At the request of the Bellingham•Whatcom County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Western Washington University Office of Survey Research (OSR) surveyed residents of Whatcom County concerning their perceptions of tourism locally. The OSR conducted 606 telephone interviews during the period April 2 through April 22, 1997. The Convention and Visitors Bureau wished to measure citizen perceptions and knowledge of tourism and to assess what factors lead citizens to be more or less favorable toward tourism. The study is, in this sense, a baseline study of Spring, 1997 perceptions that may change over time. The particular questions asked in this survey were drawn from conversations with the board of the Bellingham•Whatcom County Convention and Visitors Bureau and from previously published research into residents' perceptions of tourism. The definition of tourism given to each respondent at the outset of the interview is "anyone who travels more than 50 miles, for business or pleasure, and stays overnight." That definition focuses findings on classically defined tourists, as opposed to visitors who stay only a short time to shop. This report presents the findings of the 1997 Bellingham•Whatcom County Tourism survey. It begins with residents' knowledge about tourism, perceptions of positive or negative impacts of tourism, and attitudes toward tourism. It then presents residents' perception of the relative value of several possible uses for economic development funds, including support for the expansion of tourism. The report then presents selected demographic background and other characteristics of the sample and summarizes the ways in which each characteristic is or is not linked to perceptions of tourism. Finally, the report presents the result of multivariate analysis of the "key predictors" of support for tourism, addressing the question of what factors lead residents to more favorable or unfavorable attitudes toward tourism.
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Simpson, Carl, "Report of the 1997 Survey of Citizen Perceptions of Tourism in Bellingham and Whatcom County" (1997). Office of Survey Research. Paper 600.