as a public recreational resource. Drawing on Irish experience, the paper discusses the importance of greenway planning to unlock their full benefits for the economy, environment and society.