Map 8 - Bednights as an Indicator of Coastal Tourism

Maritime and coastal tourism can be both a source of economic benefit to a region but can also place pressures on existing communities, the natural environment and maritime heritage if not managed in the right manner. One suitable indicator that can be used to monitor and measure the impact of tourism is that of bednights. Bednights have the benefit that a tourist can only spend the night in one location at a time, whereas for trips, multiple locations can be visited in one trip and this can lead to double-counting in the data. Using commercial bednight data for Atlantic Area member states in the graph below shows that the trends in the last decade have been upwards for most states, after recovering from the 2008 financial crises which saw large drops in tourism numbers. The UK in the last two years of the data has seen a slight decrease in tourist bednights, but there is not enough data here to decide if this is linked to Brexit.
While data is not available for 2020, it is expected to show a vast decrease in tourism bednights due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to show Atlantic Area regions where tourism is an important element of the local economy and maybe most impacted by a loss of tourism bednights, bednights at hotels and other serviced accommodation were mapped. Using data gathered in the MOSES project at NUTS3 level for Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal and at NUTS2 level for the UK showing estimates of the number of bednights at hotels and other serviced accommodation (Measured as NACE 55.10) for the Atlantic Area region. Bednights at hotels and other serviced accommodation was used as this was considered the best data in terms of coverage across the Atlantic Area. The map below shows the results. Clearly, the Canaries region and Algarve have the highest levels of bednights due to their warmer climes. Also, regions with large cities are also highlighted including Lisbon and Dublin. While France and Spain are two of the EU’s largest tourist destinations it is likely that more of their coastal bednights are concentrated in their Mediterranean regions. However, this map does not show the dependence of regions on tourism and more analysis will be needed to assess this.