Do onshore wind farms harm tourism?
Onshore wind farms are effective clean energy solutions and a key tool in the green energy transition toolbox.
Yet, when onshore wind turbines are placed in rural areas, they are sometimes met with opposition by locals because of their perceived negative impact – including on tourism.
However, a 2020 UK study found that “there is no published evidence to support any hypothesis suggesting that onshore windfarms either negatively or positively impact on tourism in UK rural landscapes.”1
The academic study published in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism found that in fact, according to survey studies, “75-90% of tourist respondents display a neutral to positive attitude towards onshore windfarms in UK rural landscapes.
The study, which specifically examined tourism in the UK’s Northumberland region, found that whatever the perceived impacts of onshore wind farms on tourism and the local economy, the actual number of tourists steadily increased year over year from 2014 until 2020.
1) Tom Mordue, Oliver Moss & Lorraine Johnston (2020) The impacts of onshore windfarms on a UK rural tourism landscape: objective evidence, local opposition, and national politics, Journal of Sustainable Tourism.
2) Fáilte Ireland Visitor Attitudes on the Environment Wind Farms study 2012.