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Tourism demand and atmospheric parameters: non-intrusive observation techniques
In this study, we used images from webcam cameras and Argus video systems to examine how the behaviour of sun and beach tourists in Spain was influenced by the meteorological weather conditions. We applied a qualitative visual count method, which involved creating a bank of images and undertaking a classification of the density of use at each observation point. Thus, each image was assigned a density-of-use level. These results were then correlated with a range of meteorological variables and the physiological equivalent temperature (PET). Atmospheric conditions do have an impact on the behaviour of sun and beach tourists, and our study shows that the density of use of the beaches in Spain is controlled by solar radiation (the aesthetic facet) and the maximum temperature and PET (the comfort facet). The optimal thresholds of these meteorological variables for going to the beach were as follows: a maximum temperature between 28.83 and 31°C; a maximum PET between 34.5 and 38.8°C; a percentage of solar radiation at 13:00 h of at least 50%; a wind speed at 13:00 h of <8 m s−1 (or, at the most, <10 m s−1); and no rainfall or, at the most, <1 mm d−1 or a rainfall event with a duration of <60 min. The application of these thresholds for determining the degree of use of beaches during the year should lead to more accurate forecasts of the calendar of the tourist season and ensure that the basic tourist resources provided for beach tourism are managed more effectively during these periods, including the provision of services and safety facilities.