Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Agriculture - Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management


Jerusha Greenwood


The purpose of this study was to explore Morro Bay residents’ attitudes toward tourism and knowledge about tourism in the three major tourism impact categories (economic, socio-cultural, and environmental). A mail-back questionnaire was hand-delivered during the winter of 2011 to 720 Morro Bay residents. In general, Morro Bay residents had slightly positive attitudes toward tourism in their community. The mean attitude score was 3.27 on a 5-point Likert type scale. The subjects had a relatively low level of tourism knowledge. The mean total indirect tourism knowledge score was 2.98 on a 5-point Likert-type scale. Residents’ total direct tourism knowledge score was 0.33 on a scale of zero to one. A multiple regression model was used to test for an association between residents’ knowledge about tourism, community attachment, socio-demographic variables, and residents’ attitudes toward tourism. The only variables that were associated with residents’ attitude toward tourism were: length of residency, interest in learning more about tourism, level of education, household income, subjective tourism knowledge, economic tourism knowledge, and environmental tourism knowledge. The two most significant variables were economic tourism knowledge and environmental tourism knowledge. Future research should test the effectiveness of different methods to increase residents’ tourism knowledge.