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Visitor Management


Abstract and Figures

There are many different types of visitors to protected areas. They may be official guests to a national park; researchers working in a strict nature reserve; volunteers assisting with a national park work program; educational groups learning about special natural or cultural heritage; or people who conduct their business within a protected area including contractors and shop owners. Importantly, visitors also include tourists and recreationists. In this chapter, we briefly examine the types of visitors protected area managers may need to deal with and management considerations associated with such visitor use. We, however, provide a focus on tourism and its management in this chapter. Depending on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) protected area category, tourism and recreation are common visitor uses of most protected areas and important contributors to local and national economies. As part of managing protected areas for tourists, we describe a management framework for providing a range of recreation opportunities within reserves, the provision of visitor services and facilities and management responses to visitor impacts.
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Principal authors:
Anna Spenceley, Jon Kohl, Simon McArthur,
Peter Myles, Marcello Notarianni, Dan Paleczny,
Catherine Pickering and Graeme L. Worboys
• Introduction
• The conservation imperative
• Visitor management
• Tourism management
• Recreation opportunities management
• Visitor services and facilities
• Visitor impact management
• Conclusion
• References
ANNA SPENCELEY is a consultant based in South Africa, Chair
of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World
Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Tourism and Protected
Areas Specialist Group and member of the Global Partnership on
Sustainable Tourism’s Group of Experts.
JON KOHL, based in Costa Rica, is Coordinating Facilitator of
the Public Use Planning Global Heritage Consortium as well as a
specialist in heritage interpretation and visitor experience design.
SIMON McARTHUR is a consultant based in Australia working on
special-interest tourism planning, feasibility and development. He
has developed sustainable tourism models in China, the Bahamas,
Australia and Canada.
PETER MYLES is based in South Africa, is registered with the UN
World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) as a tourism collaborator
and is a member of the steering committee that founded the
International Coastal and Marine Tourism Society.
MARCELLO NOTARIANNI is a consultant based in Italy, with
more than 16 years’ experience in sustainable development of
DAN PALECZNY is Director of Policy, Planning and Aboriginal
Relations with the Department of Environment in Yukon, Canada,
and a member of the WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas
Specialist Group.
CATHERINE PICKERING is a Professor in the Environmental
Connectivity Conservation and Mountains, and an Adjunct Fellow
in the Fenner School, The Australian National University.
Pema Bhutia and Katherine Turner prepared case studies for this
chapter. The use of extracts from research studies on wildlife and
protected areas published by the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative
Research Centre, Australia, is recognised here.
Spenceley, A., Kohl, J., McArthur, S., Myles, P., Notarianni,
M., Paleczny, D., Pickering, C. and Worboys, G. L. (2015)
‘Visitor management’, in G. L. Worboys, M. Lockwood,
A. Kothari, S. Feary and I. Pulsford (eds) Protected Area Governance
and Management, pp. 715–750, ANU Press, Canberra.
Visitors, Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, USA
Source: Graeme L. Worboys
23. Visitor Management
There are many different types of visitors to protected
areas. They may be official guests to a national
park; researchers working in a strict nature reserve;
volunteers assisting with a national park work program;
educational groups learning about special natural or
cultural heritage; or people who conduct their business
within a protected area including contractors and shop
owners. Importantly, visitors also include tourists and
recreationists. In this chapter, we briefly examine the
types of visitors protected area managers may need to
deal with and management considerations associated
with such visitor use. We, however, provide a focus on
tourism and its management in this chapter. Depending
on the International Union for Conservation of Nature
(IUCN) protected area category, tourism and recreation
are common visitor uses of most protected areas and
important contributors to local and national economies.
As part of managing protected areas for tourists, we
describe a management framework for providing a range
of recreation opportunities within reserves, the provision
of visitor services and facilities and management
responses to visitor impacts.
The conservation imperative
The International Union for Conservation of Nature
(IUCN) facilitated the development of an internationally
accepted definition of protected areas. This definition
states that a protected area is ‘[a] clearly defined
geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed,
through legal or other effective means, to achieve
the long-term conservation of nature with associated
ecosystem services and cultural values’ (Dudley 2008:8).
Every word of the definition is important (see Chapter 2)
and provides strong guidance for the management of
tourism within protected areas. Specifically, ‘dedicated’
means a binding commitment to the conservation
of nature for the long term for the protected area and
managed’ means active steps are being taken to conserve
the natural (and possibly other) values for which the
protected area was established. In addition, ‘long
term’ recognises protected areas should be managed
in perpetuity and not as a short-term or temporary
management strategy, and ‘nature’ always refers to
biodiversity, at genetic, species and ecosystem levels, and
often also refers to geodiversity, landform and broader
natural values (Dudley 2008). ‘Cultural values’ include
those that do not interfere with the principal biodiversity
conservation outcome (Dudley 2008).
This definition guides visitor and tourism management
in protected areas, and, drawing on Dudley (2008),
the following principles apply:
• conservation of biodiversity and other nature has
primacy in decisions
• any exploitation or management practice that will
be harmful to the objectives of designation must be
prevented or eliminated where necessary
• visitor and tourism management must operate
under the guidance of a management plan and a
monitoring and evaluation program that supports
adaptive management.
Visitor use of protected areas is an integral part of the
day-to-day operation of protected areas (Tables 23.1 and
23.2). Visitor use provides educational opportunities,
delivers recreational benefits, develops public support
for protection and may deliver benefits to resident and
local communities consistent with the other objectives
of management (Dudley 2008). Such use may be in
the form of low-impact scientific research activities and
ecological monitoring related to and consistent with
the values of the protected area for all IUCN protected
area categories (Dudley 2008). For some protected area
categories, tourism provides critical economic benefits.
IUCN Category II protected areas in particular provide
opportunities for visitor and tourism uses. The IUCN
provides strong guidance for visitor use of Category II
protected areas, and the supplementary objectives of
management for this category are ‘[t]o manage visitor use
for inspirational, educational, cultural and recreational
purposes at a level which will not cause significant
biological or ecological degradation to the natural
resources’, and ‘[t]o contribute to local economies
through tourism’ (Dudley 2008:16).
There is regularly a tension for protected area managers
and protected area agencies in managing these two
objectives for Category II areas and some other protected
area categories. Getting the balance right can be very
difficult, especially in the context of an often demanding,
pro-development and well-connected tourism industry.
The tension can include two world views. One is to
retain the natural condition of a destination for future
generations (supported by the purpose for establishing
the protected area) and the other is a tourism industry
perspective that believes it is ‘obvious’ for such a prime,
spectacular location to be developed for tourism. Often,
there can be no compromise if the intergenerational
natural condition of a destination is to be retained.
Pro-development lobbyists seeking access to prime
locations sometimes have described protected areas as
being ‘locked up’. Opposing an aspect of this claim of
Protected Area Governance and Management
course are the multi-million visits annually to protected
areas all around the world such as the Galápagos Islands,
Yellowstone National Park, Victoria Falls, Kruger
National Park and the Great Barrier Reef. Australia,
for example, with a population of 20.3 million people
in 2005, had 108 million visits to its protected areas
(Worboys 2007). ‘Locked up’ may also be a euphemism
for developments not being permitted in favour of
retaining natural values, which is of course the very
purpose of a protected area. In addition to being special
because they are undeveloped, protected areas’ natural
values actively and positively contribute to society in
multiple ways other than tourism every year (see Chapter
6). Under effective management (see Chapter 28) and
sustainable use, these benefits will not diminish; they
will contribute in perpetuity.
Visitor management
Types of visitors
Protected areas have been set aside to achieve the long-
term conservation of nature and the conservation of
ecosystem services and cultural values (Chapter 2).
Managers need to respond to and accommodate the needs
of official visitors to the protected area (Table 23.1) for
they typically will have special needs. This may include
special support services such as access, transport, utilities,
security and special administration needs. In addition to
such ‘official use’ by indigenous and local communities
and protected area agencies responsible for protected
area management (Table 23.1), visitor use of protected
areas, including tourism, helps managers to protect,
conserve and appreciate the values for which a protected
area is established (Table 23.2). Use of protected areas
is a cultural consideration (see Chapters 4 and 22) and
a number of types of use are considered appropriate.
The IUCN recognises six categories of protected areas,
the management objectives of which help to define
the purpose of each reserve (see Chapters 2 and 8).
This in turn helps to identify the types of visitor use
that are most appropriate for a particular protected area
(Table 23.2) (Dudley 2008). Tourism, for example, is
typically a special feature of IUCN Category II protected
areas though it is subordinate to the principal heritage
conservation objectives of these areas. Tourism itself
includes a wide range of uses (Table 23.2).
Visitors, Ban National Park, Canada
Source: Graeme L. Worboys
Geology students visiting and researching the
Jurassic Coast World Heritage Property and its
Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous geological
sequences, Dorset and East Devon Coast,
United Kingdom
Source: Graeme L. Worboys
23. Visitor Management
Table 23.1 Types of ocial visitors to protected areas (including Indigenous Peoples’ and Community
Conserved Territories and Areas, and Private Protected Areas)
Visitors Purpose of visit IUCN Protected Area Categories
Community members
responsible for a
protected area
All aspects of conservation management of a
community conserved area and indigenous lands
Local community
members, indigenous
peoples or private
operators involved in
a protected area
Potential ancestral or traditional community or a
sustainable use of natural resources from
(respectively) an indigenous area or a community
conserved area or a private protected area. This may
Protected area
Planning, monitoring, research, response to threats,
response to incidents, law enforcement, visitor
Protected area
Work program implementation such as pest animal
and soil erosion restoration
Protected area
Delegated work program implemented on behalf of a
protected area organisation
Military personnel Delegated program to protect heritage conservation
Community service
the protected area
Lessee Person or company with the legal right to
undertake certain use of a protected area such as
accommodation or guiding
Licensee Person or company with the legal right to provide
services within a protected area such as visitor
transport or waste disposal
Very important
area organisation or of the protected area
Source: Adapted from Dudley (2008)
Table 23.2 Indicative visitor use of protected areas
Type of visitor Type of visitor use IUCN Protected Area Categories
recognised and
Historic site maintenance and restoration
Walking track maintenance
Introduced plant removal
Fauna protection such as seasonal bird nesting site
protection surveillance
Visitor service support such as volunteer campground
wardens or guides
Researchers—such as those conducting a
biodiversity assessment
All aspects of natural heritage research including
baseline condition measurement, trends in condition
and ecosystem processes and social and cultural
heritage research
Protected Area Governance and Management
Type of visitor Type of visitor use IUCN Protected Area Categories
Commercial users
Visitor access services including pack animals,
bicycle, taxi, bus, aircraft, motor launch, snowmobile
and others
Tourists and
(sustainable use)
Education-focused visitors
Car-based sightseers, cycling, photography, painting
Picnicking, walking, bushwalking, camping
Nature study and cultural awareness
motorcycle routes
Sustainable use (such as management-approved
paragliding, hot-air ballooning
canoeing, boating, sailing, white-water rafting
Snow and ice-based skiers, snowboarders, ice climbers
Mountaineering and caving
Spiritual and cultural
endorsed and
Formal access to protected areas for spiritual,
ceremonial and cultural reasons such as traditional
access routes
endorsed and
Access to protected areas for commemorative
purposes such as visitors returning to sites of cultural
Source: Adapted from Dudley (2008)
‘Under the radar’ people
Some people visiting protected areas are not authorised
and do not want to be detected while present, including
those engaged in illegal and criminal activities. Such
activities include the unauthorised harvesting of natural
resources from protected areas (poaching, timber
harvesting, farming), the cultivation of drug crops such
as marijuana, and unauthorised people using the area as
somewhere to live.
Management considerations
There is wide variation in the official and visitor use of
protected areas. This immediately introduces a range of
management considerations (Table 23.3). Identifying
such visitor use management needs also exposes a key
principle: protected areas should always be the protected
natural destination where possible, with limited and low-
key infrastructure for visitors or other uses. Category V
protected areas of course are managed differently (see
Chapter 8). Exceptions may also occur for Category I–
IV protected areas for safety or logistical reasons such as
accommodation within some of the very large African
wildlife protected areas.
Safety considerations for visitors are critical.
Wild Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris) observation
from elephants (Elephas maximus), Bandhavgarh
National Park, India
Source: Ashish Kothari
23. Visitor Management
Table 23.3 Visitor management considerations for protected areas
Management considerations Notes
Policy and planning
Appropriate use Thereisaminimumacceptablestandardfortherespectfulvisitorandocialuse
of each protected area consistent with its values, purpose and objectives.
This needs to be articulated and communicated. It is especially relevant where
Diversity of recreation opportunities Ideally there will be a range of recreation opportunities available for a Category
II protected area. Some of these will deliberately include non-developed natural
Levels of service Protected area organisations need to identify the level of service they will
provide for visitor destinations. This typically will be linked to a risk-management
assessment, the recreation opportunity spectrum categories and the limits of the
available budget.
Supply and demand management Visitormarketingstrategiesandtheirinuenceondemandneedtobedirectly
linked to the ability to supply a reliable, high-quality destination.
Compatible economic
Protected areas play an important role in local economies. The challenge is to
maintain the quality of the protected destination so that the local areas always
Site quality Clean, well-designed, waste-free, weed-free, well-maintained, non-vandalised
and safe destinations are an integral part of protected areas that host visitors.
This requires constant work and investment by protected area organisations.
Information for visitors Basic information for visitors prior to their arrival to a protected area, information
during their visit and information after their visit are important investments.
This could be accommodation information for visiting researchers; map
information for hikers; wildlife observation location information for nature
of other information. The information may be delivered via a range of media.
Information about visitors Basic data about visitor use are critical for management. This may include basic
presence and absence data; volunteer hour contributions; customer service
feedback; visitor attitudes; and other data.
Quarantine requirements Strict quarantine requirements may be required for many protected areas and
especially Category Ia protected areas. This will help protect protected areas from
the spread of pathogens, weeds and pest animals.
Access A range of access may be provided in protected areas. Typically, it is carefully
planned. Access may be on foot, by support animals, by vehicle, by aircraft,
by boats and submersible vehicle and by a range of structures such as paths,
walkways, roads, tunnels and bridges.
Facilities A range of recreation facilities appropriate for a protected area and guided by
a planning framework may be provided. Typically, these are low key, and often
(or zones within them such as wilderness zones) will retain facility-free settings as
a basis for retaining a diversity of recreation opportunities.
Stasupport Well-informed, trained and uniformed entrance station attendants, information
that assist visitors to enjoy their time within a protected area. Learning about the
natural and cultural values of an area is a key feature of ecotourism and highly
valued by these visitors.
Quiet enjoyment With a focus on biodiversity conservation and nature, there is a basic expectation
that protected area visitors can participate and enjoy an environment that is
respectful of nature. Managers need to be sensitive to visitor enjoyment impacts
that include air pollution and noise.
Protected Area Governance and Management
Management considerations Notes
Crowd management Crowding may occur at popular destinations during peak times. Planned and
enforced visitor use limits for protected areas support ecologically sustainable
levels of use, and help to provide safe conditions by enabling access by
of social comfort.
Tensions between groups Onsomeoccasionstensionsmayarisebetweentwoormorepeopleorbetween
groups of people. Recreational opportunity planning and zoning can help to
minimise these situations. Booking systems for site use can help minimise tension
between groups.
Safety Visitor safety is paramount and vigilance is mandatory. Protected areas would
are adequately trained to deal with safety incidents and to ensure necessary
equipment or support is available, serviced and on standby.
Toilet facilities Toilet facilities are typically necessary within protected areas. They may range in their
sophistication; however, they always need to be clean and adequately maintained.
Revenue management Revenue management such as the collection of entrance or camping fees will
necessitate the handling of cash and other revenue and will bring with it security
and audit requirements.
Accommodation management Accommodation may be provided for tourists, visiting researchers and
for protected area workers. Accommodation management brings with it
responsibilities for booking, revenue management, cleaning, servicing,
maintenance and safety considerations.
Food and beverage Restaurant and self-catering facilities may be provided, either by the
administration or by a concessionaire or lessor. These can provide a rental to
protected area administrators, and provide a route for local employment and
Retail facilities Shops selling craft, gifts, maps, guidebooks, wildlife viewing equipment and food
items can be operated within protected areas. Such facilities will require support
services including utilities, security and health inspections.
Tourism management
Active tourism management in protected areas is crucial
to ensure that the natural and cultural resources they
protect can be enjoyed by future generations. It is
important to learn about the tourism industry and
the interests and behaviour of visitors to better plan
facilities and activities in protected areas and define the
right management strategies. Similarly, it is critical to
understand the range, types and intensities of impacts
from tourism and ways to prevent, minimise and
ameliorate them.
Tourism management in protected areas is crucial because
nature tourism can only be sustainable if the natural and
cultural assets are conserved. There are many examples
throughout the world of how tourism can be beneficial
by providing motivation and support for environmental
conservation. Indeed, without the financial incentive
for conservation derived from tourism, many public
sector bodies would probably pay less attention to the
protection of the natural environment (Swarbroke 1988).
The major risk of nature tourism is that it also threatens
to destroy the resources on which it depends. Therefore,
the impacts of visitation on these resources must be
carefully managed, directed and mitigated, and the key
issue is to determine what impacts are acceptable (Eagles
et al. 2002; Newsome et al. 2002). Learning more about
the tourism industry and the interests and behaviours
of these and other visitors is important for planning
tourism in protected areas and identifying the right
management strategies.
Denition of tourism
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation
(UNWTO 2014a) provides the following definitions.
• Travel/tourism: Travel refers to the activity of travellers.
A traveller is someone who moves between different
geographic locations, for any purpose and any
duration. The visitor is a particular type of traveller
and consequently tourism is a subset of travel.
23. Visitor Management
• Tourist: A visitor (domestic, inbound or outbound)
is classified as a tourist (or overnight visitor) if his/her
trip includes an overnight stay.
• Visitor: A visitor is a traveller taking a trip to a main
destination outside his/her usual environment, for
less than a year, for any main purpose (business,
leisure or other personal purpose) other than to be
employed by a resident entity in the country or place
visited. A visitor (domestic, inbound or outbound)
is classified as a tourist (or overnight visitor) if his/
her trip includes an overnight stay, or as a same-day
visitor (or excursionist) otherwise.
In relation to protected areas, in this chapter, we use
a more specific definition wherein a tourist refers to
someone who travels overnight from home for recreation
or pleasure and the activities that go with this, and
includes industries and services that aim to satisfy the
needs of tourists (Worboys et al. 2005).
Sustainable tourism
One of the outcomes of the Rio Earth Summit in 1992
was a global action plan called Agenda 21. In relation
to tourism, Agenda 21 promoted the formulation of
environmentally sound and culturally sensitive tourism
programs as a strategy for sustainable development
(UN 1992). The United Nations stressed the need for
a balanced approach to sustainable development, and
suggests that economic development, social development
and environmental protection are three interdependent
and mutually reinforcing components of sustainable
development (UN 1997). Elkington (1997) referred
to this simultaneous pursuit of economic prosperity,
environmental quality and social equity as the ‘triple
bottom line’ of sustainable development. As such,
sustainable tourism is defined as ‘[t]ourism that takes full
account of its current and future economic, social and
environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors,
the industry, the environment and host communities
(UNEP and UNWTO 2005:11–12).
Socially sustainable tourism in protected
Socially sustainable use may also have a heightened
sensitivity in protected areas, especially where there is the
potential for impacts to communities within protected
areas or where crowding may result in a less satisfying
visitor experience. Special attention needs to be given to
host communities such as in World Heritage sites with a
desire to retain the cultural integrity of these communities.
Financially sustainable tourism in
protected areas
The importance of sustaining tourism revenue for
an individual protected area and to a protected area
organisation ideally will be to help underpin quality
customer service, and safe and clean destinations.
Protected area managers need to be sensitive to business
needs—for example, the timing of management
operations such as burning off, pest animal control,
weed control and maintenance tasks can be scheduled to
avoid negative experiences for visitors.
Ecologically sustainable tourism in
protected areas
Some interpretations of ‘environmentally sustainable use’
focus on considerations such as air quality, water quality,
waste disposal and energy consumption. ‘Ecologically
sustainable use’ focuses attention on ecosystems and
biodiversity (CoA 1991). Tourism in protected areas
needs to be managed for environmentally and ecologically
sustainable outcomes. The World Heritage Convention
and associated Operational Guidelines (UNESCO 2011)
prescribe ecologically sustainable use for its natural World
Heritage properties in order to protect the inscribed
outstanding universal values. Operational Guideline 119
advises that the World Heritage properties may support
ecologically sustainable use provided that such use does
not impact adversely on the Outstanding Universal
Values (UNESCO 2011). Many such World Heritage
properties are protected areas.
The contribution of protected area management to
ecologically sustainable tourism (hereinafter described as
sustainable tourism) potentially includes:
• advising visitors of the special sustainable care being
implemented in the protected area and how they are
assisting with sustainable management
• providing special low-impact visitor use opportunities
such as assisting researchers with their data collection
in protected areas
• minimising impacts to natural destinations through
planning for recreation opportunities, determining
the nature of facilities to be provided (such as no
facilities in some locations) and establishing visitor
use planning limits for sites
• through good design and effective planning,
harmonising any facilities to the environmental and
social contexts of the protected area setting, and if
appropriate, maximising energy efficiency and the
use of renewable energy sources
• minimising impacts to native flora and fauna
through research, monitoring and adaptive visitor
use management and limits of use
Protected Area Governance and Management
• minimising energy consumption that contributes to
greenhouse gas emissions
• minimising, reusing and recycling solid and liquid
• minimising the consumption of freshwater resources
• with the tendering of licensed tourism opportunities,
providing preference to tourism operators who have
appropriate, recognised sustainable tourism industry
credentials (such as industry eco-certification or
awards for environmental management excellence)
• consistent with the protected area plan of
management, providing economic opportunities for
local communities and enterprises, including in the
ownership of tourism businesses, the provision of
products and services to the protected area and its
visitors, and employment within the protected area
• sensitive commercialisation of cultural attractions,
particularly those that are of interest to both tourists
and residents.
Protected areas are preferred destinations for millions of
people worldwide and of great interest to the tourism
industry. For many tourism operators, they are a prime
destination in which to secure revenue and achieve
profits for shareholders. Profits are the focus, with the
destination normally being a revenue resource. In the
absence of clear management guidelines, gaining legal
access to a protected area through a tourism lease or
licence can, over time, lead to incremental commercial
developments. Conscious, strategic and incremental
commercial decisions can transform a former natural
protected site to an urbanised site (Figure 23.1).
Such overcommercialisation of land and water in
Category II protected areas, for example, is creating
challenges in many parts of the world (Dudley 2008).
The management response is to ensure that the initial
leases or licences are rigorous and help to protect the
natural destination for the long term.
A way of considering protected area destinations
over time is Butlers model of a tourist product life
cycle (Butler 1980). Butler conceptualised a tourism
product life cycle in which products go through various
stages during their evolution including development,
consolidation, stagnation and potentially ending in
decline (Figure 23.2). The relevance of the destination
life cycle to protected areas is in developing sustainable
destinations and tourism products. This aim incorporates
an objective of avoiding the potential stagnation and
decline phases of the life cycle by emphasising stable
tourism use from economic, environmental, social and
cultural perspectives.
Crop out Reference ID: Chapter23- gure 1
Crop out Reference ID: Chapter23- gure 2
A high scenic waterfall destination
within a protected area is in a natural
The scenic waterfall destination
becomes a hiking destination, and a
rough vehicle access track is established
The access is improved and visitor
numbers increase and a small car park is
A large car-park is constructed at the
waterfall with leasing rights for the
provision of basic (mobile) refreshment
catering facilities
The catering lease is upgraded to a new
lease for on-site accommodation and
refreshments at the car park
The lease is further upgraded to permit a
restaurant, a fast food outlet, and a
campground at the car park and
accommodation site
Incremental development of a
protected area visitor destination by a
tourism operator for commercial
reasons over time.
Critical range
of elements of
Figure 23.1 Illustration of incremental, tourism operator-driven developments within protected areas, for
a hypothetical waterfall attraction
23. Visitor Management
Types of tourism operators
Working with tourism operators within protected
areas is a critical part of achieving sustainable tourism
outcomes. Every protected area tourism operation is
different, and while all operations are typically respectful
of their lease or licence requirements, protected area
management experience has shown that operators deal
with the protected status of the tourism destination in
different ways. Three paradigms of tourism operator
approaches to protected areas have been recognised and
are described here (adapted from Worboys et al. 2005).
Understanding these differences is especially important
for protected area managers who may be negotiating
legal agreements with tourism operators.
Ecotourism operation
An ecotourism operation within a protected area:
• is licensed to operate
• provides basic services such as accommodation,
access, transport and food
• runs on a commercial basis; some profits may
be returned to the protected area and to local
• has a corporate policy that affirms a commitment
to the environment, society, culture and the local
• has appropriate industry (or other) sustainable
tourism credentials
• has a pro-environment focus
• provides high-quality environmental education to
visitors, and also to local residents
• employs local people and purchases local products
and services to support the local economy
• invests in environmental management improvements
• works closely with managers to help protect the
protected area.
Routine tourism operation
A routine tourism operation within a protected area
• is licensed to operate
• provides basic services such as accommodation,
access, transport and food
• is professional in working with the protected area
• runs a ‘for profit’ operation
• provides some basic support information for visitors
• is not necessarily pro-protected area or pro-
• may make some occasional positive contribution to
the protected area
• has no permanent staff with environmental
Figure 23.2 Butler’s tourism destination lifecycle
Source: Adapted from Butler (1980)
Crop out Reference ID: Chapter23- gure 1
Crop out Reference ID: Chapter23- gure 2
A high scenic waterfall destination
within a protected area is in a natural
The scenic waterfall destination
becomes a hiking destination, and a
rough vehicle access track is established
The access is improved and visitor
numbers increase and a small car park is
A large car-park is constructed at the
waterfall with leasing rights
On-site accommodation is provided at
the leased car park
Restaurants, fast food and camping
ground are established at the car park
and accommodation site
Incremental development of a
protected area visitor destination by a
tourism operator for commercial
reasons over time.
Critical range
of elements of
Protected Area Governance and Management
Development-oriented tourism operation
A development-oriented tourism operation within
a protected area typically:
• has a lease or licence to operate
• provides basic services such as accommodation,
access, transport and food
• has a pro-commercial and profit-centred ideological
• provides lease or licence payments and undertakes
mandatory (legal) works
• utilises high-level legal and political support to
facilitate pro-commercial decisions within a protected
• views protected areas as a destination property for the
purposes of commercial gain only
• has low tolerance for environmental management
considerations and requests for conservation actions
• provides tourism-based employment
• provides an efficient service for visitors
• has no permanent employee expertise in
environmental management.
Tourism operations (businesses) within protected
areas are typically bought and sold over time.
When negotiating longer-term leases for tourism
operations, protected area managers must always
negotiate terms and conditions as if they are dealing with
a development-oriented tourism operation.
Numbers and types of tourists
The UNWTO has forecast annual growth in international
tourism arrivals of 4 per cent per annum from 2013 to
2020. In 2013, there were 1.087 billion international
arrivals (UNWTO 2014b). This forecast growth has
direct ramifications for protected area managers around
the world who will need to actively manage tourism
within protected areas.
There is a wide range of tourism sectors that relate to
protected areas including mass tourism, nature-based
tourism, adventure tourism, ecotourism, conservation
tourism, cultural tourism, volunteer tourism, educational
tourism and religious tourism.
Mass tourism is synonymous with large numbers of
visitors undertaking activities with limited differentiation
and limited immersion in authenticity. Visitors typically
switch off’ and become ambivalent to their surroundings
and any host expectations. Consequently, mass tourism is
less likely to achieve protected area management objectives
than some of the niche tourism sectors outlined below.
Nature-based tourism is described as all forms of tourism
that ‘use natural resources in a wild or undeveloped
form—including species, habitat, landscape, scenery and
salt and fresh-water features. Nature tourism is travel for
the purpose of enjoying undeveloped natural areas or
wildlife’ (Goodwin 1996:15).
Adventure tourism is a form of nature tourism that
incorporates an element of risk, higher levels of physical
exertion and often the need for specialised skills—for
example, white-water rafting in Grand Canyon National
Park, USA (Buckley 2006).
Ecotourism is a subset of nature tourism with stronger
ethics. It has been defined by The Ecotourism Society
as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the
environment and improves the wellbeing of local people
(TIES 1990), and by Frangialli (2001:4) as ‘all forms of
tourism in which the tourists’ main motivation is the
observation and appreciation of nature, that contributes to
the conservation of, and that generates minimal impacts
upon, the natural environment and cultural heritage’.
Conservation tourism takes some of the ethics of ecotourism
even further, and has been defined as tourism that operates
as a conservation tool—making an ecologically significant
net positive contribution to the effective conservation
of biological diversity (Buckley 2010). Conservation
tourism involves the tourist in conservation activity for
part or most of their experience. It can be offered by
tour operators, accommodation operators and attraction
operators. One of the best-known examples is where land
Ecotourists and guides on a rainforest guided tour,
Amazon headwaters, Ecuador
Source: Graeme L. Worboys
23. Visitor Management
with high conservation significance and a historical use
for grazing or agriculture is purchased, rehabilitated and
managed for protected area conservation such as game
reserves in Africa and Australian Wildlife Conservancy
properties in Australia.
Cultural tourism is a tourism segment that focuses
on the culture of a country including history, art,
architecture and religion. It had its origins as part of the
grand tour’ of the European continent by the aristocracy
in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries (Chee et al. 1997).
It can also include tourism in rural areas and protected
areas that showcase cultural heritage such as ancient
art sites, historic buildings and intangible heritage.
Intangible cultural heritage comprises ‘those practices,
expressions, knowledge and skills as well as associated
objects and cultural spaces that communities and
individuals recognise as part of their cultural heritage
(UNWTO 2012:2).
Any type of holiday that includes voluntary service in the
destination is considered volunteer tourism. The tourist
does not receive any type of financial compensation
while undertaking various types of work, and in many
cases, must provide financial contributions. Volunteers
at Montague Island Nature Reserve in New South Wales,
for example, pay a fee to assist with volunteer work on
the island (Pacey 2013).
Educational tourism involves travel to participate in
educational experiences locally and overseas, but not
enrolment in a study program abroad for credit. Many
volunteer organisations that are mission driven offer
learning trips for school groups (at all educational
levels, and in some cases for adults) in which they
gain practical experience in some cultural, scientific
or community development fields including protected
areas. The private Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in
Costa Rica, for example, has a major educational focus
(TSC 2014), as do most Category II protected areas.
Religious tourism, or faith tourism, is where people travel
for pilgrimage, missionary or leisure purposes, such as
access to important sites within the Great Himalayan
National Park of India in respect of important religious
ceremonies (Weaver and Lawton 2002).
Other types of tourism that may involve private protected
areas and Category V and VI protected areas in particular
include rural tourism, agrotourism and consumptive
tourism (where wildlife or plants are collected, hunted
or fished on a managed and sustainable use basis).
Recreation is activity voluntarily undertaken primarily
for pleasure and satisfaction, during leisure time, and is a
regular feature of protected areas (Worboys et al. 2005).
For the purposes of this chapter, the term tourism is
taken to also refer to recreation.
Domestic versus foreign tourists
According to the UNWTO (2014a), inbound tourism
comprises the activities of a non-resident visitor within
the country of reference on an inbound tourism trip.
Internal tourism comprises domestic tourism plus
inbound tourism, encompassing the activities of resident
and non-resident visitors within the country of reference
as part of domestic or international tourism trips.
Outbound tourism includes the activities of a resident
visitor outside the country of reference, either as part of
an outbound tourism trip or as part of a domestic tourism
trip. Finally, international tourism comprises inbound
tourism plus outbound tourism, including the activities
of resident visitors outside the country of reference, as
part of either domestic or outbound tourism trips and
the activities of non-resident visitors within the country
of reference on inbound tourism trips.
Same-day versus overnight tourists
Overnight tourists and day visitors will engage in
different types of activities in protected areas, depending
on their time availability and the facilities or products
offered by the destination. Knowing how many visitors
are same-day or overnight is important to help assess the
types of accommodation, infrastructure and services that
should be provided outside protected areas and for day
destinations within parks.
Visitors, Ta Prohm Temple, Angkor, Cambodia
Source: Graeme L. Worboys
Protected Area Governance and Management
Organised tours versus independent
Tourists can be part of organised tours or independent
travellers. Potential protected area visitors could
purchase a tour package from a local tour operator or
travel agent, or through their hotel or all-inclusive resort
or increasingly via the internet. Protected areas offer
tourism companies the opportunity of adding value
to the excursions they offer, and for many specialist
tour operators, visits to high-quality sites with global
recognition can be important for sales. Organised group
tours will usually be led by licensed tour operators who
are often responsible for clearly conveying to travellers
information about their rights and obligations when
visiting a protected area.
Some visitors may be free independent travellers who
have made arrangements based on word-of-mouth,
online social network recommendations or suggestions
from a local hotel, guidebook, tourist information office
and/or official websites. In some cases, it can be harder
to manage the actions of individual tourists than those
on organised tours in protected areas.
Working with the tourism industry
Setting the context
Protected area managers’ work with the tourism industry
typically starts with understanding needs, expectations
and opportunities. Working together requires clear
recognition that tourism in protected areas must be
consistent with the goals of the protected areas, including
the primacy of conservation objectives and recognition of
the costs and benefits associated with tourism in protected
areas. Costs include providing and maintaining tourism
infrastructure and the environmental impacts of tourism
(including the costs of minimising impacts and restoring
damage once it occurs). Benefits include social and
economic outcomes—for example, local employment and
procurement, and local social service benefits.
What tourism operators need from
protected area managers
The tourism industry needs safe, reliable, clean,
accessible, well-managed and customer-friendly
tourism destinations for their customers. They need the
administration of their leases and licences to be orderly
with long lead times for any changes (for example, to
fees) to be respected. Protected area operations that could
impact on tourism, such as roadworks, fire fuel reduction
programs and pest animal and weed control programs,
could be undertaken during times of low visitor use if
possible. Such courtesies would form part of a healthy
and positive partnership with tourism operators. Beyond
these key needs are many more related and supporting
requirements, such as to provide and maintain access-
based infrastructure; basic visitor facilities to enjoy
the protected area, such as shelter and amenities; and
relevant and interesting information and interpretation
about the protected area for visitors.
What protected area managers need
from tourism operators
Protected area managers have multiple responsibilities
and are focused on a range of issues. They are assisted
if tourism operators within the park can help with
management by:
• communicating to their guests a message of the
importance of the protected area and the work done
behind the scenes by the managers that keeps the area
• identifying any special help from guests that could
protect the area—for example, not touching cave
• identifying how their business is positively
contributing to the improved management of the
protected area
• respecting requests for protection of the reserve.
Benets of well-managed tourism to
protected areas
Well-managed tourism can contribute to protected area
management by:
• raising the profile of the protected area at local,
national and international levels
• bringing visitors to the protected area, particularly
people needing services and facilities to make the
• interpreting the values, conservation issues and
management issues for visitors
• providing economic justification for declaring and
managing the protected area (generating visitor
spending, employment and investment in the
protected area or surrounding community)
• providing financial support to protected areas
through payment of charges and fees
• providing human resource support through
conservation tourism activity
• providing political support for the conservation of
the protected area, and the resourcing needed to do
this effectively.
23. Visitor Management
Planning collaboration with the tourism
The broad range of travel and tourism enterprises and
tourists means that protected area managers will need
to consider an array of strategies for collaborating with
the tourism industry—there is not one standard model
for developing such relationships, and each case needs
to be considered in context (UNEP 2005). Because of
the way the tourism industry is organised, outbound
tour operators (or international tourism companies
such as cruise lines) do not often have direct links with
protected areas. While inbound tour operators generally
have some links, locally based companies are likely to
have the closest links with any nearby protected areas
(Figure 23.3).
Strategies and activities for connecting protected
area managers with the tourism industry will also be
determined by how visits to a specific protected area
are organised and how tourists learn about the area.
The following three scenarios are a starting point for
considering which strategies may be most suitable for
working with the tourism industry (UNEP 2005).
1. If tourists come as part of a package bought
abroad then connections with international tour
operators—initially by making links with the local
inbound operators that international companies
useare likely to be important.
2. If travellers purchase their trip or tours locally, links
with local tour operators and travel agents will be
more suitable.
3. If tourists are organising their own trip, links with
local hotels, tourism information offices, visitors’
centres, websites, social media and traveller web
forums will be most important.
It is also relevant for managers to take into account
whether they want to be ‘actively’ engaged in tourism
by creating and managing tourism products and services
themselves, or more ‘passively’ involved by hosting
activities that are operated by others (for example, using
concessions and managing contracts in outsourcing).
Leases and licences
A structured and clear framework for tourism within a
protected area helps set expectations and creates space for
opportunities. At the most basic level are legal contractual
tools that a manager uses to approve a tourism operator
accessing the protected area. Examples of these include
concessions, permits, licences and leases. These contracts
set the expectations for operation and any fees required.
They have fixed time frames and may be extended with
a simple payment or may require regular reviews and
Tourism policy and plans
At a more advanced level are tourism policies and
plans for protected areas. These shift management
from reactive to proactive management by introducing
strategic approaches to making tourism more sustainable.
These can be integrated within management plans for a
protected area or may be stand-alone documents.
Tourism policies can address:
• the rationale for permitting tourism in protected
• the types of tourism and activities permitted
• sustainable tourism elements, including conservation
and local economic impact
• preferred types of tourism and activities
• contractual requirements
• fee collection.
Figure 23.3 Scales of tourism businesses
Source: Adapted from UNEP (2005)
Crop out Reference ID: Chapter23- gure 3
Crop out Reference ID: Chapter23- gure 4
Outbound Tour
Specialist Tour
Hotel Chains
Cruise Lines
Travel Agencies
Travel Agencies
Inbound Tour
Operators and
Ground Handlers
National Travel
National Hotel
Locally Owned
Local Retail
Businesses and
Service Providers
Guest House, B&B
and Small Hotels
Local Travel
Bars and
1,500km of coastline along the most westerly point of Australia oering extraordinary migratory seasonality linked
with climatic change unique to the area. Some of the clearest skies in the world to view Stromatolites, Mt Augustus,
national parks oering biodiversity in megafauna, species and phenomenal marine life. Whale Sharks, Manta Rays and
Turtles nest along Ningaloo Coast. There are sea grass beds within a coral fringing reef, home to Dugongs. The contrasts,
isolation and interaction make this landscape a truly unique World Heritage Area.
Climatic conditions evolved over thousands of years have created a visual
splendour of extraordinary contrasts between ocean and land, earth and sky. The remoteness
has protected the landscape now oering a spectacular array of marine life and other land-
based national parks that cannot be viewed in the same way anywhere else in the world.
Wild, contrasting, innocent, raw, passionate and caring,
down-to-earth and friendly. Very engaging and earthed. No pretences.
Raw, remote, free, abundant,
accessible, innocent
Uninhibited freedom
Protected Area Governance and Management
Tourism plans can address:
• current and forecast visitation
• current visitor profiles and desired target markets
• current tourism impacts and ways to minimise them
• improvements to tourism infrastructure and services
• improvements to interpretation
• zoning for different forms and levels of tourism
• locations for new tourism investment, facilities or
• ideas for new tourism experiences.
Tourism revenue
Many protected area management agencies lack the funds
to properly respond to tourism needs and management
(Emerton et al. 2006a). Funds are typically larger in
developed than developing countries, and often funds
are greater where tourism activity and development are
concentrated. The cost to manage these areas is, however,
higher—typically cancelling out the gain. Under the
principle of user pays, funds to manage tourism can be
raised from direct and indirect sources.
Entry fees
The most common revenue from tourism is a direct entry
fee to enter the protected area (Font et al. 2004), though
revenue is also raised from activity fees. Protected areas
with significant tourism concentration areas can attract
40–60 per cent of their funds from user fees (UNWTO
1995; Emerton et al. 2006b).
A major challenge is ensuring that the funds are reinvested
into protected area management. Many governments
transfer the collected funds into their centralised revenue
management and do not equate redistributions to original
income, so at best, one protected area pays for another,
and at the greater extreme, protected area revenue may
contribute to unrelated whole-of-government services,
such as defence. Other governments use the fees to
reduce their traditional allocation to the protected
area, so if visitor fees decrease, management is left
significantly underfunded. Park agencies permitted to
manage their own funds are typically more autonomous,
entrepreneurial and efficient (Phillips 2000; Lockwood
et al. 2006). One protected area organisation, the
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service of Australia,
for example, negotiated a formula with the NSW
Government by which they retained revenue raised and
were not overtly penalised for new revenue collection.
The second major challenge with collecting entry fees
is to ensure the cost of collection is significantly lower
than the revenue generated. It is often uneconomical to
collect fees in remote areas, while in seasonal areas, it is
often economical to charge in the peak period and not in
the low season. If the profit margin is small, it is difficult
to show where the revenue has been invested, reducing
stakeholder support for the charge.
The third challenge is to set fees that reflect levels of
use and subsequent management costs. A flat entry fee
is often not seen as fair, because some visitors use the
area more than others, create greater negative impacts
than others or create more demand on management
than others. Some alternatives to a standard entry fee are
provided (Table 23.4).
Though more complex to manage, a user fee is more
effective than an entrance fee because the price is better
matched to use and subsequent management.
Exuma Cays, Bahamas, marine protected
replenishment area: visitor fees collection box
Source: Simon McArthur
23. Visitor Management
Table 23.4 Alternative methods for entry charges
Alternative Explanation Example
Charging for time Charging a day rate, with more for an overnight stay A car park with time-based parking
amounts to use
Charging more for costly management areas and
less for low-cost areas, or more for visiting or using
highly desirable areas
Higher pricing for beachfront camping
than inland camping
User fee Charging more for activities requiring more
infrastructure and management
Higher pricing for snow skiing entry
compared with summer visitors
Higher price for those
Higher price for international visitors, discounted fee
for nationals, free entry for locals
Charging more for international visitors
than for national or local visitors
Charging for peak and
Charging higher rates for entry during the most
popular time of the year
Higher fees during holiday periods,
or for skiers, during winter months
Table 23.5 Methods for collecting revenue from the tourism industry
Operator charge Explanation Ideal tourism sector
Permit fees A small charge is levied annually or as needed For irregular operations, such as events
and functions, and very small seasonal
businesses and activities
Concessions and
licence fees
A modest charge is levied on an annual basis
as part of a licence that documents how the
operation can occur within the protected area.
provisions, thus providing opportunities for
higher returns
For regular small to medium-sized
operations, such as transport and tour
Lease-based rental Axedamountofrentischargedona
monthly or quarterly basis, usually increased
with exclusivity provisions, thus providing
opportunities for higher rentals
as accommodation (resort, lodge, tented
camp), food and beverage (restaurant,
function centre, cafe), attraction (adventure
(airport, port, marina and trains)
Turnover charge/
amount, the operator pays a proportion of
the additional turnover to the protected area
For businesses with potential to grow—
particularly through cooperative ventures
with protected area management
Shared service
The operator agrees to undertake roles that
would otherwise be done by the protected
For businesses that can provide services
employee roles, sharing infrastructure
and equipment—for example, road and
trail maintenance, amenity cleaning and
maintenance, interpretation provision and
basic conservation activities
Operator charges
Tourism businesses operate within and make money
from using protected areas. Protected area managers,
therefore, have a legitimate right to charge the operator
for their use of the area. Some of the ways that revenue
can be drawn from operator charges are described
(Table 23.5).
Many operators will gladly consider shared agreements to
reduce costs they would otherwise pay to the protected
area manager. Greater use of this approach would
jointly benefit tourism and protected area management.
Most tourism businesses accept being charged, but
like visitors, they expect to see the funds reinvested in
protected area management and services where the
revenue is raised. When the protected area organisation
increases operator fees with less than a years notice, there
Protected Area Governance and Management
are significant impacts on business. Operators have long
lead times for third-party bookings, so they have already
set pricing and received payment for products sold and
any increase in charges cannot be recouped.
Protected area agency commercial
Some protected area management agencies choose to
run their own commercial tourism business and collect
revenue through business profit such as SANParks in
South Africa (SANParks 2011). Protected area agencies
can operate anything that the tourism industry does,
including equipment hire, sale of food and beverages
and merchandise, and guiding. Agencies usually choose
to operate the business because:
• they believe they can make more revenue than
the operator (due to them having a competitive
• there is little interest or capacity from the industry
• the agency wants to maximise control over the
product or service.
Clear policy and procedures and strong management
are needed to ensure a transparent, fair and non-corrupt
operating environment (Font et al. 2004).
Marketing of protected areas needs to be actively
managed by a protected area organisation. Through
such management, the important relationship between
the supply of destinations within a protected area system
and the demand for their use can be professionally
managed. It is one important way in which protected
area organisations ensure that destinations are not
overrun by too many tourists with consequent impacts
on biodiversity values and site degradation. It can also
assist the long-term social and financial aspects of a
sustainable tourism industry by guaranteeing the supply
of high-quality visitor experiences. How, when and
where protected area destinations are marketed should
not be just delegated to the tourism industry; there needs
to be a positive and active working partnership between
tourism organisations and protected area organisations.
Marketing is one of the most powerful tools for
effective visitor and tourism management. Marketing is
much more than promotion and sales; it is the task of
creating, promoting and delivering goods and services to
consumers and businesses (Kotler 2003). Conventional
marketing is based on the five ‘Ps’ (Aaker 1995).
1. What services and experiences to offer to whom
2. How much to charge, to whom and under what
terms and conditions (price).
3. Where to offer the product (place).
4. Who will deliver the product and how will they
treat the customer (people).
5. How to raise awareness and interest in the product
We focus here on the following strategic elements to
effective marketing:
• visitor and market research
• market segments
• destination branding and positioning
• effective promotion.
Visitor and market research
No two visitors are the same in respect of who they are,
what they want, what they did, what they thought of
the protected area and whom they told about it. Visitor
research is designed to answer these questions and
subsequently empower managers with the knowledge of
what to offer to whom and why. Without this knowledge,
protected area managers end up trying to be ‘all things
to all people’, impressing few people and becoming
totally frustrated themselves. Some of the visitor research
tools available to protected area managers are presented
(Table 23.6). Visitation counting and straightforward
questionnaires are typically completed by the protected
area manager, while the other more sophisticated tools
are typically completed by tourism and market research
consultants. In choosing a tool, managers need to weigh
up the typical trade-off between cost-effectiveness and
the degree of insight and revelation that can be reliably
generated. Getting expertise to help determine this is a
small but often worthwhile investment.
23. Visitor Management
Table 23.6 Visitor research tools
Visitor research tool Strengths Limitations
Visitation counting Counting visitor numbers provides
indications of the level of use, and to
some extent the nature of use (timing,
length of stay, group size)
Visitation counting provides baseline
data to identify historical trends,
forecasts and for economic and
If used on its own, a reliance on visitor numbers
can be dangerous, because it encourages thinking
that all visitors are the same
Counting is rarely accurate and has generated
some huge misperceptions (for example, visitation
can seem to increase when in fact the increase is
due to the introduction of more counters)
Behavioural observations Very useful at exploring what is
unknown, for another research tool
to use as a frame of reference to
formulate its structure. Generally used
to map where a person goes, what
they do and for how long they do it.
Structured observations anticipate
behaviour and log data into tables that
can be further quantitatively analysed.
Unstructured observations regard
whatever happens and may use
qualitative analysis
Generally human resource dependent, which
makes it expensive, particularly when there are
few visitors about and the observer still needs
to be paid. Requires careful analysis afterwards
Questionnaires Preset questions are typically
administered on paper, online or face-
to-face, providing a high degree of
control over the data and the ability to
easily analyse and compare results,
including statistical testing
Poorly written questionnaires generate poor and
incorrect question order, irrelevant optional choice
answers and poorly phrased questions. Results
can be manipulated or misinterpreted to suit the
researcher’s objectives
Face-to-face interviews Similar to a face-to-face questionnaire,
but generally uses fewer questions.
The objective is to get the respondent
talking more freely and therefore
discover more in-depth information,
such as the underlying cause of issues
or how a solution could be developed
and implemented
Generally human resource dependent, which
makes it expensive, particularly for time spent
travelling to each respondent for an interview.
Dependent on selection process choosing the
most appropriate interviewees, which are not
Focus groups Building on the face-to-face interview,
having a group of people can generate
greater discussion and revelation,
as people add value to each others’
Much more expensive than questionnaires, and
requires considerable preparation to structure the
discussion, considerable facilitation expertise and
considerable time afterwards to analyse the results
Social media Analysis of social media data about
protected area destinations is an
important information source
User and recommendation data are available, for
example, from software applications such as Yelp
Sources: Adapted from Hall and McArthur (1998); Yeo (2005)
Market research samples non-visitors or past visitors to a
protected area. Some of these people could be persuaded
to become visitors, and some may even be a better match
to the protected area than some of the existing visitors.
Protected area managers use market research to identify
profiles for these non-visitors (particularly their needs
and wants) and then determine which profiles could
be considered potential visitors for whom to design
experiences and attract to the protected area. Since
non-visitors are more difficult to find and interact with,
market research typically uses online questionnaires to
identify potential markets and then focus groups to
further research needs and test new ideas. This work
is sometimes done by tourism and market research
consultants contracted by the protected area manager.
Market segments and target markets
Mass marketing is where there is mass production, mass
distribution and mass promotion of one product to
everyone (Tynan and Drayton 1987). Mass marketing
creates the largest potential market, which leads to
the lowest potential costs, which in turn can lead to
lower prices or higher margins (Aaker 1995; Dibb and
Simkin 2009). Mass marketing does not work for
protected areas because their legislation prevents them
Protected Area Governance and Management
from being ‘all things to all people’. Mass marketing
can result in some people coming to a protected area
wanting to undertake activities that can compromise the
place and other visitors.
The alternative is to break the mass market down into
market segments, and choose the segments whose needs
best match the product—the target markets (Hunt and
Arnett 2004; Yeo 2005). Beyond this, the manager can
focus experiential development, promotion and pricing
on the needs of the target market. Visitor monitoring
can then include questions to identify respondents,
reflecting the characteristics of the target markets, and
then treat their responses to other questions with greater
importance (such as satisfaction and likelihood to return
or refer a visit).
A market segment is a group of people with similar
characteristics—especially a similar set of needs
(Yankelovich and Meer 2006). Market segments are
typically broken into:
• geographic (residence and workplace by local area,
region, State, country or continent)
• demographic (age, gender, family size, life cycle,
income, occupation, education, and so on)
• psychological (attitudes, risk, motivation, and so on)
• psychographic characteristics (lifestyle, activities,
interests, opinions, needs and values)
• behavioural (brand loyalty, usage rate, benefits sought
and used).
The tourism industry typically uses segmentation based
on geographic and demographic characteristics, because
they are simple and cheap to use. These characteristics,
however, have limited value when developing a protected
areas brand, positioning, product or experience, because
they are too generic. Market segmentation offers a
number of practical uses for the protected area manager,
including being able to:
• define the market from a consumers point of view
• rationalise policies for existing brands and products
(to improve competitiveness and market share)
• position a range of brands and products
• identify gaps in the market that offer new
opportunities (Lunn 1978, cited in Tynan and
Drayton 1987).
It is possible to develop a questionnaire to determine
which market segments visitors to a protected area come
from. Another practical way to use market segments is
to monitor the representation of target markets versus
other markets within the visitors to a protected area.
Destination branding and positioning
A brand is the source of a distinctive promise for
customers from a product, service or place (Baker
2012). Determining a brand for a protected area is more
complex than most managers anticipate and it is also an
initiative whose appropriateness needs to be carefully
considered. Fundamentally, any brand developed for a
protected area needs to be consistent with its protected
area status. For a specific destination within a protected
area, the brand also includes how people interpret the
destination for themselves (Aaker 1997), so considerable
consultation and market research are needed to
understand how people perceive an area and the brand.
From consultation and research, a brand pyramid is
created (Figure 23.4). The bottom two levels of the
pyramid are the obvious attributes of the destination
and the visitor benefits. Then the distillation starts and a
brand personality is created. From this brand personality
come brand value and subsequently the brand essence.
The brand essence is the heart and soul of the brand,
and is often reflected by a concise phrase or tagline. For
example, the brand essence for Parks Victoria (Australia)
is ‘Healthy Parks, Healthy People’. Other elements
include a logo, photographic image, writing style, fonts
and colours.
Helping to communicate the brand is a unique set of
visual, auditory and other stimuli that shape market
perceptions. Two of the most useful communication
elements for a protected area are the tagline and a single
photograph, both of which need to be used relentlessly
and consistently. A logo is not critical to marketing a
protected area (but it is important for branding the
agency). Everything a protected area manager does
in collaboration with their partners and stakeholders
should be designed to constantly deliver this marketing
perception. The more people are aware of a brand, the
more value or equity it has, and therefore the more an
agency can use it to drive their own objectives. The
brand can also be very useful as a frame of reference for
considering the development of new visitor experiences
by asking: does it reflect or dilute our brand?
Once the manager has developed the brand, they need to
position it. For the protected area manager, positioning
is the art of developing and communicating meaningful
differences between the offerings of their area and
those of their competitors serving similar markets
(Baker 2012). Alternative ways to position a protected
area are described (Table 23.7). The key to deciding on
position is the alignment between sustainable protected
area tourism opportunities and the needs of the market.
23. Visitor Management
Table 23.7 Positioning a protected area
Positioning alternative Example for a protected area
Uniqueness attribute Afeaturethatisthebiggest,smallest,highest,shortest,oldest,fastest,mostprolic,
most dangerous, most venomous or an excellent representative of its class, and so on
Scarcity Rare, vulnerable, endangered
Under attack, disappearing
Product class Uselocal,regionalornationalsignicancelisting
Use World Heritage inscription
Userneedorbenet Clean air or water, lack of crowds, sense of freedom, connection to family heritage
Lifestyle association Adventurer,condent,risk-taker
Famous contemporary
association with the product
Value for money Compare interpretative experience and price to that of a movie in the cinema or entry
to an amusement park
Positive feedback Use high level of positive feedback to suggest if it worked so well for previous visitors
it should for future ones
Source: Hall and McArthur (1998)
Promoting a visitor experience
The tourism industry has traditionally seen its role
as the provider of saleable tourism products, such
as tours, attractions, accommodation or restaurants.
Most protected area managers have traditionally seen
their role as the acceptance of certain activities and
the provision of visitor infrastructure and facilities
supporting them. Over the past decade there has been
a move for both sectors to put more effort into the
creation, marketing and occasional reinvigoration of
tourism experiences (Wearing et al. 2007).
Crop out Reference ID: Chapter23- gure 3
Crop out Reference ID: Chapter23- gure 4
Outbound Tour
Specialist Tour
Hotel Chains
Cruise Lines
Travel Agencies
Travel Agencies
Inbound Tour
Operators and
Ground Handlers
National Travel
National Hotel
Locally Owned
Local Retail
Businesses and
Service Providers
Guest House, B&B
and Small Hotels
Local Travel
Bars and
1,500km of coastline along the most westerly point of Australia oering extraordinary migratory seasonality linked
with climatic change unique to the area. Some of the clearest skies in the world to view Stromatolites, Mt Augustus,
national parks oering biodiversity in megafauna, species and phenomenal marine life. Whale Sharks, Manta Rays and
Turtles nest along Ningaloo Coast. There are sea grass beds within a coral fringing reef, home to Dugongs. The contrasts,
isolation and interaction make this landscape a truly unique World Heritage Area.
Climatic conditions evolved over thousands of years have created a visual
splendour of extraordinary contrasts between ocean and land, earth and sky. The remoteness
has protected the landscape now oering a spectacular array of marine life and other land-
based national parks that cannot be viewed in the same way anywhere else in the world.
Wild, contrasting, innocent, raw, passionate and caring,
down-to-earth and friendly. Very engaging and earthed. No pretences.
Raw, remote, free, abundant,
accessible, innocent
Uninhibited freedom
Figure 23.4 Brand positioning pyramid, NingalooShark Bay, Australia
Source: Adapted from Tourism Australia (2010)
Protected Area Governance and Management
A tourism experience is much more than an activity or
product; it is the combination of activity, setting, social
interaction and the personal connection that arises
(Tourism Australia 2012). An experience engages the
senses; it is physical, emotional or spiritual (or all three).
An experience offers discovery and learning, and creates
strong memories. Experiences go beyond nice places and
good views; instead they connect visitors to the place—
the environment and the culture (Tourism Australia
2012). A way to enhance these experiences is by creating
a sense of place based on ‘genius loci’. Tourists and
visitors will learn and appreciate a protected area more
when they can connect to the place they are visiting.
This is called ‘creating a sense of place’ and is based on
the natural and cultural resources and the ‘spirit’ of the
area. It is based on the people, local communities living
in the area, their ‘knowhow’ and their traditions.
To make a protected area an effective tourism destination,
it should have:
• signature experience(s), often referred to in the
tourism sector as a heroic or iconic experience
because it stands out as totally reflecting the brand
and leading the way in attracting visitor interest and
satisfying visitors
• supporting visitor experiences, ideally reflecting
parts or all of the brand, and offering opportunities
complementary to the signature experience
• ancillary goods, services, products and infrastructure
accessible to a protected area such as airports and
access roads, service stations, car parks and visitor
If marketing of a protected area is done effectively, it
can predominantly attract target markets rather than
mass markets, and it can set the expectations of these
people prior to their arrival (Hall and McArthur 1998;
Reid et al. 2008). It is much easier and more proactive
to set realistic expectations within marketing than it is
to unnecessarily regulate, harden a site or try to change
visitor behaviour on site.
The marketing of a protected area for tourism purposes
should lead with the target market doing the signature
experience, competitively positioned and reflecting
the tagline and personality of the brand. Photographs
need to be powerful in demonstrating these elements.
They need to reflect the essence of the experience
and the emotional impact it has on the target market.
Unfortunately, most imagery used lacks power, so the
promotional collateral is lost among other competitors or
even other promotion. Figures 23.5a and 23.5b compare
the traditional landscape-driven approach to marketing
a protected area with a contemporary experience-based
marketing image. Ideally, protected area managers
should engage a tourism marketing consultant to scope
a photo shoot that captures all the elements. After this,
the leading image of the signature experience needs to
be slavishly featured and used in as much promotion as
Recreation opportunities
A key tool for planning and managing recreation
opportunities is the ‘recreation opportunity spectrum
(ROS). The ROS focuses on the protected area setting
in which recreation occurs (Clark and Stankey 1979).
A setting is the combination of physical, biological,
social and managerial conditions that give value to a
place. Thus, an opportunity includes qualities provided
by nature (vegetation, landscape, topography, scenery),
qualities provided by the sociocultural setting, qualities
associated with recreational use (levels and types of use)
and conditions provided by management (developments,
roads, regulations). Multiple opportunities imply a
choice for recreationists; people must be aware of the
Figure 23.5a Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and
World Heritage Property Australia: standard image
Source: Simon McArthur (1999)
Figure 23.5b Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and
World Heritage Property Australia: ‘Uluru experience’
Source: Melbourne Business Community (2013)
23. Visitor Management
opportunities, and the opportunities must comprise
conditions desired by recreationists. Thus, opportunities
are a function of user preference and a product of
management actions designed to provide desired settings
and make people aware of their existence.
The basic assumption underlying the ROS is that quality
in outdoor recreation is best assured through provision of
a diverse set of opportunities (Clark and Stankey 1979).
A wide range of tastes and preferences for recreational
opportunities exists among potential visitors. Providing
diverse settings varying in level of development, access
and so forth insures that the broadest segment of
potential visitors will find quality recreational/tourism
experiences. People vary enormously in what they
desire from their recreational pursuits, even for specific
categories of recreationists; not all campers, hikers
or wilderness users are alike. Building management
programs around average tastes can miss the mark as
they may not adequately account for variation in tastes
(Shafer 1969).
Diversity ensures the flexibility necessary to mitigate
changes or disturbances in the recreation system
stemming from such factors as social change (such as
changing age structure of a population) or technological
change (such as increased availability of outdoor
recreation vehicles). But diversity is only a means to an
end. Quality recreation, producing desired satisfaction
and benefits for participants, is the objective and concern
of both managers and recreationists.
In managing for a diversity of recreation opportunities
within a protected area, often the hardest long-term
management task for protected area managers is to
keep natural settings natural. Site hardening is often
an intuitive managerial response to damage at a visitor
destination but often it is exactly the wrong response.
The more natural settings that are hardened, the
fewer natural settings remain and the greater is the
diminishment in a diversity of recreation settings in a
protected area. As we move further into the 21st century,
the untouched recreation settings will be the ones that
become the rarest and most valuable. There are other
ways to manage impacts that retain the untouched
values—this includes professionally rejecting constant
calls for development. Actions could include establishing
limits to visitor numbers and frequency of use for a
site, precluding access on wet days, rotating the use of
sites and other actions (Box 23.1). A danger is a shift
in focus when the tour of duty of one protected area
manager ends and a new manager starts. This danger can
be minimised by clear and precise ROS planning for all
tourist destinations within a protected area system and
thorough induction and briefing for new staff members.
Visitor services and facilities
Before providing visitor services and facilities for
a protected area, managers must be sure why they
are doing so. Service and facility provision should
depend in large measure on desired visitor experience
opportunities, which in turn emerge from underlying
management objectives. Such objectives include
protection, conservation, education, public relations,
research, fundraising and recreation, among others.
While most managers recognise that tourists require a
range of services and facilities to experience a site, other
kinds of visitors also must partake of visitor services and
facilities to experience the same site. School children
need food, bathrooms and a place to eat; scientists need
guides, laboratory facilities, food, trails, library resources
and internet connections; reporters need to be attended
by knowledgeable park staff; politicians obtain VIP
attention and highly skilled information managers.
Frequently, the contributions visitors deliver in support
of park objectives depend on whether they have enjoyed
their stay. If they have a positive experience, their
disposition to participate soars (Ham 2013). If they
have a negative experience, not only would any sense of
cooperation potentially plummet, but also their provoked
inclination to spread negative recommendations could
damage park public relations (Priskin and McCool
2006; Cole and Williams 2012).
Box 23.1 Reducing impacts at visitor
In general, there are four strategic approaches that can
be used to reduce the negative impacts of visitors on
protected areas.
1. Managing the supply of tourism or visitor
opportunitiesfor example, establishing quotas,
to accommodate more use.
2. Managing the demand for visitation—for example,
through restrictions on length of stay, the total
numbers or type of use.
3. Managing the resource capabilities to handle use
locations, or developing facilities.
4. Managing the impact of usefor example, reducing
the negative impact of use by modifying the type of
use, or dispersing or concentrating use.
The principal question is to determine what degree of
impact is acceptable.
Protected Area Governance and Management
Recreation managers have been calling for greater
diversity of recreational opportunities since the mid
20th century (Driver et al. 1987) to increase quality,
meet the demands of a greater variety of visitors, leave
them more satisfied and induce greater visitor support
for management objectives (Manning 1985; Kohl
2007). Managers, however, cannot guarantee personal
experiences, only opportunities for visitors to have
experiences. An experience is highly personal, created
in the mind of the visitor but dependent on numerous
factors. Pine and Gilmore (1999) define an experience
as follows: (EVENT [situation + activity + resources]
Not only do visitors increasingly seek authenticity in the
marketplace (for example, an experience that is more
primitive than or different to their lifestyles), but also
the degree of authenticity varies significantly, affecting
the quality of their experience. For this reason, managers
must understand both how authenticity influences
visitor experiences and how to manage for it to improve
those opportunities.
The experience, and hence services provided (or planned
lack of services provided), is initiated long before the visitor
arrives on site. The visitor fashions expectations based on
information from websites, social media, promotional
materials and word-of-mouth. The experience continues
after the visitor returns home as they reflect on what
happened to them as well as on any follow-up materials
or communications received from service providers or
people they met along the way. Once again, protected area
managers can offer pre and post-trip information to round
out the visitor experience. Other service providers also
court travellers by offering information, transportation,
accommodation and other services that can also influence
the quality of the experience.
Though all visitors generate an experience, they do
not all specifically seek them. Different visitors can be
thought of as demanding opportunities at different levels.
The lower the level on a ‘hierarchy of visitor demands’,
the greater is the visitors self-awareness (Driver and
Brown 1978). This model posits that visitors demand
activities (hiking, canoeing, birding) in certain settings
(unmodified natural areas, places with some or total
modification) to achieve certain experiences (solitude,
insights), ultimately to benefit from specific social-
psychological outcomes (improve family relationships,
fitness, nature appreciation, self-confidence). In light
of such diversity, we can identify no such person as the
average visitor’. Rather, each visitor pursues differing
configurations of demand (Cole and Williams 2012).
Whether one categorises visitor experience opportunities
using the ROS, market segmentation or some other
classification, different visitors require different kinds
of experiences and hence different combinations of
services to meet their needs for quality, comfort, security,
environmental settings and levels of authenticity.
Types of services and facilities
Support services and facilities
These are the types of services and facilities provided
to help support, maintain and restore the ‘basic’ needs
of visitors. What constitutes a ‘basic’ need is obviously
context-dependent, with the ‘basic’ needs of some seen
as ‘luxuries’ by others, or in other contexts. Therefore,
basic support services and facilities could be a pit toilet
and ‘luxury’ could be access to water that is safe to drink.
Support services and appropriate facilities can be complex
and encompass a diversity of services and facilities, as
seen in some visitor centres. It is important for managers
to know what types of needs, desires and expectations
visitors might arrive with and how to match them to
the reality of what appropriate facilities can be provided.
This is why Recreational Opportunity Spectrum-based
planning and zoning are so important in protected areas.
Orientation services and facilities
It is essential for managers to know what types of
orientation services and facilities tourists may require.
These types of services and facilities could include
directional signage, informational brochures (prices,
operating hours, procedures, ticketing, contact
information, and so on), rangers and guides, designated
meeting points, websites, maps, information hotlines,
apps and other techniques that can help keep visitors
oriented in time and space.
Security services and safety facilities
This category of services and facilities allows people to
access places they would otherwise avoid due to danger
and physical or social impediments. Often they go unseen
and undervalued by visitors—such as the provision of
park guards and perimeter controls—yet they must be
calculated into overall costs. Examples include electronic
security systems such as surveillance cameras, signage
that explains rules and safety recommendations and
visitor educational materials.
Interpretation services and facilities
Interpretation is a communication approach that connects
people intellectually and emotionally with interpreted
objects to deepen their appreciation of that object. In the
23. Visitor Management
context of protected areas, the object is a sites heritage.
With deeper appreciation emerge caring and a disposition
to assist in the fulfilment of management objectives.
Interpretative services and facilities include all educational
and other services and facilities that enhance and maintain
the visitor experience not already mentioned. Examples
include interpretative guides, signage, exhibitions, videos,
educational printed materials, automated guides, theatre
performances, radio shows, living history demonstrations
and roving interpretation. Many protected areas have a
strong focus on education including programs directly
related to and involved in school curriculums.
Multiple services and facilities
Frequently, the services and facilities provided overlap
and occur in the same media and spaces. For example,
visitor centres often combine all areas by offering
interpretative exhibits (interpretation), information desks
(orientation), bathrooms and food sales (restorative),
disabled facilities (for example, trails for the blind or
wheelchairs often emanate from visitor centres), shops
(interpretative and restorative), and access to staff.
Visitor impact management
The growing numbers of visitor impact issues that
confront protected area managers today are characterised
by an array of complexities and uncertainties and occur
in a context of changing environmental conditions and
varying levels of organisational capacity. As a result,
protected area managers are challenged to understand
the nature of the issues and the potential solutions.
In this section, we consider a range of visitor impacts
and explore the variety of frameworks for assessing and
managing these impacts. Social and community impacts
of tourism are an important consideration in planning
and responding to the impacts of visitors on protected
Visitor impacts on the
Visitors in protected areas have a wide range of
environmental impacts including on soils, plants,
animals and aquatic systems (Liddle 1997; Newsome et
al. 2002). For animals, impacts can include:
• changes to animal behaviour and physiology such as
triggering flight responses in birds
• changes to breeding patterns and success such as
damage to ground-nesting birds
• introduction of novel animals (domesticated animals
including grazing and feral animals)
• damage and removal of habitat
• killing animals either deliberately (fishing, hunting)
or accidentally (road kill).
Impacts on plants may include:
• direct damage from trampling
• removal of vegetation during the construction of
• changes in composition as a result of the introduction
of novel species (weeds, garden plants)
• changes in the abiotic environment that affect plants
(soil, light, wind, nutrients, and so on)
• habitat fragmentation from trails and other
• landscape-level fires started deliberately (arsonists) or
accidentally (campfires) by visitors.
Impacts on aquatic systems include changes to oxygen
content, turbidity, flow, run-off, pollution and water
harvesting, as well as changes in nutrients from activities
in the water (swimming, boating, and so on) and in areas
around rivers, creeks and lakes (camping, trampling,
and so on). Impacts on soils include soil compaction,
changes in nutrients including nitrification, run-off, soil
erosion and loss, through to large-scale changes such as
Rock grati in a natural boulder-strewn mountain
landscape, Dolomites World Heritage Property,
Source: Graeme L. Worboys
Protected Area Governance and Management
The types and degree of impacts vary with the nature
of activities, seasonal use, intensity of use, behaviour
of users and resilience of ecosystems. For example,
some types of activities such as horseriding have been
demonstrated to have a greater range and intensity of
impacts than others such as hiking. Visitor activities at
some times of the year have more impact than at others.
For example, noise and light pollution can have a greater
impact on animal behaviour during the breeding season
than at other times. Similarly, trampling damage to
vegetation can be greater during the flowering season
than when plants are dormant.
Greater use tends to cause more damage, but the
form of this relationship can vary (Monz et al. 2013).
For example, the relationship can be curvilinear, where
most damage occurs with first use, and after a certain
amount of use there is limited additional damage. It
can be linear, where damage is consistently related to
the amount of use. It can be sigmoidal, with limited
damage at low levels of use, then rapidly increasing, and
then flattening out again. Which form this relationship
takes is very important for managers, as it affects which
management options will be most effective, such as
choosing between dispersed and concentrated use (Monz
et al. 2013). Due to differences in behaviour, some
visitors can cause more damage than others. Visitors can
vary in their knowledge of and capacity and willingness
to comply with minimum impact practices.
Infrastructure provided for visitors also has a wide range
of impacts including during construction, maintenance
and use. These impacts can be short-term and localised,
but can also be severe, long-term and widespread. Careful
selection, design and maintenance of infrastructure can
dramatically reduce its environmental impact. A key
issue for protected area managers is how to minimise and
ameliorate these visitor environmental impacts (see, for
example, Case Study 23.1).
Social and cultural impacts of
Local communities are often seen as the intended
beneficiaries of tourism, especially in terms of economic
benefits derived from employment and the provision of
services and products to protected area visitors. Tourism
to protected areas, however, often presents negative social
impacts, such as changes in economic and social status,
daily routines, the quality of life, traffic, noise, safety
and access to traditional areas. Working with or through
local communities to identify and address the nature of
the impacts of tourism on the protected area can be a
complex undertaking (see Case Study 23.2). Social and
environmental impact assessments are useful tools for
helping to understand, predict and address potential
impacts of tourism on protected areas and related
developments. Social impact assessment focuses on the
potential impacts of different scenarios on individuals
and communities (Brown et al. 2006). Environmental
impact assessment is often carried out with a wider focus
to include the potential negative and positive effects of
developments in protected areas on natural, cultural,
social and economic components (Ontario Parks 2005).
This more holistic approach recognises that all of these
components are interrelated and should therefore be
considered simultaneously.
Social impacts are not limited to local communities
but also occur among visitors. The activities, behaviour
and infrastructure provided for some visitors can affect
the experience of other visitors—both positively and
negatively. A major challenge for managers is dealing
with potential conflict among different types of visitors.
Conflict among visitors often revolves around issues such
as the appropriateness of an activity, its environmental
impacts, its social impacts and the danger it may pose
for other users. In some cases, allowing one type of
activity results in some visitors avoiding the protected
area. Bird watching and hunting in a private protected
area, for example, are not highly compatible activities,
and permitting hunting may result in the displacement
of other visitors.
Responding to visitor impacts
The array of possible environmental and social impacts
arising from visitor use presents challenges that require
management attention. These impacts may (Farrell and
Marion 2002):
• compromise the realisation of the protected areas
mandate and goals
• negatively affect natural and cultural values, and
several impacts may be additive in their effect and
cumulative over time
• lead to unintended consequences such as diminished
visitation and economic benefits; this in turn may
affect the welfare of local communities.
A number of proactive measures may be taken to avoid
unintended impacts. These revolve around elements of
the adaptive management approach—that is: undertake
good planning at the outset, implement the prescribed
actions, monitor the values for positive and negative
effects, evaluate and learn from the results, and adjust
management actions to further improve and fine tune
the necessary interventions (see Chapters 8 and 13).
23. Visitor Management
Actively managing visitor impacts can help minimise
their effect (Farrell and Marion 2002). There have been
a number of management frameworks introduced to
help support protected area managers with minimising
visitor impacts. An effective management framework is
a step-wise process that enables protected area managers
and planners to interpret and explain the issues at hand
(McCool et al. 2007). A framework helps managers:
• identify trade-offs between the provision of recreation
opportunities with the resulting local economic
impacts and the protection of biodiversity values
• appreciate and address complexity
• accommodate the array of stakeholders with interests
in the area or issue.
Decision-makers must evaluate the suitability of the
frameworks for the specific use. Researchers have
provided five criteria to assess the suitability of a
framework for resolving issues of visitor management,
and describe the enabling conditions for their successful
application (McCool et al. 2007).
1. Salient: Not all frameworks were designed to
address all issues. They should provide a process for
working through the specific issues at hand.
2. Conceptually sound: Based on current science and
3. Practical: In the context of the organisations
capacity, staff require the right set of technical skills
and knowledge to use and apply the framework.
Staff need to think at the systems level to consider
the regional consequences or effects at different
time scales.
The Government of Sikkim created Khangchendzonga
National Park in 1977. With an area of 1784 square
kilometres, bordering Nepal and Tibet, the park has an
elevation range of 1829 to 8586 metres above sea-level
and includes Mt Khangchendzonga, the third-highest
mountain in the world. It is a biodiversity hotspot and
conserves endangered species including snow leopards
(Uncia uncia). It is also a sacred landscape, with local
communities considering it a protector deity. All the rivers,
lakes, hills and caves are considered sacred and it is
believed they were blessed by the Buddhist guru Padma
Sambhava. It is for this reason that local communities
have consistently opposed proposals to construct hydro-
electricity projects in the region.
The park was opened to tourists in 1982 to promote
adventure tourism and generate local employment. Initially,
there were few organised groups visiting the park, as it
was very dicult to obtain permits. In 1992, the permit
system was relaxed, resulting in increased visitation.
During this period, however, there was less concern for
conservation among some tourists and operators. This
resulted in a range of impacts, including the accumulation
and insects; haphazard camping in high-altitude meadows;
pollution of high-altitude wetlands. Local people resented
the consequent desecration of the sacred landscape.
To tackle these problems, a community-based non-
governmental organisation (NGO), the Khangchendzonga
Conservation Committee, was formed in 1996 at Yuksam,
the base for trekking in the park. This committee mobilised
the local community and tourism stakeholders to undertake a
range of conservation activities. This included the promotion
of community-based ecotourism activities such as trekking
trail clean-up campaigns, conservation education, training
of tourism stakeholders, garbage management, monitoring
of biopiracy and a ban on use of fuel wood inside the park.
A code of conduct for conservation was developed, and
strategies to minimise grazing impacts by pack animals and
proper camping sites introduced. Homestays (amongst
to earn more revenue.
To address the problem of garbage in the park in 2007
a clean-up campaign was organised along the popular
trekking trail and campsites. Tourism sta, including
porters, pack-animal operators, guides and cooks, along
with community members and schoolteachers and
students, were involved. Thereafter, several trail clean-up
campaigns were organised by the Tourism Department,
travel agents and some individuals.
Realising, however, that this alone was not a long-term
solution, the committee conceptualised a new system
called ‘Zero Waste Trekking Trail’. Under this initiative,
all the visitors to the park have to bring back all the non-
biodegradable waste declared on their entry form. At
Yuksam,wherethey exit thetrekking trail,ocials,after
satisfying that indeed all such waste has been brought
out of the park, separate the garbage into tins, batteries
and medicinal waste, cloth, silver foils and noodle packets,
plastics, and paper and cartons.
This garbage is then taken to a nearby ‘resource recovery
centre’ where it is cleaned and further segregated. All the
recyclable items are sold, while items such as biscuit and
chips packets, which are not recyclable, are shredded
and used for making cushions or other products. Some
recycled paper is made from the waste paper and cartons.
The centre has itself become a popular visitor destination,
providing a strong message that trekking must not be at
the cost of the environment and local communities. Due
6500 visitors annually, are virtually garbage free.
— Pema Gyaltshan Bhutia, Khangchendzonga
Conservation Committee
Case Study 23.1 Zero-waste initiative on the trekking trail
of Sikkim Himalaya, India
Protected Area Governance and Management
4. Ethical: Discussions should enable an understanding
of who benefits from decisions and who may be
paying the cost. The process must be open and
deliberative to enable participants to engage in the
discussions, in a safe environment.
5. Pragmatic: To enable efficient and effective results so
that human and financial resources can be allocated
to address the priority issues, and importantly, so
that impacts can actually be addressed.
While the focus is on these formal frameworks, it is
recognised that ground staff and local communities
often apply informal frameworks and practices that
allow them to understand the dynamic relationships
at play. These include making daily observations that
are recorded or reported back informally, occasional
feedback to and from local communities and staff,
thinking about and discussing alternative approaches to
carrying out projects with consideration of the pros and
cons, and other practices. In this chapter, we consider
seven visitor management frameworks:
The Gitga’at First Nation Community of Hartley Bay on
the north coast of British Columbia, Canada, and the
Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba,
collaborated on research examining community views on
tourism development. A community-led proposal to move
forward with tourism development provided a platform for
existing tourism developments, and discuss and identify a
set of principles to guide future developments. We found
that community members consider tourism developments
appropriate and desirable, but only where they sustain and
enhance the health of their lands, people and way of life.
Gitga’at see that their wellbeing depends on the ecological
health of their land and water, sustained through their
stewardship of land and sea. For those relationships
to be strong, opportunities must be created to allow
working people and their families to remain in the territory,
rather than move to o-reserve urban centres. As one
community member expressed, ‘there are a number of
things that are Gitgaatthat are precious to the Gitga’at
balance must be sought between cultural, community and
ecological integrity when considering the types of local
economic development activities that are desirable. From
this, principles for tourism development were distilled—all
gravitating around a simple, powerful theme: ‘we want to
live here.’
• Cultural integrity: Traditional leadership and clans must
be involved in decision-making, and commercial use of
resources is best when linked with traditional practices
and ways of life.
• Community integrity: Low-impact economic
opportunities should be pursued, but the maximum
should be distributed equitably within the community.
• Ecologicalintegrity:Otherspeciesshouldberespected
and the ecological impacts of development must be
A number of mechanisms to support these principles were
• ensuring local control and management of any venture
• organisingbenetsharinginafair,reasonableand
transparent manner
• establishing protocols and other agreements,
particularly with visiting researchers, to protect
Gitga’at resources and knowledge
• undertaking careful, regular monitoring and evaluation
of the social and ecological impacts of any tourism
activities alongside a meaningful, ongoing process of
local consultation
• facilitating respectful cross-cultural relationships
between visitors and community members through
interpretation and visitor support from Gitgaat guides
• establishing o-limits’ areas for visitors to protect
community privacy and better ensure the safety of
local resources, including knowledge (for example,
information concerning medicinal plants) and physical
spaces (for example, harvesting locations and special
places, such as gravesites).
Researchers identied these mechanisms as important
ways to safeguard the wellbeing of Gitga’at people and
and dialogue necessary to adapt tourism services to better
these principles, many people in the community drew on
their experience with past or existing tourism ventures in the
area, including wildlife viewing, cultural tours of the Hartley
Bay Village, sportshing and eco-lodges. Lowecological
impact, community member involvement and employment,
and businesses operating in accordance with Gitgaat
cultural protocols, including respect for the decision-making
authority of traditional and local leadership, were considered
desirable features of some of these examples. The ability to
for the Gitga’at through local controls, however, emerged as
a priority for future tourism.
The project found that many Gitga’at see such principle-
based tourism as a forum, coupled with a new type of
motivation, in which young people and other community
members learn about the Gitga’at culture and ways of
life, including the Smalgyax language, food harvesting
and processing skills, traditional ecological knowledge,
and other culturally important skills. As one community
member explained: ‘You need somebody to be able to tell
the story about our people … And that is the same thing
that expertise that could be developed—could be used
here when we have tourists come.
— Katherine L. Turner
Case Study 23.2 Tourism development principles of an indigenous group:
an example from British Columbia, Canada
23. Visitor Management
• carrying capacity
• limits of acceptable change
• visitor activity management process and appropriate
activity assessment
• visitor impact model
• visitor experience and resource protection
• tourism optimisation management model
• values–threats framework.
Carrying capacity
The concept of carrying capacity dates to the 1950s and
1960s when American wilderness areas were experiencing
large increases in outdoor recreation and concern was
growing about crowding and the appropriate levels
of use. Carrying capacity has been defined in many
different ways (Table 23.8).
Carrying capacity is a central concept that underlies
many visitor impact frameworks. It is an easy concept to
understand, and can be simpler, less expensive and more
feasible to implement than other frameworks (Farrell
and Marion 2002). It continues to receive the attention
of academic researchers and public land management
agencies today. This approach, however, has serious
limitations. It is basically a restrictive concept, founded
on limits and constraints. Though this may be suitable
for very specific matters such as managing wildlife
breeding areas, caves and other sensitive areas, it can
also be seen as working against protected area objectives
designed to encourage appropriate visitor enjoyment and
valuation of protected areas. Researchers have identified
significant issues in its formulation, conceptual validity
and managerial utility:
• carrying capacity requires specific objectives,
but agencies are often reluctant to develop those
• because carrying capacity is a function of objectives,
there are many carrying capacities for a site; if there
are many, the concept loses its utility
• for most recreation management situations, impact
issues are more a function of visitor behaviour or
development actions than numbers
• there is often confusion in the literature about the
nomenclature: carrying capacity, use-limit policies
and processes such as limits of acceptable change
• the conditions needed to establish a carrying capacity
are often not present on a recreation site
• because carrying capacity is a technical approach
to fundamentally value-laden problems, there is
little room for public engagement (McCool et al.
In addition, a major premise underlying the notion
of carrying capacity is that the natural area of concern
is stable and unchanging (McCool et al. 2007). It is
recognised, however, that biological and social systems
are dynamic, complex and filled with uncertainty.
The human-induced changes that are the focus of
carrying capacity can be hidden by natural variations such
as those caused by climate, fire and floods. Therefore,
when fixed carrying capacities are established in a state
of flux, their validity is called into question.
Other researchers conclude that carrying capacity has
been oversimplified in practice, places too much emphasis
on limiting visitor use when other parameters could be
adjusted, has failed to minimise visitor impacts in some
cases and has not incorporated public involvement or
local resource needs (Farrell and Marion 2002).
Limits of acceptable change
The ‘limits of acceptable change’ (LAC) framework
(Stankey et al. 1984) builds upon the ROS concept.
Similar to ROS, it identifies a variety of recreation
experiences in different settings, but unlike ROS, it is
Table 23.8 Carrying capacity denitions
Focus Denition
Recreation The level of use beyond which the recreation resource or recreation experience deteriorates
Biophysical Themaximumnumberofpeoplewhocanuseagivenareaforaspeciedperiodwithoutreducing
that area’s ability to sustain use
Social Themaximumnumberofpeoplewhocanuseagivenareaforaspeciedperiodwithoutreducing
the level of satisfaction received by any of those persons in the area
Managerial Themaximumnumberofpeoplewhocanbeaccommodatedonagivenareaforaspecied
period and: a) not degrade the environment beyond a given level of acceptability; b) not cause
unacceptable sociocultural and economic impacts on local people; c) provide a given level of
satisfaction for a given percentage of the users, as set by the recreation manager’s objectives for
the area
Source: British Columbia Ministry of Forests (1991)
Protected Area Governance and Management
problem-oriented (Haider and Payne 2009). It features
the involvement of stakeholders who participate in the
whole process, including setting the standards for the
amount and extent of human-induced change that are
believed to be acceptable for an area. The process also
identifies the remedies that managers should provide.
The selection of indicators and measurable standards—
and the follow-up monitoring—is a key step as it provides
the basis for judging whether a condition is acceptable or
not. These are, however, challenging tasks that require
technical capacity and time, and as a result can be costly
to implement (Brown et al. 2006; de Lacy and Whitmore
2006). Depending upon the management objectives,
physical, biological and social indicators may be selected.
LAC has been applied worldwide; it is more appropriately
used at a landscape scale, and has been integrated into
the ‘visitor experience and resource protection’ (VERP)
framework (Haider and Payne 2009). LAC comprises
nine steps towards deciding the most important and
acceptable resource and social conditions.
1. Identify area concerns and issues.
2. Define and describe opportunity classes (based on
the concept of ROS).
3. Select indicators of resource and social conditions.
4. Inventory existing resource and social conditions.
5. Specify standards for resource and social indicators
for each opportunity class.
6. Identify alternative opportunity class allocations.
7. Identify management actions for each alternative.
8. Evaluate and select preferred alternatives.
9. Implement actions and monitor conditions (Stankey
et al. 1984).
Visitor activity management process and
appropriate activity assessment
The ‘visitor activity management process’ (VAMP) was
developed by Parks Canada in the late 1980s. It combines
social science principles with those of marketing to
focus on the analysis of opportunity, rather than visitor
impact. It is particularly useful for making strategic and
operational decisions about target markets and market
position, and for identifying appropriate interpretative
and recreational activities, and service facilities (Brown et
al. 2006). The steps in the VAMP process are as follows.
1. Produce project terms of reference.
2. Confirm existing park purpose and objectives
3. Organise a database describing park ecosystems
and settings, potential visitor educational and
recreational opportunities, existing visitor activities
and services, and the regional context.
4. Analyse the existing situation to identify heritage
themes, resource capability and suitability,
appropriate visitor activities, the parks role in the
region and the role of the private sector.
5. Produce alternative visitor activity concepts for
these settings, experiences to be supported, visitor
market segments, levels of service guidelines, and
roles of the region and the private sector.
6. Create a park management plan, including the
parks purpose and role, management objectives
and guidelines, regional relationships, and the role
of the private sector.
7. Establish priorities for park conservation and park
service planning and then implement the plan
(Brown et al. 2006).
VAMP has exceptional capability and has been used
to understand and manage human use, assess and
manage risks, and identify appropriate activities in
Canadas national parks (Haider and Payne 2009).
VAMP has transitioned into ‘appropriate activity
assessment’ (AAA), which recognises that not all types
of activities are appropriate in protected areas. Through
the following principles of AAA, recreational activities
in Canadas national parks, national historic sites and
national marine conservation areas will:
• sustain or enhance the character of place
• respect natural and cultural resources
• facilitate opportunities for outstanding visitor
• promote public understanding and appreciation
• value and involve local communities (Haider and
Payne 2009).
VAMP is based on ROS and is designed for regional
planning. It can readily incorporate the principles of
Visitor impact management
‘Visitor impact management’ (VIM) was developed by
researchers with the American-based National Parks and
Conservation Association. It addresses three issues related
to visitor impact—namely: 1) problem conditions;
2) potential causal factors; and 3) potential management
strategies (Nilsen and Tayler 1998). The process employs
both science and, importantly, professional judgment,
and emphasises the need to understand the causal factors
23. Visitor Management
when identifying management strategies. In addressing
visitor impacts, VIM is linked to ecological and social
carrying capacity. As shown in the steps, managers must
specify ecological standards and monitoring for protected
areas (Haider and Payne 2009). There are eight key steps
associated with the VIM process.
1. Conduct pre-assessment database review.
2. Review management objectives.
3. Select key impact indicators.
4. Select standards for key impact indicators.
5. Compare standards and existing conditions.
6. Identify probable causes of impacts.
7. Identify management strategies.
8. Implement the strategy (Nilsen and Tayler 1998).
VIM is a variant of LAC and has been incorporated
into the VERP process (Brown et al. 2006). It is more
suitable for use when there are fewer resources available
for monitoring research.
Visitor experience and resource
Developed by the US National Park Service, the ‘visitor
experience and resource protection’ (VERP) method
integrates social and ecological carrying capacity issues
with indicators and standards of quality (Haider and
Payne 2009). The process includes a focus on spatial
zoning to integrate resource and social conditions, which
can be a challenging undertaking. VERP builds on LAC
and VAMP frameworks and comprises nine steps.
1. Assemble an interdisciplinary project team.
2. Develop a public involvement strategy.
3. Develop statements of park purpose, significance
and primary interpretative themes; identify
planning mandates and constraints.
4. Analyse park resources and existing visitor use.
5. Describe a potential range of visitor experiences and
resource conditions (potential prescriptive zones).
6. Allocate the potential zones to specific locations
within the park (prescriptive management zoning).
7. Select indicators and specify standards for each
zone; develop a monitoring plan.
8. Monitor resource and social indicators.
9. Take management actions (Haider and Payne
Tourism optimisation management
The ‘tourism optimisation management model’
(TOMM) was developed in Australia in the 1990s for
regional tourism planning that included protected areas
(McArthur 1999). It aims to monitor and quantify the
benefits and impacts of tourism activities and to assess
emerging issues and alternatives for future sustainable
tourism (Brown et al. 2006). While the model is based on
the LAC process, the name de-emphasises the perceived
negative connotation of ‘limits’. TOMM extends the
concept of LAC to parks and gateway communities by
considering the commercial and community interests in
all stages of implementation and monitoring (Haider
and Payne 2009). Key strengths of this model include
its application in the context of the economic, political
and social environments in which tourism operates,
as well as the involvement of stakeholders throughout
the process. Given the wider coverage, it is information
intensive, and therefore requires significant resourcing
for data management and long-term commitment from
a wide range of stakeholders. The TOMM framework
comprises five dimensions:
• economic (financial contributions of tourism activity)
• market opportunities (key market profile
characteristics and marketing activity)
• experiential (the nature of the core visitor experience
• community (the quality-of-life of local residents and
indigenous people with a connection to the area)
• environmental (the biophysical environment,
ranging from biodiversity and wildlife status to
energy consumption patterns) (McArthur 1999).
TOMM comprises six steps.
1. Plan the process and commence stakeholder
involvement by identifying stakeholders and
generating tourism scenarios.
2. Compile and write a context description to define
the current situation. Review planning and policy
documents for the region. Continue stakeholder
involvement, and begin engagement by conducting
a briefing with stakeholders.
3. Develop the monitoring program that identifies
what and how to measure, and defines reporting
standards. Draft a set of optimal conditions and
investigate associated indicators.
Protected Area Governance and Management
4. Refine the context description and monitoring
program through a workshop process with
stakeholders. Narrow the number of indicators,
determining the acceptable range and benchmark
for each indicator.
5. Prepare draft and final versions of a TOMM plan,
and brief stakeholders.
6. Implement and refine the model. Commence
monitoring. After the first cycle, identify
indicators outside the acceptable range; identify
potential cause and effect relationships to develop
management responses. The iterative process
continues with ongoing refinement of indicators,
optimal conditions and ranges (McArthur 1999).
Values–threats framework
An alternative approach to addressing visitor impacts is
through the application of values–threats approaches,
where the protected areas natural values are the basis
for examining threats against their viability. The Open
Standards for the Practice of Conservation (CMP 2013)
provide a robust, broad-based framework for results-
based planning, management and monitoring. They are
rooted in the concepts of adaptive planning and
management (see Chapter 13). Paleczny (2010) adapted
and applied this framework in a wider context in Egypt
to explicitly address non-biodiversity values—that is,
cultural, recreational, tourism and local community
wellbeing values. The ‘protected areas visitor impact
management framework’ (Farrell and Marion 2002)
employed elements of the open standards framework in
Central and South America.
Visitor use and official use of protected areas are integral
parts of protected area management. Common types
of visitor use of the six different IUCN protected area
categories have been identified along with implications
for the management of such use. Tourism is perhaps
the single greatest use of protected areas, and the many
aspects of the management of tourism in these special
areas have been described. Working in partnership with
the tourism industry is very important, and a basis for
protected area managers working with the tourism
industry and the potential benefits have been described.
The key focus of this chapter has been to provide a range
of tools and guidance for protected area managers to help
look after the long-term natural condition of protected
area visitor destinations as a basis for biodiversity and
heritage conservation, and consequently, for truly
sustainable visitor use.
Visitors viewing the spectacular Liwu River gorge Taroko National Park, Taiwan. This is also known as
‘The Marble Gorge’ because of the rivers incision into metamorphosed limestone rock.
Source: Graeme L. Worboys
23. Visitor Management
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Protected Area Governance and Management
is text taken from Protected Area Governance and Management,
edited by Graeme L. Worboys, Michael Lockwood, Ashish Kothari, Sue Feary and Ian Pulsford,
published 2015 by ANU Press, e Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
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... Ever since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, tourism organizations promoted the formulation of environmentally sound and culturally sensitive tourism programs as a strategy for sustainable development (Spenceley, Kohl, McArthur, Myles, Notarianni, Paleczny, Pickering and Worboys 2015). Sustainable development of tourism was regarded as a balanced approach to economic, social and environmental development. ...
... Nature-based tourism (NBT), also known as ecotourism or nature tourism, defined as travel to enable the enjoyment of undeveloped natural areas, is a rapidly-expanding area in the tourism travel sector (Luzar et al. 1995, Goodwin 1996. Most naturebased tourism destinations are located in protected areas , ICEM 2003, Spenceley et al. 2015 which attract large numbers of visitors: globally, terrestrial protected areas receive approximately eight billion visits per year (Balmford et al. 2015) and European national parks receive more than two billion visits annually (Schägner et al. 2016). Despite having a potentially negative influence on natural resources, affecting both the environment and the species within them (Steven et al. 2011), NBT could be a particularly effective tool in the conservation and management of protected areas. ...
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National parks are increasingly recognized as playing an important role in the development of nature-based tourism destinations that promote effective management of natural resources and socioeconomic development. The paper was designed to evaluate the tourism attractiveness and performance of national parks in Vietnam. The tourism performance of 30 Vietnamese national parks was evaluated using multiple criteria decision analysis with the stochastic multicriteria acceptability analysis (SMAA) and preference ranking organization method for enrichment evaluation (PROMETHEE) method; thirteen national park attributes were used to determine tourism attractiveness, measured by an exponential weighted acceptability index. It was found that the Phong Nha – Ke Bang, Cuc Phuong, and Ba Be National Parks were most attractive for more than 95% of all possible preference structures. In addition, 12 non-dominated national parks were identified, and for an average supporter of most non-dominated protected areas, the trail criterion appears to be the most important. A statistically significant correlation was found between tourism attractiveness and the number of tourists who visited national parks. Our findings offer potentially useful information for decision makers in developing effective tourism marketing and management strategies for national parks in Vietnam.
... A number of governance options exist in order to increase and diversify revenue streams to finance PA management (see Borrini-Feyerabend et al., 2013;Spenceley et al., 2015;Worboys, Lockwood, Kothari, Feary, & Pulsford, 2015). PAs can also benefit through partnerships with tourism businesses to provide public-private partnerships such as concessions, comanagement agreements with communities, in-kind contributions, or alternatively to collect donations from tourists. ...
A prerequisite for the sustainability of protected areas in Africa is the meaningful inclusion of local populations in conservation and tourism. This has been demonstrated in numerous destinations where communities receive benefits from tourism in terrestrial protected areas, they are more inclined to view it positively and conserve natural resources. This paper presents a review of revenue-sharing literature, and also an analysis of the evidence of quantified benefits accrued by local communities in Africa through institutional arrangements to share revenue or finance development projects by (1) protected areas, and (2) tourism enterprises. The review highlights the challenges of revenue sharing as well as four key components of successful revenue-sharing systems: (1) economic benefits must be clearly identified and communicated, (2) benefits are appropriate to the scale of threats to biodiversity, (3) involvement of communities in decision-making on the structure and process of the distribution system, and also how the revenues are used and (4) sufficient regulatory and institutional support is necessary to develop clear objectives, aims, goals and responsibilities. This paper constitutes the first multi-country, multi-scheme analysis of revenue sharing in terrestrial African protected areas.
... A number of governance options exist in order to increase and diversify revenue streams to finance PA management (see Borrini-Feyerabend et al., 2013;Spenceley et al., 2015;Worboys, Lockwood, Kothari, Feary, & Pulsford, 2015). PAs can also benefit through partnerships with tourism businesses to provide public-private partnerships such as concessions, comanagement agreements with communities, in-kind contributions, or alternatively to collect donations from tourists. ...
Protected areas (PAs) are one way of conserving biodiversity, and ecosystem services and human well-being and are now recognized as an integral part of sustainable development strategies. Over the past four decades there has been a ten-fold increase in the number of protected areas globally. Increasingly however, park management agencies do not have sufficient funds to finance their conservation management activities, and most governments do not fund PA budgets fully. Furthermore, efforts to determine how much money is spent or required for PA financing has been hampered by significant data shortages, especially in the most underfunded countries as many are still unable to quantify the relative adequacy of their levels of conservation finance. This research assesses the extent to which tourism contributes towards biodiversity financing for PA management in southern African countries. It analyzes Fifth National Country Reports (produced in 2014/2015) submitted to the Convention for Biological Diversity produced for all southern African countries to determine the actual contribution of tourism to overall PA financing. It highlights that although tourism is a significant revenue source for PA authorities in southern Africa, how it is retained and reinvested back into conservation management remains ambiguous. The incompleteness and inconsistency of national level reporting presents a missed opportunity for justifying greater financing support.
Research on ecosystem service trade-off, environmental justice and equity has grown during the last years as significant approaches to effectively connect use and conservation. Although there are justice tourism studies there are many aspects related to environmental justice that have not been addressed. We develop a framework to analyze social feedbacks in tourism – people’s cognitive and behavioral responses to change- to promote a more just environmental governance. Spatial analysis and methods of measuring environmental justice and well-being were applied in Bahía de San Antonio Protected Natural Area in Argentina. The results revealed the existence of two-way relationships and social feedbacks between tourism and conservation. We conclude that linking approaches related to environmental justice and well-being with tourism can provide theoretical insights to promote positive social feedbacks and to highlight pathways to reconcile tourism activity with protected areas management. These could be a first step to develop more sustainable forms of tourism in protected areas.
Protected areas (PAs) worldwide are facing increasing visitation and complexity. Mounting pressures from the private sector are intensifying the risks associated with overtourism. The increasing strategic importance of PAs for the communities and regions in which they are situated requires improved management effectiveness; yet, recent studies indicate significant and growing systemic risk. Worldview analysis can be a valuable tool for building consciousness and informing the evolution of PA planning and management. Directed content analysis was used to examine two Visitor Use Plans developed for the Coyhaique National Reserve, located in the iconic Patagonia cultural area of southern Chile. The plans were developed using distinct planning frameworks, with different underlying assumptions. Research questions focused on how modernist, postmodernist and integral worldviews were expressed within the two plans. Worldviews were explored in both manifest and latent manners, considering plan text, models and overall context revealing patterns and links between the plans and planning frameworks that guided their development. Rich context and a thorough discussion of methods assists with the incorporation of worldview evaluation within PA management theory, informing the continuing development of knowledge and capacities that can better prepare PAs for future challenges. ARTICLE HISTORY
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Economic and non-economic benefits of protected areas were assessed in 58 national parks in the Dinaric Arc of Europe, involving over a thousand local people and identifying major economic benefits from tourism, rural development and water. The study used the Protected Area Benefits Assessment Tool in stakeholder workshops in all the parks studied. The results are being applied to improve protected area management and enhance collaboration with local stakeholders. The Dinaric Arc includes parts of eight countries in south-eastern Europe. While being one of the continent's most important areas for biodiversity conservation, it is under intense pressures from development and many of the region's protected areas are underfunded and undervalued. Understanding the full range of values and benefits of protected areas to stakeholders provides a good basis for developing management and policy responses and has proved popular with both governments and donor organizations. The results suggest that protected areas already provide significant economic benefits to local people in the region, often in places with few other options, and that further utilization of many ecosystem services is possible without undermining protected area objectives and effectiveness.
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Assessment and reporting (A/R) initiatives such as State of the Environment Reporting, State of the Protected Area Reporting and Management Effectiveness Assessment provide protected area managers and their clients with tools and knowledge to better understand complex human-ecological relationships, and support efforts to achieve more sustainable living. A/R helps societies to identify and measure the agents and impacts of change, the condition of ecosystems, and human and natural responses to changing socioeconomic and environmental conditions. However, as an integrative and multidisciplinary undertaking, A/R is complex, and protected area managers are challenged by the plethora of suggested tools and approaches for managing, assessing and reporting on their systems and sites. This research reports on the findings of a global survey of 62 A/R initiatives in 19 countries and a corresponding analysis of the application of the ecosystem approach in these initiatives. An organizational culture that supports evaluation and participation is an important ingredient for effective A/R. Survey respondents believe that participatory approaches yield many benefits despite greater complexity of the process and expenditure of time and resources. Benefits include: realizing positive conservation outcomes; helping to enrich the organisation's technical capacity through the contributions of others; improving the accuracy, completeness, acceptance and use of information; and enhancing organizational transparency, cooperation and the capacity of the participants. On average, the A/Rs examined achieve a moderate to high degree of success in implementing the ecosystem approach through their A/Rs, as determined through a proposed composite index to assess application of the ecosystem approach. An integrated planning and assessment model and a priority setting procedure were developed to simplify and improve requirements for protected area A/R while ensuring technical rigor. The results and lessons from field testing elements of the integrated model in four Egyptian National Parks are presented. Overall, the research suggests that it is possible to integrate sophisticated management tools and achieve effective and efficient processes for performance assessment in protected areas.
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Purpose: The purpose of this research is to examine Gitga'at First Nation approaches and objectives concerning the use of local biological and cultural resources through the lens of a locally-driven proposal to establish an eco-cultural tourism enterprise. Design/methodology/approach: This project was developed in collaboration with the Gitga'at First Nation and employed a qualitative case study approach. Primary data gathering techniques were active participation, semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and work with key informants. Findings: Participant responses highlight the interconnectivity and importance of social, ecological and cultural integrity in local economic development. Three major principles for resource use were widely expressed: control and management by Gitga'at; equitable distribution of any benefits; and the imperative of environmental and cultural sustainability. Research limitations/implications: Gitga'at band members living within the Gitga'at traditional territory played a central part in this research. Future work could include non-resident band members. Furthermore, if the Gitga'at decide to move forward with this proposal, further research could examine how the resource use principles discussed here may be applied. Practical implications: This research provided a forum to explicitly identify research participants' hopes and concerns surrounding eco-cultural tourism and the possible outcomes of this potential project. Social implications: This research may be beneficial to other communities interested in eco-cultural tourism development or other development activities dependent on local resources use. Originality/value: Although essential to creating economic opportunities that reflect local goals and interests, socio-cultural dimensions are often overlooked in local economic development. This research explicitly sought to unpack these domains.
Conference Paper
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This paper addresses the question of whether sustainable tourism is a balance between the environment, economy and community issues or whether it is up to the community to decide where the balance should lie. To answer such questions and produce a theoretical framework to select the appropriate economic instruments to deal with sustainability in tourism, it proposes an economic interpretation rooted in a property rights framework à la Coase. Moreover, considering the peculiarity of the sector, the paper argues that to implement the appropriate policies for sustainability in tourism, more than elsewhere, a simultaneous proper management of tourism demand and supply, and a set of instruments of a more non-technical than technical nature are required. Keywords: sustainable tourism, technical and non-technical instruments, communities participation. 1 Introduction The point we make in this paper is that in tourism we have to cope with problems that one does not encounter or that present themselves in a different way in other fields. Therefore, it argues that, although sustainable development and sustainable tourism may share some areas of mutual concern, the latter has its own specificities to be considered. These specificities need to be analyzed when selecting policies for sustainable development in tourism (Butler [1, 2]; Bramwell and Lane [3]; Hunter [4]; Sharpley [5]). Because of its specificities, one of the main issues to be addressed when dealing with sustainability in tourism is \“whether sustainable tourism is a process whereby balances should be struck between the environment, economy and community issues or whether it is up to the community to decide where the balance should lie” (Hardy et al [6], p.491). To answer such a question and produce a theoretical framework to select the appropriate economic instruments
Offers a framework for managing recreation opportunities based on 6 physical, biological, social, and managerial factors that, when combined, can be utilized by recreationists to obtain diverse experiences.-from Authors