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Abstract

Three significant trends are converging with the result of increasing the importance of understanding and managing the nexus of tourism and protected areas. Firstly, international travel and tourism continues to grow significantly, resulting in more people wanting to visit, learn and appreciate their natural and cultural heritage. Secondly, international conservation efforts are increasingly dependent on protected areas serving as the cornerstone of slowing (ideally stopping) the loss of biological diversity. Thirdly, demands from society on protected areas are not only increasing, they are diversifying as well. Increased demand is, in part, the result of a growing human population that competes for space with natural areas and its wildlife through other land uses such as agriculture. Diversifying because protected areas are increasingly viewed as a source of monetary revenue and ecosystem-based benefits, such as health for humans, as engines of local livelihood development, as mechanisms for catalysing 'peace' on a transboundary scale and even as models of governance. These three trends accelerate the need for not only greater institutional capability to manage visitors and tourism development – which are amongst the most significant capacity needs, according to the World Commission on Protected Areas (2012) – but also more knowledge about visitor preferences, their behaviour, needs, spending patterns and social and environmental impacts. The convergence of these three trends also poses new challenges and opportunities not just for the conservation movement but for civil society as well. At the World Parks Congress held in Durban, South Africa in 2003, participants recognised the need for increased research to strengthen the knowledge base essential for good management of visitors and tourism development. In the 11 years since the Congress, communities and conservation agencies have turned even more towards tourism as a means of enhancing the public understanding of natural heritage needed for political action that forms the basis for effective conservation. Tourism is also viewed as a source of at least some of the funding needed to manage a 'system' of parks and protected areas that encompass over 13% of the earth's terrestrial surface and 10% of the world's oceans (Bertzky et al. 2012). Tourism is a sector that can provide economic opportunities and enhance the quality of life for many citizens (both residents and tourists). Harnessing options for corporate social responsibility, volunteer tourism and value chain linkages within the sector, can also provide desperately needed access to health and education for poverty stricken residents living near protected areas. As various nations move toward meeting the Aichi Targets (Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity 2011) established by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2011 (particularly Target 11, which identifies a goal of 17% of the terrestrial surface of the earth to be protected within formally designated areas), we would expect many of these new areas to be in places already occupied or accessed by humans for shelter and sustenance. Gazetting protected areas comes with certain restrictions on access and resource use and thus revenues and economic opportunity from tourism will likely become an important argument in gaining local political support. In this context, activists, protected area managers, local entrepreneurs and development agencies will need an expanded knowledge base upon which to build successful tourism enterprises. Local communities will also need to be ready for influxes of people and to fabricate economic partnerships and alliances that not only protect heritage, but also provide opportunities for high quality visitor experiences. These new capacities will need information, knowledge and wisdom. Information provides the descriptive base for what products a local area may hold of interest to visitors, what market segments may be available or of interest to tourism providers and what impacts, positive and negative, may come along with increased tourism activity. Knowledge helps us understand how things work, such as marketing (i.e. making connections between people and products), the effectiveness, equity and efficiency considerations of alternative benefit distribution mechanisms, as well as what factors affect relationships between tourism and impacts. Finally,
doi:10.4102/koedoe.v56i2.1221
hp://www.koedoe.co.za
Editorial
Tourism and protected areas: A growing nexus of
challenge and opportunity
Three signicant trends are converging with the result of increasing the importance of
understanding and managing the nexus of tourism and protected areas. Firstly, international
travel and tourism continues to grow signicantly, resulting in more people wanting to visit, learn
and appreciate their natural and cultural heritage. Secondly, international conservation efforts are
increasingly dependent on protected areas serving as the cornerstone of slowing (ideally stopping)
the loss of biological diversity. Thirdly, demands from society on protected areas are not only
increasing, they are diversifying as well. Increased demand is, in part, the result of a growing
human population that competes for space with natural areas and its wildlife through other land
uses such as agriculture. Diversifying because protected areas are increasingly viewed as a source
of monetary revenue and ecosystem-based benets, such as health for humans, as engines of local
livelihood development, as mechanisms for catalysing ‘peace’ on a transboundary scale and even
as models of governance. These three trends accelerate the need for not only greater institutional
capability to manage visitors and tourism development – which are amongst the most signicant
capacity needs, according to the World Commission on Protected Areas (2012) – but also more
knowledge about visitor preferences, their behaviour, needs, spending patterns and social and
environmental impacts. The convergence of these three trends also poses new challenges and
opportunities not just for the conservation movement but for civil society as well.
At the World Parks Congress held in Durban, South Africa in 2003, participants recognised the
need for increased research to strengthen the knowledge base essential for good management
of visitors and tourism development. In the 11 years since the Congress, communities and
conservation agencies have turned even more towards tourism as a means of enhancing the public
understanding of natural heritage needed for political action that forms the basis for effective
conservation. Tourism is also viewed as a source of at least some of the funding needed to manage
a ‘system’ of parks and protected areas that encompass over 13% of the earth’s terrestrial surface
and 10% of the world’s oceans (Bertzky et al. 2012). Tourism is a sector that can provide economic
opportunities and enhance the quality of life for many citizens (both residents and tourists).
Harnessing options for corporate social responsibility, volunteer tourism and value chain linkages
within the sector, can also provide desperately needed access to health and education for poverty
stricken residents living near protected areas.
As various nations move toward meeting the Aichi Targets (Secretariat to the Convention on
Biological Diversity 2011) established by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on
Biological Diversity in 2011 (particularly Target 11, which identies a goal of 17% of the terrestrial
surface of the earth to be protected within formally designated areas), we would expect many
of these new areas to be in places already occupied or accessed by humans for shelter and
sustenance. Gazetting protected areas comes with certain restrictions on access and resource
use and thus revenues and economic opportunity from tourism will likely become an important
argument in gaining local political support. In this context, activists, protected area managers,
local entrepreneurs and development agencies will need an expanded knowledge base upon
which to build successful tourism enterprises. Local communities will also need to be ready for
inuxes of people and to fabricate economic partnerships and alliances that not only protect
heritage, but also provide opportunities for high quality visitor experiences.
These new capacities will need information, knowledge and wisdom. Information provides the
descriptive base for what products a local area may hold of interest to visitors, what market
segments may be available or of interest to tourism providers and what impacts, positive and
negative, may come along with increased tourism activity. Knowledge helps us understand
how things work, such as marketing (i.e. making connections between people and products),
the effectiveness, equity and efciency considerations of alternative benet distribution
mechanisms, as well as what factors affect relationships between tourism and impacts. Finally,
Page 1 of 2
Authors:
Stephen F. McCool1,2
Anna Spenceley2,3
Aliaons:
1Department of Society and
Conservaon, University of
Montana, United States of
America
2Tourism and Protected Areas
Specialist Group, World
Commission on Protected
Areas, South Africa
3School of Tourism and
Hospitality, University of
Johannesburg, South Africa
Correspondence to:
Stephen McCool
Email:
steve.mccool@gmail.com
Postal address:
College of Forestry and
Conservaon, University of
Montana, 32 Campus Drive,
Missoula, MT 59812, United
States of America
How to cite this arcle:
McCool, S.F. & Spenceley,
A., 2014, ‘Tourism and
protected areas: A growing
nexus of challenge and
opportunity’, Koedoe 56(2),
Art. #1221, 2 pages. hp://
dx.doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.
v56i2.1221
Copyright:
© 2014. The Authors.
Licensee: AOSIS
OpenJournals. This work
is licensed under the
Creave Commons
Aribuon License.
Scan this QR
code with your
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mobile device
to read online.
Read online:
doi:10.4102/koedoe.v56i2.1221
hp://www.koedoe.co.za
Editorial
managing tourism requires wisdom, the critical thinking that
accompanies such questions as: what it is that tourism should
sustain, what frameworks help us gain useful insights about
managing a new local industry and how can partnerships
form and continue in light of global level stresses and strains?
Research plays important roles in all these activities and
thus is an essential element of any capacity-building
effort. Scientists develop new knowledge, disseminate that
knowledge through publication, professional presentations
and participation in policy level dialogues and, in so doing,
advance the practice. Strengthening research capacity helps
build managerial capacity. Not only can it play an important
role in building professional competencies to manage tourism,
but it requires capacity-building efforts itself. One element
of this capacity involves developing a cadre of scientists who
are productive and doing work salient to the needs of the
tourism industry protected area managers, communities,
tourism businesses and so on. This includes researchers
who can take a multidisciplinary view and be cognisant
of the complexity of the industry and its diverse political,
institutional, environmental, social and economic challenges
and opportunities. Another element that must become a focus
centres on scientists being competent scientists, for example,
being aware of contemporary methodologies, theories and
conceptual frameworks, being engaged within a network of
their peers and people living in tourism destinations, to build
condence and skills, creating a passion for conservation
and interacting with practitioners to be mindful of, and
responsive to, emerging issues and trends.
Owing to the sensitivity of the attractions involved, nature-
based tourism is in need of particular attention by science.
Therefore, this Special Issue of Koedoe was developed to
encourage engagement by scientists in nature-based tourism
and demonstrate that such science has relevancy to not just
ensure protection of heritage, but also to local communities
and to visitors. By better understanding relationships
between visitor use and impact, we enhance managerial
capacity to reduce such impacts and better match visitors
and tourism development with resource capabilities. By
developing knowledge about the experiences visitors seek
and how they respond to the settings provided, we also
build information about how opportunities for high quality
and therefore more competitive – visitor experiences can
be built. By understanding visitor markets, we can construct
more effective marketing campaigns which would lead to
greater levels of per visitor spending locally, thus enhancing
economic opportunity.
However, this requires an investment not just in capacity-
building programmes but in science as well. As all knowledge
is tentative, a continuing ow of research is needed to refresh
our understanding and enhance our wisdom, both of which
a fundamental to procient management. This Special Issue
of Koedoe, led by members of the International Union for
Conservation of Nature (IUCN’s) Tourism and Protected
Areas Specialist Group, thus represents one examination of
interaction between visitation, parks and communities. We
believe it can play an important role in forming a knowledge
base for further discussion and inquiry at the World Parks
Congress in November 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
References
Bertzky, B., Corrigan, C., Kemsey, J., Kenney, S., Ravilious, C., Besançon, C. et al.,
2012, Protected planet report 2012: Tracking progress towards global targets for
protected areas, IUCN, Gland.
Secretariat to the Convenon on Biological Diversity, 2011, COP 10 Decision X/2
strategic plan for biodiversity 2011–2020, viewed 18 January 2014, from hp://
www.cbd.int/decision/cop/?id=12268
World Commission on Protected Areas, 2012, viewed 22 June 2012, hp://www.iucn.
org/about/union/commissions/wcpa/wcpa_what/wcpa_capacity/
Page 2 of 2
... Many PAs attract tourists (McCool & Spenceley, 2014), with the demand for wildlife tourism coming from a wide range of visitors, both domestic and foreign (Rogerson & Rogerson, 2010). The above is typically considered to subsidy local residents because it results in revenues that can serve to ignite the local economies (Mbaiwa, 2008). ...
... This is a result of an overlooked fact: wildlife conservation can contradict with the desire for human well-being, and, consequently, tourism (Moyana, 2014). In addition, the interaction between people and wild animals are characteristically intricate, encompassing a range of stakeholders in tourism stakeholders (McCool & Spenceley, 2014). The natural complexity of the situation pertaining to HWCs, the mass of role-players involved, and the history, social, and political roots of the conflict all subsidize to such challenges (Mawonde, 2018). ...
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This study examined wildlife use versus local community gain in Protected Areas of Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe. Specifically, the study explored the reciprocity of conservation and wildlife tourism in Victoria Falls to determine the cost-benefit of Human Wild Coexistence within conservation goals and local communities’ welfare paradigms. To fulfil the key objective, the study gathered data from 365 local residents, which was supplemented with interviews from key resource persons. The study found that host communities in PAs are substantially still marginalised, and this exclusionary approach has resulted in increased local residents’ negative attitudes towards conservation tourism, making them (locals) to view tourism as insignificant in their local economy mainstreams. Nonetheless, conservation tourism has the potential to develop sustainably in PAs if there are transparency, accountability and renewed cooperation among all the tourism stakeholders who are involved in the decision-making processes. Concepts that provide new directions for public policy for inclusive participation, environmental justice and sustainability are highly contested in the study.
... Stakeholders would be more accountable for the deteriorating condition of the sanctuary and be held responsible for improving the situation. Participants would become more aware about the environmental challenges and issues of the area (Heslinga, Groote, & Vanclay, 2017;Libosada, 2009;McCool & Spenceley, 2014). Unfortunately, many key pieces (i.e. government support, supporting infrastructure, marketing plans, management skills, etc.) were not in place and consequently none of the potential benefits that could have been derived from these businesses were realised. ...
... It is no longer solely about fulfilling conservation and protection goals [3]. National Parks are increasingly challenged to anticipate to several societal needs [1,4,5], such as emerging processes such as climate change, pollution/urbanisation (CO 2 , NOx), and especially in the context of tourism: increasing visitor pressure [5,6]. National Parks are challenged to be(come), at the same time, both robust to endure and cope with possible factors that cause disturbance and flexible to adapt to changing needs, challenges and opportunities that continually arise [7]. ...
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This paper presents a diagnostics tool that we refer to as a ‘governance scan’ and discusses how this tool can contribute to improving governance systems of National Parks. This governance scan combines an analytical framework and an approach to have better understanding of these governance systems. Understanding how National Parks are managed is crucial to achieve improvements and steer towards more sustainable future situations. Governance systems are a fundamental aspect of this, being understood as “associational networks of public, private, civil society actors and how they engage in the making, setting and implementation of rules at various geographical scales”. How these systems are organized and function in practice can greatly shape conservation and development outcomes and hence future states of National Parks. The purpose of this paper is to; (1) elaborate on how this scan is rooted in the literature to explain its theoretical foundation and (2) step-by-step instruct how it is made applicable to use in practice. As an illustrative example, we discuss lessons learned from the application of the governance scan in the real-life context of the recently established ‘New Land’ National Park, located in The Netherlands. We conclude that the scan works as a diagnostics tool, to provide an overview of governance systems in place, facilitate knowledge transfer and discussions among different stakeholders, and set priorities in decision-making processes.
... The visits to PAs are rapidly growing in number. At the same time, conservation efforts intended to negate the loss of biological diversity are highly dependent on the declaration of PAs (McCool and Spenceley, 2014). The United Nations proposed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), wherein tourism is identified as a key force to achieve these goals (WTO and UNDP, 2017). ...
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This study highlights ongoing issues in protected area (PA) tourism and presents management suggestions for PAs, given the growing popularity of PA tourism. This study takes a conceptual approach to discuss the ongoing issues within, and the sustainable future of, PAs. The expansion of PAs is a biodiversity conservation strategy. As PAs expand globally to promote conservation, new opportunities for ecotourism development will also evolve, further contributing to the challenge of balancing conservation and tourism. As many PAs operate without management plans, the development of regulations to foster sustainability is necessary, which is even more important now that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted PA tourism, challenging PAs across the globe. This study provides an overview of PA tourism, discusses ongoing issues, and offers strategies for managerial improvement. Given the substantial growth of PA tourism, the relationship between PAs and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should be explored further.
... Nepal is known for its rich biodiversity and its continuous efforts toward conservation. There is an increased effort globally for biodiversity conservation through the declaration of PAs (McCool & Spenceley, 2014), and tourism is prevalent in PAs. PAs are known to address several SDGs (Dudley, Ali, & MacKinnon, 2017). ...
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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and achieve prosperity for all by bringing together policymakers, academia, practitioners, and all other relevant tourism stakeholders and providing policy and strategic engagement guidelines. As tourism is the fastest-growing sector of the global economy, examining the connections between tourism and the SDGs is relevant to both developing and developed countries. This study explores the Nepalese tourism industry's role in addressing the SDGs from the perspective of various tourism stakeholders (academia, the government, the private tourism industry, and public-private organizations). To present a comprehensive picture, this study employed a case study approach. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with tourism industry stakeholders. The findings suggest that, to varying degrees, the SDGs are applicable as well as achievable for Nepal. However, several issues may impede the full implementation of these goals. The implications of these findings are discussed in the paper.
... The increasing importance of understanding and managing the nexus of tourism and socio-ecological system such as a PA is supported by the growth of international tourism, increased demand for natural and cultural heritage visitation, and international conservation efforts (McCool and Spenceley 2014). Additionally, increasing and diversifying demands from society on PAs, accelerate the need for a greater institutional capability to manage visitors and tourism development in PAs (Strickland-Munro 2017). ...
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Tourism has grown and evolved significantly in past decades, and some of the destination hassles (e.g. crowding, rubbish,facility accessibility and conflicts) become more pronounced. Along with that, PAs face biological, social and economic fragmentation, suggesting that to be effective, the existing approaches to nature-based tourism management require improvement. This chapter aims to critically discuss the usability of tourism and visitor use management and planning frameworks to address the challenges associated with overtourism. The analysis suggests there is no one for all solution in terms of visitor use framework, but constituents of existing frameworks can be crucial for mitigating influences related to extensive visitation. The established frameworks should be advanced by consideration of new theoretical and practical advances, employing the system approach in which PAs are seen in the interrelation with other ecosystems. PA managers require tools and resources, which are necessary to prevail the pressure before they even happen. Greater involvement of stakeholders, goal-orientation and monitoring is needed.
... However, the positive impact of tourism is not solely economic. Tourism is also an opportunity for nature protection through creating awareness, public support and funding for nature protection (Libosada, 2009;McCool & Spenceley, 2014). At the same time, the extent and type of tourism and recreation may reduce the ecological quality of protected and vulnerable landscapes (Buckley, 2012). ...
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In many coastal areas, high numbers of recreationists may exceed ecological capacities. Careful monitoring of visitor flows is a first prerequisite for coastal area management. We show how AIS ship data can be translated into interpretable information on recreational boats and investigate whether AIS can provide monitoring information when compared to nature conservation policy targets. In the Wadden Sea UNESCO World Heritage Site we used nearly 9 million data points to create spatiotemporal patterns for the 2018 recreation season. We combined this with shipping lanes and bathymetry data and compared the resulting patterns with nature protection regulations. Our results show that most of the traffic is concentrated around tidal channels. We also show that exceeding speed limits is not predominant behaviour, but the effect of speeding on birds and seals might be more severe than the data suggests. We mapped favourite tidal flat moor activities, and observed where this occurs in Marine Protected Areas. We conclude that AIS analysis can provide valuable recreational boating monitoring, relevant to sensitive coastal area management in the entire Dutch Wadden Sea for the full recreational season. Broader integration of AIS with radar data and ecological data can add to the power of using AIS.
... Acknowledging synergetic tourism-landscape interactions is important because tourism generates income and job opportunities that rely on the landscape, although simultaneously tourism impacts on the surrounding landscape (Buckley, 2012;Saarinen, 2006) and the community (King, Pizam, & Milman, 1993;McCombes, Vanclay, & Evers, 2015;Snyman, 2015). Tourism is also an opportunity for nature protection, because tourism plays a role in creating awareness, public support and in generating funding for nature protection (Libosada, 2009;McCool & Spenceley, 2014). To achieve both nature protection and socio-economic development, we consider it is important that the synergetic interactions between tourism and protected areas be recognized and stimulated. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
In tourism, the concept of “benefit-sharing” refers to the idea that the benefits arising from tourism should be distributed across a wide range of stakeholders. We argue that the development of synergetic interactions between stakeholders involved in governance processes is a prerequisite for effective benefit-sharing from tourism in protected areas. Our stakeholder analysis of the actors with an interest in the island of Terschelling in the northern Netherlands revealed how relationships between stakeholders enable and/or constrain the sharing of benefits from tourism. Our analysis helped to understand the governance arrangements pertaining to the management of tourism in protected areas. We ascertained that the national forest management agency (Staatsbosbeheer), a large landowner on the island, is highly influential, but nevertheless often found it difficult to gain local support for its activities. The local government was also an important stakeholder, but was considered to sometimes constrain the development of tourism and thus limit the potential for benefit-sharing. Effective communication, good collaboration with stakeholders, and an attitude of openness were identified as being important preconditions for developing synergistic interactions between stakeholders.
Chapter
Protected areas (PA) are complex socio-ecological systems where socio-cultural, economic and ecological perspectives intervene. They have a challenging mission which involves the conservation of nature, provision of ecosystem services and creating an opportunity for the development of the local community. Resilience thinking appears as a novel approach which might foster the understanding of how these missions and goals interact. It refers to a specific model of how socio-ecological systems respond to disturbances, or what attributes shape their response to stress (resistance, adaptability, vulnerability). Within this chapter, we discuss the concept of resilience thinking in national parks (NP) in the Jadranska Hrvatska region, Croatia. The analysis involves the investigation of the aspects of disturbances in NPs, and the adaptation of resilience thinking in the management plans of the selected NPs. The research revealed that the selected NPs are facing the increasing visitors’ use which is emphasising the role of good governance and efficiency of management in applying innovative solutions aiming to advance the resilience of these socio-ecological systems.
Protected planet report 2012: Tracking progress towards global targets for protected areas
  • B Bertzky
  • C Corrigan
  • J Kemsey
  • S Kenney
  • C Ravilious
  • C Besançon
Bertzky, B., Corrigan, C., Kemsey, J., Kenney, S., Ravilious, C., Besançon, C. et al., 2012, Protected planet report 2012: Tracking progress towards global targets for protected areas, IUCN, Gland.