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Recreational travel as a function of urbanization and accessibility Wyne, Harold Murray

Abstract

The hypothesis for this study is that recreational automobile tourist patterns are urban-oriented and are a function of accessibility. British Columbia was chosen as a case study area in which this hypothesis could be tested. British Columbia was examined in terms of its accessibility by automobile from the rest of North America. Its internal characteristics were considered in relationship to its primary highway system. Tourist travel was analyzed in terms of American travel, regional points-of-origin of American and Canadian travellers, points-of-entry to British Columbia and regional distribution of traffic, regional distribution of tourist accommodation facilities and average traffic patterns. Published and unpublished studies conducted by the Federal and Provincial Governments were reviewed and pertinent data was extrapolated. The points-of-origin of most non-resident automobile tourists are the urbanized portions of the Pacific Coast of the United States and the province of Alberta. It is felt that these factors shall probably continue in the future, but that the demand for automobile recreational travel will continue to grow. Most automobile tourists visit British Columbia during the months of July and August. A relationship exists between ports-of-entry and time spent in the province which might, or might not, have a bearing on the propensity of tourists to travel deep into the province. It is felt that more convenient access to the Trans-Canada Highway, and to more northern points in the province from the southern interior, would increase the tendency of visitors to these areas, to travel north-wards. It was found that an increase in tourists entering the province at Prince Rupert occured in 1966. It is felt that this increase is largely attributable to improved access - the introduction of the Prince Rupert-Kelsey Bay ferry system in 1966, integrated with the already existing system joining the continental United States to Alaska. The loop tours made possible by recent improvements in the northern road system were found to coincide with a marked increase in travel to those regions. Recreational travel patterns in British Columbia were found to be urban-oriented and a function of accessibility, which agreed with the hypothesis of this paper and verified it. In view of this it is suggested that the Province of British Columbia might undertake the construction of a rationally conceived loop system of highways to serve tourism. It is felt that the role of accessibility, road geometries and split modes of travel (automobile and ferry) is worthy of more intense research.

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