A Closed Beach Affects Local Economies

Beach recreation is the foundation of the California coastal economy. Over 64% of Californians make at least one trip per year to the shore, 2.5 times the national average (Kildow and Colgan, 2006).

Publicly accessible beaches are often closed when there are changes in water quality or spills of hazardous substances within the water. Although closing a beach is meant to prevent illness, it directly and indirectly results in an economic loss for local businesses and the county where the beach is located. The following tables present the economic loss for hypothetical beach closures for a single beach located in Southern California.

What would happen if Huntington State Beach, CA closed for a day?

  • An estimated decrease of over 1,200 beach visits or person-days of beach use
  • A decrease in beach goer spending of almost $28,000.
  • Additional losses include:
Direct Effect (or direct economic loss) Total Effect to Surrounding Counties (or direct economic loss)
Sales/Output $22,000 $37,000
Value Added $12,500 $21,000
Income $12,000 $13,700
Jobs
(support for 1 year)
0.4 0.5

What would happen if Huntington State Beach, CA closed for a month?

  • An estimated decrease of over 38,000 beach visits or person-days of beach use
  • A decrease in beach goer spending of almost $864,000.
  • Additional losses include:
Direct Effect (or direct economic loss) Total Effect to Surrounding Counties (or direct economic loss)
Sales/Output $693,000 $1.1 million
Value Added $387,000 $662,000
Income $253,000 $425,000
Jobs
(support for 1 year)
11.5 15

The above results are estimated annual losses and are for the day-use component of total use only, so they are underestimates of the total economic impact. (Leeworthy et al., 2006)

Huntington state Beach

Huntington State Beach, CA, 2008.
Copyright © 2002-2008 Kenneth & Gabrielle Adelman, California Coastal Records Project, www.californiacoastline.org

 

For more information:

Southern California Beach Recreation Valuation Project: Summary

California Ocean Economy

Closer Look

Relevant Links

NOAA's Spatial trends in Coastal Socioeconomics (STICS)
http://stics.noaa.gov/

NOAA's Economics: National Ocean Watch (ENOW)
http://www.csc.noaa.gov/enow/explorer/

National Ocean Economics Program
http://www.oceaneconomics.org/