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Surfers set travel trends

Surfers are responsible for setting travel trends, a study has revealed.

The study from the University of Oxford has revealed that by promoting certain areas with good surfing could encourage economic growth in that area by around 2.2 percentage points a year.

Sam Wills, a co-author of the study and economist at University of Sydney, said: "We conducted four sets of experiments, and they all confirm that good waves significantly increase growth, particularly after recent discoveries and during El Niño years ...

"New spots will continue to be discovered and built; and will continue to grow in popularity as populous, wave-rich economies like Brazil and Indonesia consume more leisure ... Since the break was found the surfing world - amateur and professional alike - has descended into the desert to ride the relentlessly grinding waves."

The study also found that surfing's effect on economic growth is "concentrated in developing countries".

They wrote in the report: "Economic activity near high quality breaks grew faster than near low quality breaks from 1992-2013. Activity (proxied by night-time lights) increased overall, rather than simply being reallocated from nearby areas, and grew particularly faster in existing towns and in emerging economies.

"The permanent population fell near good breaks, which is consistent with tourism driving up property prices, but this was accompanied by urbanisation. These results are robust to a variety of controls including omitted geographic characteristics, overlapping breaks, wave-rich countries, and selection bias ...

"Surfing's effect on economic growth is concentrated in developing countries. We proxy the supply of tourist services by the country's ease of doing business, and demand for tourism by its political stability (with and without Australia and the USA). Growth near breaks is strongest when the ease of doing business is moderately high. Such countries may have a sufficient business environment that allows tourism to meet demand from surfers (unlike areas with the poorest business environment), without being too mature."The

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