Arch in the sea along the Jurassic Coast

This research takes a new approach to the valuation of costal tourism destinations by considering the symbolic, spiritual or cultural properties alongside traditional economic valuations.

Harnessing Nature’s Benefits: Using the Concept of Subjective Wellbeing to Explore the Wider Values of Tourism in Dorset’s Coastal Areas


Dorset County Council

Project team

Cheryl Willis (PhD Researcher)

Professor Michael Winter
Dr Robert Fish
Dr Stewart Barr


CASE Award

About the project

This research explores innovative approaches to valuing the natural environment with specific reference to planning and policy processes that underpin strategies for regional tourism.  The research will look at how monetary values are widely held by policy and decision makers as a measure of tourism’s importance to an area and how such approaches have limitations in their ability to capture the intangible benefits that the natural environment provides. 

Intangible benefits include the arguably more nebulous qualities of nature such as its symbolic, spiritual or cultural properties.  

The research will consider how these wider sources of values can be set alongside traditional economic valuations of natural resources in planning and policy decisions.  The concept and methodologies of well-being will be explored in terms of what they can add to environmental valuation and how they contribute to a more holistic and nuanced understanding of how people experience the environment.

The research will be underpinned by empirical work which will be carried out through the tourist season of 2011 and will include an on-site survey, in-depth interviews and focus groups at three case study sites along Dorset’s Jurassic Coast.


  • Sustainable tourism planning
  • Governance and participation in planning processes
  • Environmental valuation and values underpinning quality of life, well-being and sustainable development
  • Relationships between the natural environment and human well-being



'Harnessing Nature’s Benefits: Recognising the Wider Value of Tourism through Wellbeing'

Showcase Event
Presentation slides - Willis  Short podcast - Willis 

'Harnessing Nature’s Benefits: Problems and Prospects for Recognising the Wider Value of Regional T ourist E conomies'

 PhD Researcher Seminar Series
 19/11/2010  Presentation slides - Willis Podcast not available