Kristin Butler and Annie Mercer, 2022. “Perceptions and factors impacting visitor decisions: The Blue Flag pilot at Galveston, TX”, Shore & Beach, 90(3), 30-35.
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Research Letter: Perceptions and factors impacting visitor decisions: The Blue Flag pilot at Galveston, TX
Kristin Butler (1) and Annie Mercer (2)
1) University of North Texas, 1155 Union Circle, Denton, TX 76203
2) ASBPA, 1509 George II Highway SE, Bolivia NC 28422
COVID-19 changed the way people interacted with outdoor spaces and heavily impacted summer tourism trends. With the federal government’s encouragement, many people chose beach outings where they could enjoy a vacation while minimizing the risk of contracting COVID-19. It was during this time in 2020-2021 that East Beach (managed by the Galveston Island Park Board of Trustees) in Galveston, Texas, was the site of a survey study concerning beachgoer interest in the Blue Flag award program. The Blue Flag program operates in 48 countries focusing on environmental education, safety and security, environmental management, social responsibility, and responsible tourism among beaches, marinas, and tourism boat operators. Before the study began, training on the Blue Flag program was given to the student researcher to provide an informational basis for explaining the program and award criteria to participants. Participants for this study were sampled from the beach-going population at East Beach in Galveston. A total of 53 participants completed the entire survey for a completion rate of 82.81%. The positive responses in support of the Blue Flag program found in this survey shows interest in East Beach would likely increase if the Blue Flag award were attained and a larger sample of responses were collected for analysis.