Economic Valuation of Recreation: A Case Study

PCF, utilising the specialist expertise of Marine Planning Consultants and Atkins completed a project to provide an economic value to mapped areas of marine/coastal recreation/tourism in two pilot areas of Pembrokeshire. Completed in 2014, the study has provided clear evidence and methods to state how much individual activities are worth to the local economy.

The overall objective of the project was to source an individual expenditure per person per day for each activity and to apply this to the number of participant days per year for a given location where the activity takes place, as defined by WAM. This therefore provides the total value of an area per year for each activity; and by combining all activities, the total recreation value for any unique location can be calculated.

Marine recreation valuation has not been carried out at this scale to date in the UK. The project was intended as a pilot study, focusing on two case studies in southwest Wales: the St David’s area and Dale (images below).  The intention was that the methodology developed may help enable relatively rapid recreation valuations across broad areas for multiple activities in the future. This will aid the rapid developments being made in policy and commerce alike, particularly to inform marine planning and the designation of Marine Protected Areas, allowing the recreation sector to be better represented (and therefore considered) in future plans.

St. David’s recreation usage overview

Presenting the daily participant usage figures for each activity in the St. David’s area, collected via the WAM project.


St. David’s case study economic valuation

Presenting the average annual expenditure of participants at each location of activity use, for all activities combined. This demonstrates the high value associated with beaches and the access that they provide to the sea. The areas further offshore typically hold lower value, with a more limited range of activities occurring with relatively low frequency.


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