Unsustainable urban growth has put pressure on urban coastal areas and historical-cultural structures. As such, the important role of coastline sustainability has been revealed, and planners must protect historical-cultural coast characteristics in order to increase the quality of life of citizens. For this reason, this present study investigated the effects of existing coast characteristics and historical-cultural structure changes in recreation and tourism with respect to the Trabzon coastline in Turkey. Through literature and site survey, these effects were classified using specific coastal criteria which increase and decrease coastal use, and these were grouped by factor analysis. For the main criteria, the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) method was used, and for sub-criteria, the Elimination and Choice Expressing Reality (ELECTRE) method was employed, combining multi-criteria decision-making methods to generate a priority ranking for all criteria. Consequently, socialization, city promotion and service quality were revealed as the most effective criteria with respect to coastal use. The methods and the findings may significantly contribute to sustainable tourism planning for other urban coastal areas.