Europeans spend more than £700 billion a year on recreational visits to water bodies – but perceived poor water quality costs almost £90bn in lost visits, a new study has found. The new research – led by a European collaboration involving the University of Stirling and the University of Exeter – used data from 11,000 visits across 14 different countries to analyse the economic value of water bodies, such as rivers, lakes, waterfalls, beaches and seaside promenades. The research team estimated that people spend an average of £35 (€40) travelling to and from these sites, with a typical family making 45 such trips each year - with total European expenditure relating to trips to water-based settings in excess of £700 billion annually. However, they also found that people were much less likely to visit sites if the perceived water quality fell, at a cost of well over €100 bn per year. The finding highlights the importance of maintaining and improving high bathing water quality standards.
Source: University of Stirling