Research Findings: Weather and Climate for Coastal Tourism

Michelle RuttyMichelle Rutty’s PhD, “Weather and Climate for Coastal Tourism,” advances climate resource assessments for tourism. The research findings further our understanding of the complex relationships between personal and meteorological parameters that influence climatic preferences, perceptions and thresholds. Through concurrent meteorological measurements and in situ surveys with beach tourists in the Caribbean islands of Barbados, Saint Lucia and Tobago, her research reveals that tourists’ optimal and unacceptable climatic conditions are dependent on several interpersonal factors (e.g., age, gender, climatic region of origin). Thermal comfort expectations and perceived thermal control are also key contextual considerations that enable beach tourists’ to not only be exposed to, but to prefer, thermal conditions that elicit strong to very strong heat stress.

This research also highlights the importance of microclimatic conditions when evaluating climate for tourism, with thermo-physiological comfort varying up to 4°C within a coastal resort setting.

This research has received international recognition, including the Travel and Tourism Research Association’s Keeling Dissertation Award and the World Tourism Forum’s Young Talent Award. The results from this research can be accessed through the following publications:

Rutty, M. & Scott, D. (2013). “Differential climate preferences of international beach tourists,” Climate Research. 57: 259-269.

Rutty, M. & Scott, D. (2014). “Bioclimatic comfort and the thermal perceptions and preferences of beach tourists,” International Journal of Biometeorology, DOI:10.1007/s00484-014-0820-x

Rutty, M. & Scott, D. (2014). “Thermal Range of Coastal Tourism Resort Microclimates,” Tourism Geographies.