Sources and methods of information on recreation users/beneficiaries


Source/ method  Comments
Long period counts using people counters Infra-red or other counters installed over a period (at least March to September).  Counters are manually calibrated to relate passages to adult visits.  Mainly applied in detailed studies: in conjunction with a CV survey – see MCM, Section 8.5.3 (Penning-Rowsell et al., 2013). 
Short period manual count /surveys  Manual counts/surveys over a period of days normally including the August Bank holiday. At initial stage, this method might be combined with site visits and at detailed study stage, with the CV survey.
CV survey data  CV survey data on the frequency of visiting by local residents in conjunction with census data on the number of adult residents and staying visitors (in conjunction with managers’ estimates of occupancy rates) can be used to generate visit number estimates.  However, the tendency of survey respondents to overstate their visiting frequency has to be noted – see the Corton Case Study in the MCM, Section 8.7 (Penning-Rowsell et al., 2013).
Old survey/ count data for the project  Planning, tourism or recreation departments of local authorities or local colleges or schools may have undertaken surveys or counts at the project site in the past, which can be updated to indicate current levels of use.
Inferred estimate  The number of visits to a coastal or river site is inferred from counts of visits to a related site nearby such as: Car and coach parks multiplied by the average adult car or coach occupancy rate (Hengistbury Head), funfair, cafe, visitor centre, historic site or museum (Hurst Spit and Hurst Spit castle). This requires estimating the proportion of all visitors to the project site who also use the counted site and vice versa. At detailed level, this can be done in conjunction with the CV survey.
Visitor equations  A number of equations have been developed which predicts-distance-frequency functions so that from census data on the population in different zones a prediction can be made as to the number of visitors generated by the site. 
Estimates from an informed persons or source  Written, telephone or personal contacts with: Car park attendants, park rangers/wardens, visitor centre staff, staff at associated visitor attractions, local authority tourism, sport and recreation or planning staff, regional or local offices of organisations such as the English Tourist Board, National Trust or English Heritage and their Welsh equivalents, the Environment Agency’s recreation and fisheries staff, managers of general recreation or staying  visitor facilities  or tourism business organisations that may have information on bedspaces and occupancy rates – see the Corton Case Study in the MCM, Section 8.7 (Penning-Rowsell et al., 2013);  both commercial and club managers of specialist facilities (e.g. sailing, boating/sailboarding, fishing, birdwatching) and specialist organisations at national regional and local level for information on the availability of alternative sites e.g. for caravans or sailing.
Average number of visits to equivalent sites  This benefit transfer approach is only suitable for initial and strategic studies. The number of adult visits to the project site is estimated as being of the same order as the number of visits made to an equivalent site.  However, there are few sites for which good data are available and little research to enable reliable identification of an equivalent site.

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