You are on page 1of 6

A Comment on Forecasting Recreaihzz Demand in the Upper Savannah River Basin

Stephen L. J. Smith Department of Recreation University of Waterloo, Canada

As a young person matures, he often insists on making the same mistakes his parents and older relatives did when they were young. This ignoring of the experience of others is probably normal and healthy (within limits) in the development of a mature individual. However, ignoring the experience of other researchers does not lead to a healthy or mature profession. The recent article by Saunders, Senter, and Jarvis (Annals 1981: 236-256) on forecasting recreation travel and participation in the Upper Savannah River Basin is a case in point. This article is one of the first to appear in the Annals of Tourism Research on the subject of use and travel forecasting. It contains useful ideas, carefully analyzed data, logical arguments, but a methodology that is over a decade out of date. Research on recreational travel forecasting dates from the early 1960s (Ullman and Volk 1962; Crevo 1963); and articles using methods similar to that in Saunders, et al. appeared not much later (Whitehead 1965; Matthias and Grecco 1969). Given the academic backgrounds of the authors, as cited at the beginning of the article, it may not be surprising they are unaware of geographic and economic research on their subject: perhaps some responsibility for the omission in this article of any acknowledgement of twenty years of research belongs to the reviewers.
This Department is intended to arcommodate short rejoinders. commentaries. and rebuttals on the contents 01 Annals. espeually feature articles. book reviews. research notes and reports Attempts should be made to subm,, such contributmns immediately after each issue ofAnnals appears so that they are pubhshed m thr subsequent issue. The Edltor rcser~es the rlghl to evaluate matenals for ther applicability and usclulness and ~111decide whether to publish each 11x1 original or edited form) in this journal.

Annals Printed

qf Tourism Research, in the USA. All righls

Vol. 9. pp. 251-265. reserved.

1982

0160-7383/82:020251~ 15$03.00/O &: 1982 J. &&an and Pergamon Press Ltd

251

REJOINDERS AND COMMENTARY

The purpose of this note is not to depreciate the work of Saunders, Senter, and Jarvis, but to draw attention to a body of literature that other tourism researchers may also be unfamiliar with. In addition to suggesting a few articles, I would like to comment on one or two definitional matters. First, Saunders use of the word demand poses a problem. Certainly it has been used in numerous ways in the past; and the Charter of Rights in Canada and the Bill of Rights in the United States allow researchers to continue to use that word in any way they wish. But demand does carry a rather widely recognized precise definition in the context of recreation forecasting: demand is a schedule of the number of participations that will occur at different levels of cost. This definition has emerged and endured because other definitions have proven to be unworkable in the long run. For example, the definition (p. 241) suggests demand is an all-ornothing affair. To the authors, either participation occurs (given adequate supply) or it does not. The potential for participation independent of supply is also described as demand. The problem here is the failure to define adequate supply (which the authors try to relate to another concept called unmet demand). Consider the predicted unmet demand for primitive camping. Facilities for primitive camping exist throughout the United States, indeed throughout the world. It is hard to believe that there is not adequate space for primitive camping somewhere in the world to satisfy the desires of the population in Saunders study area. In practice, of course, most people are not willing to travel worldwide to go camping, given even a high desire to participate. The issue is the cost that must be paid in order to reach the facility needed to satisfy that desire. Different people are willing to pay different amounts for different quantities of primitive camping-but the conception of demand in this particular article ignores this fact. No where is there any data describing variations in willingness to pay or to the marginal utility of additional occasions of primitive camping. Lack of such basic information compromises the planning utility of the forecasts. To be fair, one might argue that the authors crudely estimate willingness to pay when they identify market areas. However, it appears that the market areas are based on an assumption of uniform demand and uniform costs (including travel time)-assumptions that are both unrealistic and unnecessary. Further, the size and shape of these market areas can be expected to change over time. Variations in fuel costs, resource quality, the number and accessibility of competing areas, and the reputation of the region will all change and will consequently change both demand and willingness to pay. Ironically, the authors themselves suggest that one reason
252 1982 ANNALS OF TOURISM RESEARCH

for undertaking this study is that the Upper Savannah River Basin will probably become a major destination region-without adjusting their market areas to reflect the changes this prediction implies. The next point has less to do with definitions and more to do with actual methods. The use of per capita consumption rates to predict future demand was once fairly popular in geographic and economic literature, but it is not used as much now. First, these rates are calculated on the basis of actual participation patterns, and thus are a function of existing supply as well as of demand. This is an example of the well-known identification problem in economics. If we observe that a particular region has a low participation rate in alpine skiing, it may be a matter of taste or of a lack of snow and suitable terrain-or both. Much recreation demand is supply-induced, so it is not clear how a supply-free rate of participation can be calculated or how one can generalize from actual rates of participation to arrive at a schedule of expected rates of participation under variable costs. Further, Beaman, Kim, and Smith (1979) have shown that supply-effects on participation in outdoor recreation are at least as strong as demographic and socio-economic effects, so variations in future levels of supply and their effects on participation rates deserve much more attention than has been given in this article. Another problem with the per capita rate method is that it requires the assumption that there will be no change in the popularity of activities. If one is forecasting for short periods of time, say five years or less, this may be a reasonable assumption. But the authors make forecasts for the period of one generation-34 years ( 1976 to 2010). A model that assumes away changes in tastes over the space of a generation may be simple (a virtue in their method the authors highlight), but it is also wrong. Predictions resulting from this type of model are too unreliable to base any decision involving public tax dollars. Three alternatives are available to researchers wishing to use some type of per capita use forecasting. One can identify past rates of change in per capita participation and build these trends into the model by assuming the rate of change will remain unchanged into the near future. The Canadian Outdoor Recreation Demand Study (Parks Canada 1976) and the National Symposium on Trends in Outdoor Recreation (USDA Forest Service 1980) contain much valuable information on this issue. Alternatively, the population might be disaggregated into age-sex cohorts or other social units for which rates of participation are then obtained (Gum and Martin 1977: Marcin and Lime 1977). Considering the profound changes that are likely to occur in the demographic makeup of society between now
1982 ANNALS OF TOURISM RESEARCH 253

REJOINDERS

AND COMMENTARY

and 2010, this approach seems especially desirable. The third approach would be to statistically estimate relationships between participation and various socio-economic variables for individuals or geographical regions. By using forecasts of changes in these socioeconomic variables, one can construct an analysis of variance model (Cheung 1972; Romsa and Girling 1976) or an automatic interaction detection model (Sonquist and Morgan 1970: Arsenault Dionne, Beaman and Renoux 1976) to forecast probable levels of participation. Regardless of which of these three methods is used, the forecasts should be limited to a maximum of 10 or 15 years. Anything more distant than that belongs to the realm of science fiction. The authors express their awareness of the desirability of considering variations in the quality of reservoirs, but do not do so because of the perceived difficulty of doing on-site inventories and user surveys. It seems short-sighted that a public agency going through the process of long range planning could not find some way to provide inventory information on site quality to its consultants. At a minimum one could have used the inventory information already collected by the US Army Corps of Engineers (1974) on Clark Hill and Hartwell Reservoirs to estimate the relative attractiveness of these two reservoirs. Wennergren and Nielsen ( 1968) have shown that the surface area of reservoirs provides a measure of the recreation utility of reservoirs that allows for accurate predictions of the number of boaters expected at different reservoirs. Incidentally, Wennergren and Nielsen use surface area in a Huff-type consumer choice model to predict market share of competing sites. This approach may have been an especially useful one in the Upper Savannah approach because it provides stochastic forecasts that can be used to allocate total levels of participants (predicted by traditional per capita use measures) among existing and proposed sites. The effect of competing and intervening sites was not adequately discussed in Saunders article. Several studies have been completed that provide illustrations how other (actual or proposed) recreation destinations can be incorporated into forecasting models to allow for more reliable and realistic use estimations (Cheung 1972: Grubb and Goodwin 1968). Populations in different origins show marked variations in their desire for travel and for different types of activities. This is sometimes referred to as the emissiveness effect, as opposed to the attractiveness effect of destinations. A working definition of the concept and an illustration how it can be measured from census data is available in Cesario ( 1973). Finally, the use of a gravity model to allocate demand is referred to but it is not as clear as it might be. There are numerous versions
254 1982 ANNALS OF TOURISM RESEARCH

REJOINDERS

AND COMMENTARY

and modifications of gravity and interaction models that can be used (Batty and Mackie 1972: Black 1973; Wolfe 1972). It would be helpful to know exactly what type of gravity model was used and how it was calibrated-and why that type and calibration method were chosen over the alternatives. In conclusion, the article by Saunders, Senter, and Jarvis is a contribution to the tourism literature and to the planning of the Upper Savannah River Basin. Their contribution, though, could have been greater if they had based their work on the two decades of work already completed instead of striking out on their own. c 7

REFERENCES
Arsenault. J., A. Dionne, J. Beaman. and M. Renoux 1976 Analysis of Variance Models with Interaction Effects and Their Potential Role in Understanding and Predicting Recreation Behaviour. In Canadian Outdoor Recreation Demand Study, Volume II. Technical Note 20:293-316. Toronto: Ontario Research Council on Leisure. Batty, M. and S. Mackie 1972 The Calibration of Gravity. Entropy, and Related Models of Spatial Interaction. Environment and Planning 4(3):205-233. Beaman, J., Y. Kim. and S. L. J. Smith 1979 The Effect of Recreation Supply on Participation. Leisure Sciences 2( 1):71--87. Black, W. R. 1973 An Analysis of Gravity Model Distance Exponents. Transportation 2(4):299-312. Cesario, F. J. 1973 A Generalized Trip Distribution Model. Journal of Regional Science 13(2):233-247. Cheung, H. K. 1972 A Day-Use Visitation Model. Journal of Leisure Research 4(2):139- 156. Crevo, C. C. 1963 Characteristics of Summer Weekend Recreational Travel. Highway Research Record 247:5 l-60. Grubb. H. and J. Goodwin 1968 Economic Evaluation of Water-Oriented Recreation, Report 84. Austin: Texas Water Development Board. Gum, R. C. and W. E. Martin 1977 Structure of Demand for Outdoor Recreation. Land Economics 53( 1):43-55. Marcin. T. C. and D. W. Lime 1977 Our Changing Population Structure: What Will It Mean for Future Outdoor Recreation Use? In Outdoor Recreation: Advances in Application of Economics, General Technical Report WO-2. pp. 42-53. Washington. DC: US Forest Service. Matthias. J. S. and W. L. Grecco 1968 Simplified Procedure of Estimating Recreational Travel to Multi-Purpose Reservoirs. Highway Research Record 250:54-69. 1982 ANNALS OF TOURISM RESEARCH 255

REJOINDERS AND COMMENTARY Parks Canada 1976 Canadian Outdoor Recreation Demand Study, Volume II. The Technical Notes. Toronto: Ontario Research Council on Leisure. Romsa, G. H. and S. Girling 1976 The Identification of Outdoor Recreation Market Segments on the Basis of Frequency of Participation. Journal of Leisure Research 8(4):247-255. Saunders, P. R., H. F. Senter, and J. P. Jarvis 1981 Forecasting Recreation Demand in the Upper Savannah River Basin. Annals of Tourism Research 8(2):236-256. Sonquist, J. A. and J. N. Morgan 1970 The Detection of Interaction Effects, Monograph 35. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Survey Research Center. Ullman. E. L. and D. J. Volk 1962 An Operational Model for Predicting Reservoir Attendance and Benefits: Implications of a Location Approach to Water Recreation. Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters 47:473-484. US Army Corps of Engineers 1974 Plan Formulation and Evaluation Studies-Recreation, Volume II. Estimating Initial Reservoir Recreation Use, pp. A-149- 155. Fort Belvoir. Virginia: USAE Institute for Water Resources. USDA Forest Service 1980 Proceedings of the National Outdoor Recreation Trends Symposium. General Technical Report NE-57. two volumes plus technical appendix. Broomall. Pennsylvania: Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. Wennergren, E. B. and D. B. Nielsen 1968 A Probabilistic Approach to Estimating Demand for Outdoor Recreation, Bulletin 478. Logan, Utah: Utah Agricultural Experiment Station. Whitehead. J. I. 1965 Road Traffic Growth and Capacity in a Holiday District (Dorset). Proceedings of the Institute of Civil Engineers 30:589-608. Wolfe, R. I. I972 The Inertia Model. Journal of Leisure Research 4111:73-76.

Submitted 20 Januaw Accepted 22 February

1982 1982

Toward A Social Psychological Theory of Tourism Motivation: A Rejoinder


Seppo E. Iso-Ahola Department of Recreation University of Maryland. USA

Recently, Dann ( 1981) surveyed the literature on tourism motivation. In an effort to reconcile differences between various ap256 1982 ANNALS OF TOURISM RESEARCH