Title: The Relationship between Wildfires and Tourist Behaviors in Florida: An Exploratory Study
Author: Thapa, Brijesh; Holland, Stephen M.; Absher, James D.;
Source: Proceedings of the Fourth Social Aspects and Recreation Research Symposium; 2004 February 4-6; San Francisco, California. San Francisco State University. 155-161
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
Description: Introduction Florida is a popular national and international tourist destination with 74.3 million visitors in 2000, and slightly more than half of these visited natural and protected areas (Visit Florida, 2001). However, in recent years, notably in 1998 and 2001, drought conditions have led to wildfires that affected large parts of the state, lead to smoke closure of interstate highways and air quality alerts (Albright, 1998; Davis, 1998; Dillon, 1998, Drummond, 1998, Farrington, 2001; Woodman, 1998a, 1998b). These conditions have become an increasing issue for recreational and leisure travelers as well as destination promoters and managers. In 1998, Florida’s tourism industry was severely affected as approximately 500,000 forest acres burned predominantly in 18 northeastern counties, resulting in forced evacuations from many tourist destinations, notably the Daytona Beach area (Hays, 1998). Butry and associates (2001) estimated that the 1998 fires resulted in a gross loss of $61 million to the lodging industry and $77.2 million gross loss in other business sectors, especially in Orange, Volusia, St. John’s and Brevard counties (these are the Orlando and Central Florida east coast areas). Since 1998, the numbers of fires in the subsequent years has increased and are of concern to the tourism industry, as sustained negative economic impact does not bode well for the tourism dependent economy of Florida.
Keywords: tourism, florida, economic impact
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Thapa, Brijesh; Holland, Stephen M.; Absher, James D. 2004. The Relationship between Wildfires and Tourist Behaviors in Florida: An Exploratory Study. In: Proceedings of the Fourth Social Aspects and Recreation Research Symposium; 2004 February 4-6; San Francisco, California. San Francisco State University. 155-161
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