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Protected areas (PA's) achieve recognition and enhanced protection when a sufficient number of tourists visit and appreciate them and influence policy to assure their survival. Despite the growing importance, little attention has been paid to visitor satisfaction in PAs. Visitor experience and satisfaction may be influenced by many attributes of PAs. The present study is an attempt to examine the effect of visitor impact management (VIM) practices on visitor experience and satisfaction concerning eco and wildlife tourism at Eravikulam National Park (ENP). VIM is a component of PA management and is required to ensure a high level of visitor experience, education, facilities, and services. For this purpose, researchers have measured the socio-economic profile of visitors and various attributes viz. Tourism Activities (TA), Environmental Impacts (ENI), Socio-Cultural Impacts (SCI), Visitor Impact Management (VIM), Visitor Education (VE), and overall satisfaction of visitors (OSA). The results of the study show that VIM is significantly and positively correlated with VE, OSA of visitors. (VIM, TA, ENI, SCI, VE) explained partial variation in the criterion variable viz., OSA.
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A study of visitor impact management practices and visitor
satisfaction at Eravikulam National Park, India
Sivakami Velmurugan
, Bindu Vazhakkatte Thazhathethil
, Babu George
Department of Tourism Management, Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science and HigherEducation for Women, Coimbatore, Mettupalayam Road, Coimbatore 641 043,
Tamil Nadu, India
Department of Tourism Management, Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science and Higher Education for Women, Coimbatore, MettupalayamRoad, Coimbatore 641043,
Tamil Nadu, India
School of Business, Christian Brothers University, 650 E Pkwy S, Memphis,TN 38104, USA
article info abstract
Article history:
Received 23 May 2021
Received in revised form 12 November 2021
Accepted 14 November 2021
Available online 19 November 2021
Protected areas (PAs) achieve recognition and enhanced protection when a sufcient number
of tourists visit and appreciate them and inuence policy to assure their survival. Despite the
growing importance, little attention has been paid to visitor satisfaction in PAs. Visitor experi-
ence and satisfaction may be inuenced by many attributes of PAs. The present study is an at-
tempt to examine the effect of visitor impact management (VIM) practices on visitor
experience and satisfaction concerning eco and wildlife tourism at Eravikulam National Park
(ENP). VIM is a component of PA management and is required to ensure a high level of visitor
experience, education, facilities, and services. For this purpose, researchers have measured the
socio-economic prole of visitors and various attributes viz. tourism activities (TA), environ-
mental impacts (ENI), socio-cultural impacts (SCI), visitor impact management (VIM), visitor
education (VE), and overall satisfaction of visitors (OSA).
The results of the study show that VIM is signicantly and positively correlated with VE, OSA of
visitors. (VIM, TA, ENI, SCI, VE) explained partial variation in the criterion variable viz., OSA.
© 2021 Beijing Normal University. Publishing services by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of KeAi
Communications Co. Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://
Protected areas
Visitor satisfaction
National Park
Visitor education
Sociocultural impact
Visitor impact management
1. Introduction
Protected Areas (PAs) are areas where biological diversity combined with natural and cultural resources are protected, main-
tained, and managed through legal and administrative measures. PAs are believed to be the major tourism assets for developing
countries because they can provide sustainable benets to the local communities while funding the safeguarding and rehabilita-
tion of the PAs (Pananjay, Tawari, Shashi, Tawari, & Tawari, 2011). Tourists visit PAs to fulll their desires and satisfy their specic
needs. The quality of the environment, both natural and man-made, is essential for tourism in PAs. PA managers are under grow-
ing pressure to provide meaningful and educational visitor experiences and revenue for conservation management, while not
allowing tourism to compromise the ecological integrity and associated conservation values of PAs (Yu Fai et al., 2018). The im-
portance of a visitor impact management (VIM) as a tool lies in minimizing the negative effects resulting from visitor activities
and maximizing the positive effects. Developing a better understanding of visitor perceptions and satisfaction is integral to gaining
insights into the pressures that lead to both over-tourism and the under-utilization of tourist attractions, including natural areas.
For a development to be sustainable, visitor satisfaction is important since it inuences their future intentions, in terms of
revisiting a destination, which benets various stakeholders of the national park (NP). Thus, it is very important to identify and
International Journal of Geoheritage and Parks 9 (2021) 463479
Corresponding author.
E-mail address: (B. George).
2577-4441/© 2021 Beijing Normal University. Publishing services by ElsevierB.V. on behalf of KeAi Communications Co. Ltd.This is an open access articleunder the CC
BY-NC-ND license (
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measure visitor satisfaction with each attribute of a destination, because visitor satisfaction/dissatisfaction with one of the compo-
nents may lead to satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the overall destination (Kozak & Rimmington, 2000). Hence this study aims to
analyze the effects of VIM practices on visitor experience and satisfaction. This study focused on Eravikulam National Park (ENP)
located in Munnar, managed under the Munnar wildlife division, which attracts lakhs of visitors every year. It is considered for its
biological richness, abundance of wildlife, and landscape beauty. In this regard, the study was conned to PA tourism with an ob-
jective to focus primarily on the demographic characteristics of the visitors, their experiences, and overall satisfaction on various
factors that contribute to VIM at ENP. Deng and Bender (2007) argue tourists can identify what the local community cannot and
their perception of tourism development can be different. Some past investigations analyzed resident fulllment with dimensions
of sustainable tourism development (Cottrell, Vaske, & Roemer, 2013;Cottrell, Vaske, Shen, & Ritter, 2007;Hussain, Ali, Ragavan,
&Manhas,2015) while tourist point of view remains an understudied issue. Hence the study was undertaken from the viewpoint
of visitors and the results of this study may allow the park management to focus on specic site attributes and to make appro-
priate use of funds for improving park services to increase visitation and levels of satisfaction with their experiences.
2. Literature review
The literature review of the current study is divided into two areas: rst, Tourism in PAs and VIM practices at ENP; Secondly
about the importance of Visitor satisfaction at the destination.
Tourism and Protected PAs are a key approach to global environmental conservation efforts and are recognized as the most
important way to protect species in their natural habitats (Chape, Harrison, Spalding, & Lysenko, 2005;Leverington, Costa,
Pavese, Lisle, & Hockings, 2010;Watson et al., 2015). PA's serve dual mandates of conserving biodiversity and providing outdoor
recreation and tourism opportunities (Leung, Spenceley, Hvenegaard, & Buckley, 2018). The attributes of NP's are categorized into
the natural, socio-cultural and managerial factors (Tonge & Moore, 2007;Tonge, Moore, & Taplin, 2011). NP's are a fraction of
nature-based tourism and they are also a component of the PA (Butler, 2000). NP was set up to prevent the exploitation of wild-
life and the environment, for recreation, and as a means of scienticstudy(Fennell, 2001). NP allows the visitor to relax and en-
tertain nature with ensuring biodiversity. While traditionally established to protect our most valuable biodiversity and cultural
traditions, protected areas can also generate many other benets (often measured through natural capital or ecosystem service
assessments) (IUCN, 2006). Natural protected areas face the challenge of reconciling natural attractions with the satisfaction of
different stakeholders without compromising their resources. Appropriate management and marketing can play an important
role in sustainable activities. These attributes of protected areas are known to affect the experiences and contribute to visitor sat-
isfaction (Tonge, Moore, & Taplin, 2011;Zhang & Chan, 2016;Ziegler, Dearden, & Rollins, 2012). Tourists assume a key role in
promoting sustainability. Hence, tourism managers need to comprehend tourist perceptions beyond market segmentation, satis-
faction, and expenditure patterns (Nicholas & Thapa, 2010;Swarbrooke, 1999;Thapa, 2013;Weaver & Lawton, 2004). Even
though tourists as important agents of sustainable tourism are noticed in the literature (Pulido-Fernandez & Lopez-Sanchez,
2016;Raymond & Brown, 2007;Weaver & Lawton, 2004), there is a paucity of research inspecting visitor perception towards
tourism development in general and sustainable tourism development in particular (Raymond & Brown, 2007;Weaver &
Lawton, 2004).
PA's have a strong appeal to visitors seeking experience in natural settings. A park experience could include learning, discov-
ery, social dimensions, adventure, and physical challenge, among others. These experiences can be measured qualitatively and
quantitatively as suggested by a variety of studies (Glaspell & Puttkammer, 2001;Patterson, Watson, Williams, & Roggenbuck,
1998;Ryan, 2000). Understanding visitor experiences is essential if park managers are to facilitate benecial outcomes for both
individuals and society (Wolf et al., 2015). Experiences can be inuenced by certain aspects of protected areas such as the pres-
ence of charismatic species, the uniqueness, and attractiveness of the landscape, quality of the facilities, security, accessibility, be-
havior of and quality service by the staff (Vespestad & Lindberg, 2011;Zhang & Chan, 2016). These aspects constitute the
attributes of protected areas that generally affect the experiences and contribute to visitor satisfaction (Ziegler et al., 2012).
Given the popularity of protected areas and the potential impacts of visitor use, protected area managers are often required to
document and demonstrate if specic activities and levels of use are sustainable and if management actions are required to min-
imize impacts (Hadwen, Hill, & Pickering, 2007,Hadwen, Hill, & Pickering, 2008;Monz, Cole, Leung, & Marion, 2010;Newsome,
Moore, & Dowling, 2012). Gordon (2018) outlines the range of connections between geo heritage and cultural heritage within an
ecosystem services framework which is now widely adopted within the environmental science and policy communities; second,
considers the changing cultural values, both historical and modern, placed on the physical landscape and geological features, and
the lessons they provide for geotourism; and third, evaluates how the interpretation of cultural links can enhance the visitor ex-
perience and at the same time promote sound geo-ethical values.
Various studies highlight the importance of measuring the magnitude of the environmental impact that tourists are aware of
and understand when traveling Dahal, Anup, & Sapkota, 2020). Stojanovićet al. (2021) investigated the major impacts of tourism
development to natural resources of protected areas according to the experts in the eld of nature protection. The study also
stressed on identifying the major impacts and mitigating them in early stages of tourism development would have major contri-
bution to achievement of sustainable development. The visibility of environmental issues has led to increased research into the
environmental problems caused by tourism and how visitors view the impacts they produce (Shashni & Sundriyal, 2017).
Dowling & Newsome, 2017 surveyed visitor impacts and site management at geological sites which are geotourism destinations.
They described geotourism as an engine driving the core activities of conservation, education and sustainable development in ge-
oparks. They also outline some lessons learned from management in dealing with visitor impacts at a heavily visited geopark in
S. Velmurugan, B. Vazhakkatte Thazhathethil and B. George International Journal of Geoheritage and Parks 9 (2021) 463479
Taiwan, a volcano in Indonesia, and a coastal World Heritage site in England. The importance of education is emphasized for geo-
climbing in Spain and all-terrain vehicles in Poland. A number of site management approaches were noted in the study, including
the importance of guiding as a management strategy as well as the value of a positive involvement by the local community. VIM
considers different issues such as tourist facilities, gateways and orientation, transport routes and visitor ows, guiding, and inter-
pretation. VIM and measurement are directly linked to the satisfaction and the consequences of the latter process. VIM at ENP is
done by managing environmental and socio-cultural impacts. The understanding of visitors' perception of environmental impacts
is an essential part constituent to the management and quality of recreation services provided in a national park (Cressford,
2000). The development of tourism destinations was normally accompanied by considerable environmental deterioration.
Sharpley (2006) believes that the environment is a basic element of the tourists' experience where the tourists look for attractive
natural resources, different and special, allowing specic tourism activities. Maryam Khan (2003) in his study revealed that eco-
tourists tend to expect businesses to be environmentally friendly and prefer services that are courteous, informative, and trust-
worthy. In addition, physical facilities that were environmentally appropriate and equipment that minimizes environmental
degradation were found more important to the ecotourists. A study by Manning, Lawson, Newman, Hallo, & Monz (2014) empha-
sized that transportation is more than a means of access to national parks. It can be a form of recreation itself, offering most vis-
itors their primary opportunities to experience and appreciate the natural and cultural landscapes embodied by national parks.
Most studies address the relationship between transportation and the environment and the quality of the visitor experience. Al-
ternative transportation systems (ATS) are one of the most promising manifestations of sustainable transportation in the national
parks which use ferries, trains, vans, historic vehicles, and other conveyances. Many of these ATS vehicles use an alternative, less-
polluting fuels. Of course, ATSs can mean pedestrian and bicycle travel as well. Properly planned and managed, ATSs can reduce
many of the environmental impacts of private automobiles while maintaining and even enhancing the quality of the visitor expe-
rience. Pulido-Fernandez & Lopez-Sanchez, 2016 uncover that tourists are developing familiarity with the environmental, social,
and cultural impacts that tourism activity can generate. The above authors argue that tourists who encourage and get through
sustainable tourism are responsive to the impacts that this activity can generate and therefore try to protect the attraction
sites. Diverse ndings were gotten in an examination did in China. Ecological sustainability was discovered most grounded pre-
dictor of tourist satisfaction, trailed by social and cultural sustainability (Fan, Zhong, & Zhang, 2012). Nillahut (2010) identies
positive effects of socio-cultural impact such as improvement in the quality of life, positive change in values and customs, promo-
tion of cultural exchange with other cultures to build harmony with one another, greater tolerance of social differences, and in-
creasing facilities for visitors. Cajee (2014) in the case study of village tourism at Darap in West Sikkim, has discussed eco-cultural
tourism as a concept where both ecological and cultural aspects of a landscape are combined together creating a tourist paradise.
Long treks, nature walks, adventure sports with activities such as shing, rafting, mountaineering includes as part of their eco-
cultural tourism activity depending on the choice of the tourist. The evenings are normally sitting around a bonre relaxing
with traditional drinks and beverages and being entertained through folk songs and dances. Storytelling in the form of folk
tales and teaching the local language/dialect is also an added feature during the stay. Knowledge of traditional values, taboos, in-
digenous knowledge, etc. is often been related during interactions and discussions. Therefore, it is found that blending of both the
local environmental setting and culture forms a perfect cultural landscape of value-based tourism. Socio-cultural impacts include
changes to individual behavior, value systems, cultural practices, and community organizations (Andereck, Valentine, Knopf, &
Vogt, 2005). Tourism can enhance ethnic identity, increase understanding between cultures, challenge stereotypes and percep-
tions and revitalize cultural values and traditions (Telfer & Sharpley, 2007), including the use of natural resources.
The quality of natural attraction and the facilities offered were also characteristics measured by Akama & Kieti (2003),toas-
sess the satisfaction of tourists with two East African domestic parks. The destination features perceived as high in satisfaction
were factors such as transportation, shopping centers, and cultural activities. Since recreational activities, recognized as social be-
havior, that naturally suggest that data on visitors' attitudes and preferences towards facilities and services would be desirable for
better destination management (Junus, Hambali, Iman, Abas, & Hassin, 2020). Safety and security, cost-effectiveness, cleanliness,
signage, and family-oriented attractions and people's hospitality were seen as low in contentment (Ranasinghe, Kumudulali, &
Ranaweera, 2020). Kozak and Rimmington (2000), in their research on tourist satisfaction with Mallorca, Spain, the attractiveness
of destinations, tourist attractions, and amenities, as well as facilities and services at the airport location, were described as impor-
tant variables inuencing satisfaction levels. Existing Park facilities such as in-park road conditions, facilities at picnic areas, avail-
ability of park souvenirs & restrooms, and conditions of safari vehicles also impact visitor satisfaction at NP. They are willing to
pay more are for products and services provided by environmentally conscious suppliers. They show sensitivity to environmen-
tally friendly conservation efforts to preserve natural resources and show an interest and appreciation for local customs and con-
ditions. They are also interested in more active and participatory learning experiences (Manning, 1999). Public support for parks
has been correlated with visitation, as increased frequency is directly linked to societal support (Eagles & McCool, 2002). Also,
more visits contribute to regional development along with economic, environmental, and social sustainability, which consequently
inuences support for NPs. (Hall & Frost, 2009). Since park-based tourism is a major factor that creates multiple linkages within
and adjacent to PAs, it is important for managers to enhance and augment visitor education (VE) (Mulholland & Eagles, 2002).
Visiting a PA is an information-intensive activity. In addition to attracting visitors, PAs provide opportunities to educate visitors
through experiences, study, interpretation, visitor centres and publications. Nature-based tourism provides a specic way for peo-
ple to come into direct contact with nature and protected area tourism offers signicant opportunities to educate visitors about
the value (Bushell & Bricker, 2017). A general problem that occurs in many PAs is the lack of professional communication and
interpretation. Local guides often lack knowledge on effective communication with guests. Frequently their language skills need
strengthening, as well as their ability to convey scientic messages in a simple and interesting way that matches the educational
S. Velmurugan, B. Vazhakkatte Thazhathethil and B. George International Journal of Geoheritage and Parks 9 (2021) 463479
and interest level of the visitors. The individual visitor experience is further shaped by a number of factors such as purpose of
visit, services, and facilities (IUCN, 2006). Kozak and Rimmington (2000) in their study of tourist satisfaction with Mallorca,
Spain, found the signicant factors impacting levels of satisfaction to be: destination attractiveness, tourist attractions and facili-
ties, and the facilities and services at the destination airport. Maikhuri, Rana, Rao, Nautiyal, & Saxena, 2000 in their study insisted
on an urgent need to develop effective educational extension materials related to biodiversity conservation for trekkers/visitors
that can be distributed from the information centers. Hwang, Lee, & Chen, 2005 argue that interpretation in a natural park setting
plays an important role in visitors' perception of service quality and thus satisfaction. Using the interpretation services of ve
NPs in Taiwan, the researchers examined the relationship between tourist involvement, place attachment, and interpretation
2.1. Signicance of visitor satisfaction
It is unthinkable to search for sustainable tourism development without ensuring tourist satisfaction (UNEP/WTO, 2004;
Bernini, Urbinati, & Vici, 2015). Tourists' satisfaction related to the visited region is crucial for the tourism industry and its eco-
nomic development (Petrick, 2003). This is important for protected areas, increasingly dependent on the development of sustain-
able tourism. A high level of satisfaction translates into a higher probability that the tourist will be more likely to return to a
region that brings positive associations (Tsiotsou & Vasioti, 2006).Considering the tourist's socio-demographic and visitation char-
acteristics, motivation and satisfaction are essential to facilitate the implementation of tourism management plans (Lee &
Abrahams, 2018;Lyngdoh, Mathur, & Sinha, 2017). Tourist satisfaction and sustainable tourism development are considered to
be two sides of the same coin as noted in previous studies (Bernini et al., 2015;Kozak & Rimmington, 2000;Rajesh, 2013). As
recommended by Weaver & Lawton, 2004, tourist satisfaction is very important to guarantee economic, ecological, and social sus-
tainability. With the increase in demand for accountability, it is becoming increasingly important to document the progress to-
wards the achievement of this goal of visitor satisfaction (Glover, 1999). Visitor Satisfaction is viewed as a measure of the
quality of a visitor's experience (Moore, Rodger, & Taplin, 2015). In satisfying visitors, managers need to understand their expec-
tations and the experiences as a basis for providing a satisfactory experience for them (Agyeman, Aboagye, & Ashie, 2019). Pro-
viding satisfactory experience facilitates nancial performance, loyalty, and repeat visits to protected areas (Deng & Bender, 2007;
Moore, Rodger, & Taplin, 2015), visitors' evaluation of the quality of attributes of a protected area would help identify areas that
need improvement to enhance visitor experience and satisfaction. The results would also be of interest to scholars seeking to un-
derstand what constitutes visitor satisfaction within and between protected areas and contribute to between visitor the literature
on visitor satisfaction in general. There is usually a positive association between satisfaction and the destination's long-term eco-
nomic success and competitiveness (Coghlan, 2012). In order to enhance visitors' satisfaction levels, basic facilities within the
sanctuary need improvement besides developing interpretations component, such that the intrinsic nature and quality of
nature-based ecotourism destination is achieved (Bhalla & Bhattacharya, 2019). Overall satisfaction is inuenced by situational
variables including resource settings, social settings, and management settings, and these inuences are further mediated by
the subjective evaluations of individual visitors according to their socioeconomic characteristics, cultural characteristics, experi-
ence, norms, attitudes, and preferences (Whisman & Hollenhorst, 1998). In a study on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, Coghlan
(2012) points out that it is possible to conserve natural resources at the same time as creating tourist satisfaction through provid-
ing experiences of the natural environment and provision of high-quality services. To provide high-quality and satisfactory expe-
riences, tourism managers and marketers need to rst understand the nature of the tourism or leisure experience. According to
Widawski, Oleśniewicz, Rozenkiewicz, Zaręba, and Jandová (2020) Among the positive opinions indicated in the survey, regarding
the satisfaction of tourists at geopark, the following advantages appeared most often: sights, panoramas, varied trails, tranquillity,
low trafc, favourable density of the trails, and interesting cultural and natural assets. Among the negative ones there were mud,
lack of signposting and land development, insufcient care for tidiness on trails.
The theory of the present study was identied based on the adopted model from the study by Guo & Chung, 2017 and Chan
and Bhatta (2013).
3. Materials and methods
3.1. Description of the study area
Kerala hosts several popular wildlife sanctuaries and NPs covering bizarre and rare species of ora and fauna. Fourteen wildlife
sanctuaries and two tiger reserves are located in the intricate forest of the majestic Western Ghats or Sahyadri ranges of Kerala.
The Gods Own Country also claims endangered and endemic species like the Indian Sloth-Bear, Lion-Tailed Macaque, Indian Bison,
Bengal Tiger, Nilgiri Tahr, etc., in its PAs. Among the NPs of Kerala, ENP Located in Munnar, was selected as the study area. With a
widespread area of 97 Km2, ENP is renowned for the threatened inhabitant - the Nilgiri Tahr which is found in high density due
to their habitat. Visitors also ock to ENP which is located (Fig. 1) in the Devikulam taluk of Idukki district, to view the special
Neelakurinji owers (Strobilanthes kunthianam) that bloom once every12 year. Anamudi (2695 m), the highest peak of Southern
India is also located in its southern area. Exotic Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius) can be viewed at the close quarters from the
Rajamalai region, the tourism zone of the area which is open to the public. Whereas the core and buffer area are not open to the
public. Tourism activities in the national park include Trekking, Wildlife Safari, Jungle camps, Flora, Fauna and Waterfalls sightsee-
ing, and Eco shop (
S. Velmurugan, B. Vazhakkatte Thazhathethil and B. George International Journal of Geoheritage and Parks 9 (2021) 463479
3.1.1. Biodiversity of the NP
ENP offers plenty of academic prospects for learning the biodiversity of montane vegetation and the ecological riddles associ-
ated with the ecosystem as it is the only enduring feasible Island of shola grassland complex. Fauna
The NP is home to a total of 85 species of Butteries, 81 species of Birds (45 conned to Shola forest and 16 migratory) 21
species of Mammals, 22 species of Amphibians and 33 species of Reptiles are reported (Balakrishnan M, Surendrananthan Asari
P·K, 2002).Among the mammals There are 48 species of Mammals recorded from the park (Fauna of Eravikulam National Park,
Zoological Survey of India, Faunal Conservation Series 13, 2002 and management plan of Eravikulam National Park 2002 to
2011) of which 17 are endemic to the Western Ghats. Flora
High elevations of the Western Ghats are considered botanically rich areas in India. Three major types of plant communities
are found within the park: Grasslands, Shrub lands and Shola Forests. The terrain above 2000 m is covered primarily by Grass-
lands. However, there are numerous small patches of forests in hollows and gullies in these areas.
The study on land cover in Eravikulam National Park reveals that the Grasslands constitutes 60% of the land cover, Shola For-
ests constitute about 20% of the land area and the remaining area is occupied by Southern Tropical Hill Forests, Scrubs and Rocky
cliffs (Balakrishnan M, Surendrananthan Asari P·K, 2002).
The Park is oristically rich due to its characteristic climatic condition. 803 taxa (76 Pteridophytes and 727 Angiosperms) were
collected and described from the park. An area of 200 ha marked as Medicinal Plant Conservation Area (MPCA) between Anamudi
and Eravikulam, earmarked for the conservation of medicinal plants is maintained as such. This area has been protected from re
incidents every year for its protection and conservation. Climate
The sharp bluffs and cliffs on all sides make ENP a remote tableland and accountable for the exceptional microclimate. The in-
appropriateness of soil for agriculture, remoteness, and extreme climate has facilitated the area to remain free from the onslaught
Fig. 1. Location map of Eravikulam National Park.
Source:Nameer, Nameer, Sreekumar, Nikhil, & Ajay, 2018. Diversity and endemism of butteries of montane forests of Eravikulam National Park in the Western
Ghats, India.
S. Velmurugan, B. Vazhakkatte Thazhathethil and B. George International Journal of Geoheritage and Parks 9 (2021) 463479
of human development. Even though the range of the park falls latitudinally in the tropics, ENP displays an extratropical climate
due to the altitudinal inuence. ENP is locally signicant as a catchment area for both east (tributaries of River Pambar) and west
(tributaries of River Periyar and Chalakkudy) owing Rivers. Regionally, it is vital for sustaining the climate, providing drinking
water to the nearby estates, and for irrigation in parts of Aanjanad Valley. Local community
ENP is substantial to the local and indigenous people, exclusively the Muthuvans who reside at the borders of the park and
have traditionally been related with the high country. ENP is an instance of institutionalized joint management as the long-
established links with the high range Wildlife and Environment Preservation Association (HRWEPA), who were formerly manag-
ing the park as a game reserve.
3.2. Methodology
For the study, primary data was collected from visitors to the ENP, Munnar. A descriptive research design was used, where the
structured questionnaire with a ve-point Likert scale (Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree, Strongly Disagree ranging from
Five to One.) was circulated among the respondents to gather information systematically. For a better understanding, concerning
the behavioral styles of the respondents, analytical research is also utilized for the study where the hypothetical relationship be-
tween the variables could be recognized. The survey for visitors has been separated into ve aspects to accomplish the objectives
of the study. The rst section focused on the demographic characteristics of visitors, the second section focused on tourism activ-
ities (TA), the third section on environmental impacts (ENI)-nine items, SCI-six items at Eravikulam National Park (ENP). The
fourth section identied the overall satisfaction of visitors (OSA) of tourists by measuring the available facilities (AF) -eight
items and human evironment (HE) six items at ENP. The fth section captured visitor education (VE) three items and visitor im-
pact management (VIM) thirteen items at ENP. Simple random sampling was adopted to pick the sample respondents. The re-
spondents were selected based on their interest in a speciceld and willingness to participate in the interview. To calculate
the sample population, average visitors arrival data from the year 2015 to 2018 was calculated and was ascertained to be
5,40,000 visitors. Thus, the nal sample collected was 576. Incomplete questionnaires were rejected and 540 completed Question-
naires were considered for the study. The questionnaires were analyzed by SPSS - 21. All collected data were later analyzed using
a descriptive analysis approach. Percentage analysis was used to measure the Socio-Economic Prole of the visitors to the ENP.
Mean Scores were calculated to identify the satisfaction of visitors on VIM practices at ENP. The inuence of socio-economic fac-
tors on VIM practices at ENP was measured using ANOVA and the correlation among the variables were measured using Pearson
Correlation. Also, the OSA of visitors was examined using multiple regression analyses to identify signicant inuences of the
independent variables on the dependent variable.
4. Analysis and results
4.1. Reliability analysis
The reliability coefcients are Cronbach's Alpha, the stability coefcient, and the coefcient of equivalence. The value of
Cronbach's Alpha ranges from a minimum of 0.731 to 0.906 (all are close to unity).
4.2. Socio economic prole of visitors
The needs, wants and priorities in terms of the choosing the destinations /spots can be determined by the socio-economic pro-
le of the visitors. The socio-economic factors like gender, type of visitors, age, education, occupation, income, and marital status
were elucidated in socio economic prole of visitors (Table 1).
The distribution of visitors based on gender revealed that the majority of the visitors were male with 70.7% in comparison to
female visitors' 29.3% and maybe understood that more male visitors were motivated to visit the ENP than female visitors. Various
factors that contribute to visitor impact management were studied based on the experience and understanding of visitors, which
may generally differ for males from that of female visitors owing to the differences in tastes and likes on different aspects. The
majority of visitors were domestic with 93.7% and foreigners with 6.3%. The data relating to the annual visitor arrivals to the
ENP, collected by ENP of Munnar Wildlife Division also clearly shows that domestic tourists have outnumbered the foreign visitors
at ENP. The distribution of the number of domestic and foreign visitors indicates that both positive and negative impacts from
domestic tourists seem to be more as it is apparent from the stable arrival of domestic visitors to the ENP. Different places attract
tourists from different age groups with different backgrounds. The age of the respondents is an autonomous factor that inuences
the choices of the visitors to visit a specic destination. With the connection to visitors of ENP, the age distribution of visitors re-
veals that the majority of the respondents were from the age group between 25 and 35 years with 40.9% and the remaining vis-
itors were from the age group of 1824 years who represents 32.6%, followed by 3649 years with 17.6%, less than 18 years of age
with 3.9%, 5064 years with 3.5% and above 65 years with 1.5%. The results show that the destination attracts visitors within the
age group of 2535 in the majority to spend their leisure time at special interest nature-based tourism destinations. Though ed-
ucational qualication is not a prerequisite to visit a particular destination, it may be required to have a minimum level of
S. Velmurugan, B. Vazhakkatte Thazhathethil and B. George International Journal of Geoheritage and Parks 9 (2021) 463479
awareness and understanding of the signicance of the destination. In this regard, education is the parameter that inuences the
desire for travel and the choice of destination of a visitor. educational qualication data of ENP explains that the majority of the
visitors were graduates with 41.7%, followed by diploma education with 20.4%, secondary education with 18.9%, school education
with 9.6, and post-graduation with 9.4%. Type of occupation is the main factor that inuences the visitors to spend some time in
leisure activities and the ability to pay for a holiday at favorite destinations with friends or family. From the distribution, it is in-
ferred that the majority of the Visitors were private employees with 44.8% which indicates that the growing income of the people
working in the private sector along with the leisure time, weekend and festive holidays, may contribute signicantly to explore
undisturbed nature-based tourism areas like national parks and hill stations. Visitors who may be students or homemakers fall
under the othercategory, contribute 16.7%, self-employed with 15.2%, Business with 14.6%, retired with 0.9%, and government
employees with 7.8%. The income of the family is a vital factor of the socio-economic background of visitors which presumes
the ability to spend at the destination for leisure. From the analysis, it is inferred that maximum visitors were earning between
one lakh one to two lakh with 32.4% which indicates that the ENP attracts more average income tourists, followed by below
fty thousand with 28.1%, fty thousand and one to one lakh with 18.3%, two lakh one to ve lakh with 15.7% and above ve
lakh one with 5.4%. Concerning the marital status, the majority of the visitors were married with 57% followed by 43% unmarried
or single.
Table 2 shows the highest and lowest mean values of factors perceived in the study. Mean values of variables tourism activities
(TA) (4. 26), envirionmental impacts (ENI) (4.59), socio-cultural impacts (SCI) (4.24, visitor impact management (VIM) (4.12)
and visitor education (VE) (4.13) denotes that VIM practices are satisfactory at ENP are ranging above mean value 44.5.
Variations in demographics between VIM practices were identied with respect to gender, and type of visitors from Table 3.
The study identied that male respondents have high satisfaction for FA and VE than female respondents which expresses
identical results from (Ozturk & Hancer, 2008) where male tourists were signicantly more satised than female tourists, and
rated destination factors signicantly higher than females did. On the other hand, the average score of foreign and domestic
Table 2
Mean scores of VIM practices.
VIM practices Highest mean value Lowest mean value
TA 4.26 3.79
ENI 4.59 4.15
SCI 4.24 4.04
VIM 4.12 3.68
VE 4.13 3.94
Source: Primary data.
Table 1
Socio economic prole of visitors.
Demographic factors Particulars Percent
Gender Male 70.7
Female 29.3
Type of visitor Foreign 6.3
Domestic 93.7
Age Less than 18 3.9
1824 32.6
2535 40.9
3649 17.6
5064 3.5
65+ 1.5
Education School 9.6
Secondary 18.9
Diploma 20.4
Graduation 41.7
Post-Graduation 9.4
Occupation Self-Employment 15.2
Government 7.8
Private 44.8
Business 14.6
Retired 0.9
Others 16.7
Annual income Below 50,000 28.1
50,0011,00,000 18.3
1,00,0012,00,000 32.4
2,00,0015,00,000 15.7
5,00,001 and above 5.4
Marital status Single 43
Married 57
Source: Primary data.
S. Velmurugan, B. Vazhakkatte Thazhathethil and B. George International Journal of Geoheritage and Parks 9 (2021) 463479
respondents implies that SCI, VE, and VIM factors are important, but foreigners give a higher level of satisfaction than domestic
visitors. Fig. 2 represents the graphical view on the inuence of socio -economic factors on VIM practices.
Inuence of socio-economic factors on VIM practices was drawn from Table 4.
The study on Iron Gates Natural Park (Ciocanea, Sorescu, Ianoşi, & Vasile, 2016) revealed a signicant association between
level of information towards PAs and age, occupation, and education, conrms the research nding that different age group differs
signicantly with VE provided at ENP.
The level of education of visitors signicantly inuences TA undertaken, ENI, and SCI at the national park. In the context of
education, the increased knowledge of an individual regarding the environment will lead to increased awareness and positive be-
havior towards the environment. Studies also have shown a positive link between the realization of tourist activities, resource im-
pacts, and an individual's educational level (Parker, 1976;D'Antonio, Monz, Newman, Lawson, & Taff, 2012;Manning et al., 2004).
The annual income of the visitors signicantly inuences TA undertaken at the national park has been reinforced from the
study of Samdin et al., (2010) that income had a signicant inuence on visitor willingness to pay for activities at Taman Negara
NP. The nding on inuence of visitors companion on ENI, and VE provided at the national park is alike with the ndings of Chen,
Wang, & Prebensen, 2016 and Choo and Petrick (2015) that travel companions critically inuence the overall quality of the travel
experience, because they inuence the activity preferences and plans to visit particular tourist destinations.
Fig. 2. Inuence of socio-economic factors on VIM practices.
Source: Primary data.
Table 4
Inuence of socio-economic factors on VIM practices.
Factors VIM practices F Sig.
Age VE 4.384 0.001
Education TA 2.850 0.023
ENI 5.413 0.000
SCI 3.053 0.017
Annual income TA 4.548 0.001
Visitor companion
ENI 2.257 0.048
VE 2.794 0.040
Mode of transport TA 4.263 0.002
VE 3.774 0.005
VIM 2.306 0.033
VE 5.618 0.000
Source: Primary data.
Table 3
Inuence of socio-economic factors on VIM practices.
Socio economic factors VIM practices F value Signicance
Gender AF 1.120 0.008
VE 0.399 0.051
Type of visitors VE 0.470 0.014
SCI 1.650 0.008
VIM 0.920 0.012
Source: Primary data.
S. Velmurugan, B. Vazhakkatte Thazhathethil and B. George International Journal of Geoheritage and Parks 9 (2021) 463479
The mode of transport used to arrive at the national park inuences TA undertaken, VIM, and VE at the national park. The
study by Diem-Trinh (2015) examined tourists' choice of transport mode and areas visited in the Munich region and revealed
that tourists' choice of transport mode and areas visited are closely related to each other which supports the ndings of the
study. According to Manning, Lawson, Newman, Hallo, & Monz, 2014, Transportation can be even more than this: it is also a po-
tentially powerful tool for managing the national parks. The transportation networks and linkages in parks help determine where
park visitors travel (and where they don't) and can be used by park managers to help deliver the rightnumber of visitors to the
rightplaces at the righttimes (Manning, 2007;Lawson, Newman, Choi, Pettebone, & Meldrum, 2009;Manning, 2009). In this
way, transportation can be used to manage national parks in a sustainable way by protecting park resources and the quality of the
visitor experience. Fig. 3 represents the graphical view on the inuence of socio -economic factors on VIM practices.
In this study, the empirical relationship between the factors TA, ENI, SCI, VIM, VE, and overall satisfaction of visitors (OSA) of
visitors was identied. Table 5 on the Empirical relationship between the study factors shows the correlations between all the
constructs under study.
Tourism Activities (TA), Environmental Impacts (ENI), Socio Cultural Impacts (SCI), Visitor Impact Management (VIM), Visitor
Education (VE), Overall Satisfaction of Visitors (OSA).
TA at the national park were signicantly and positively correlated with ENI (0.104), positively correlated with SCI and VIM.
On other hand the factor negatively correlates with OSA which states that TA at the national park has to be improved without
compromising on the quality of the environment on which PA tourism is based on. In the study of six PAs of the Northern Tourist
Circuit of Tanzania, 86% of tourists were willing to repeat their visit and were attracted mainly to wildlife viewing but 81% equally
indicated that non-wildlife attractions enhanced their tourist experience. The high level of satisfaction has equally inuenced the
decision by tourists to repeat their visit and invite other persons in order to enjoy game view and for future research (Okello &
Yerian, 2009). Thus, in order to sustain the development of ENP, there is a need to improvise existing TA and equally introduce
additional facilities and activities which are compatible with PA based tourism.
Fig. 3. Inuence of socio-economic factors on VIM practices.
Table 5
Empirical relationship between the study factors.
TA ENI SCI VIM VE OSA of visitors
TA Pearson correlation 1 0.104() 0.026 0.006 0.040 0.006
ENI Pearson correlation 1 0.487(⁎⁎) 0.237(⁎⁎) 0.161(⁎⁎) 0.207(⁎⁎)
SCI Pearson correlation 1 0.308(⁎⁎) 0.160(⁎⁎) 0.361(⁎⁎)
VIM Pearson correlation 1 0.742(⁎⁎) 0.676(⁎⁎ )
VE Pearson correlation 1 0.657(⁎⁎)
OSA of visitors Pearson correlation 1
Source: Primary data.
Correlation is signicant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
⁎⁎ Correlation is signicant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
S. Velmurugan, B. Vazhakkatte Thazhathethil and B. George International Journal of Geoheritage and Parks 9 (2021) 463479
ENI are signicantly and positively correlated with SCI (0.487), VIM (0.237), VE (161), OSA of visitors (0.207). Fig. 4 represents
the graphical view of empirical relationship between the study factors.
SCI are signicantly and positively correlated with VIM (0.308), VE (160), OSA (0.361).
VIM is signicantly and positively correlated with VE (0.742), OSA (0.676) and also has the highest correlation among all
VE is signicantly and positively correlated with OSA of visitors (0.657).
Fig. 4 represents the graphical view on the empirical relationship between the study factors.
Regression technique was used to identify the linear relationship between independent variables VIM, TA, ENI, SCI, VE and
dependent variable OSA.
The standard multiple regression model summary in Table 6 with R
value of 0.547 infers that the ve predictor variables
explained 54.7% of the variation in the criterion variable viz., OSA.
The signicance level 0.000 in the Table 7 on visitor's overall satisfaction on the independent variables (VIM, TA, ENI, SCI and
VE) ensures that the factors are signicant.
Coefcient effect of TA, ENI, SCI, VE and VIM factors are calculated from the formula.
Y¼aþb1X1 þb2X2 þb3X3 þb4X4 þb5X5 ð1Þ
Y = 12.932 + 0.009(TA) - 0.065(ENI) +0.458 (SCI) + 0.361 (VE) +0.338(VIM)-
The coefcient of X1(0.009), X2(0.065), X3(0.458), X4(0.361), X5(0.338) represents the partial effect of TA, ENI, SCI, VE on
OSA of visitors, holding other variables constant. OSA of visitors increases one unit when there is an increase in SCI by 0.458, VE
by 0.361, VIM by 0.338, TA by 0.009 and decreases by 0.065 for ENI. Based on standardized coefcient, SCI is the most important
factor followed by VE, VIM and TA with positive effect shows that the impact of study variables is high on OSA of visitors.
Hence, from Table 8, we conclude that the visitors are overall satised with the VIM practices followed at ENP. Fig. 5 repre-
sents the graphical view of OSA of visitors.
Fig. 4. Empirical relationship between the study factors.
Table 6
Standard multiple regression model summary.
Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate
1 0.739(a) 0.547 0.542 5.20856
Source: Primary data
S. Velmurugan, B. Vazhakkatte Thazhathethil and B. George International Journal of Geoheritage and Parks 9 (2021) 463479
5. Discussion
The current study has focused on evaluating the VIM practices at ENP, Munnar. Based on the ndings of the eld study, many
recommendations can be suggested which would increase the quality of visitor management, and enhance the site services and
essential facilities that play a primary role in enriching the visitor experience. These changes would in turn enhance the level
of visitor satisfaction as well as magnify and strengthen visitor loyalty to the ENP. These recommendations are as follows:
1. In addition to the existing TA, visit to the tribal village of Muthuvans, Cultural shows of Muthuvans can be conducted at the
Tourism Zone of ENP, which helps in showcasing the culture of the local community and economic growth of the locals.
2. Visitors are transferred from 5th mile (entrance of ENP) to Rajamala (tourism zone of ENP) in the department vehicles that
uses gasoline. Many visitors view the use of department vehicles as a major factor that impacts the national park environment.
Hence the researchers have suggested to provide an alternative transport system (ATS) like hiking, Bicycling, Battery vehicles,
Cable cars to be employed at ENP. Provision of ATS, on the choice of visitor may allow nature lovers to take a break enroute for
bird watching, animal watching, wildlife and nature photography, etc. These TAs enable visitors to spend more time and en-
hance their experience of visitation to ENP.
3. Trained interpreters on-site include their ability to attract the attention of visitors, to answer questions, provide social interac-
tion, and tailor the information given to visitors to match what the animals are doing at the time. During the eld visit, it was
observed that there is a communication gap among the visitors and EDC's (Drivers and watchers) who comes in direct contact
with visitors since EDC's interpret and educate about the ENP. EDC's are trained with regional languages (Tamil and Malaya-
lam) only and so training on communication (English), Visitor handling, etiquettes may be imparted at a skilled and semi-
skilled level to improve visitor education and experience at ENP.
4. From the ndings, it was identied that female visitors are less satised with the facilities available at the national park. Inter-
preting the facilities provided at ENP and their limitations may help the Visitors, especially female visitors may help in better
understanding the need for Sustainable development at the destination. Education and Interpretation components that include
methods used include interpretive signs, models, brochures, guides, demonstrations and shows, video, audio commentary,
computers, and books that provide better nature and wildlife tourism experience through the learning experience. After
experiencing an interpretation program almost 90% of the visitors understood that the restrictions were necessary and 88%
felt the restrictions either had no negative effect or facilitated their experience (Frost & Mc Cool, 1988)
5. From the analysis, it was found that among the facilities provided at ENP, visitors prefer more Shelters and Pavilions which
helps them to safeguard themselves from different weather conditions.
Table 7
Visitor's overall satisfaction on independent variables.
Model Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.
1 Regression 17,464.416 5 3492.883 128.751 0.000 (a)
Residual 14,486.918 534 27.129
Total 31,951.333 539
Source: Primary data.
(a) Predictors: (constant), VIM, TA, ENI, SCI, VE
(b) Dependent variable: OSA
Table 8
OSA of visitors.
Model Unstandardized coefcients Standardized coefcients t Sig.
B Std. error Beta
1 (Constant) 12.932 2.322 5.569 0.000
TA 0.009 0.050 0.006 0.190 0.849
ENI 0.065 0.056 0.039 1.166 0.244
SCI 0.458 0.073 0.215 6.242 0.000
VE 0.361 0.158 0.377 8.603 0.000
VIM 0.338 0.045 0.339 7.464 0.000
Source: Primary data.
a. Dependent variable: OSA
S. Velmurugan, B. Vazhakkatte Thazhathethil and B. George International Journal of Geoheritage and Parks 9 (2021) 463479
6. Conclusion
ENP was selected for the research which is well known for its biological richness, abundance of wildlife, and landscape beauty
and has potential to attract lakhs of visitor every year. PA based tourism are highly activity based and also educate visitors on the
need of conservation of such destinations for sustainable development. The study was undertaken from the viewpoint of visitors
to identify the satisfaction of visitors on VIM practices at ENP. Findings of the study revealed that visitors are satised with
existing VIM practices at ENP and suggested measures that enhance visitor experience and satisfaction which in turn leads to Sus-
tainable development at ENP. The results of this study may allow the park management to focus on specicsiteattributesandto
make appropriate use of funds for improving park facilities and services to increase visitation and levels of satisfaction with their
experiences. The revenue generated from visitation will not only help the ENP authorities in the conservation and management of
nature and wildlife, but also the local community who solely depends on the tourism in ENP.
This study has implications on the nature of visitor experiences and the ways in which they can be most effectively monitored
for better park management, resource allocation decisions, and planning processes. Well managed, visitation can result in socio-
cultural and environmental conservation, and economic benets to the region and nation. It explores many dimensions of visitor
Experience and most importantly VE and VIM which plays a vital role in OSA which ultimately leads to revisit intention and sus-
tainable development at ENP.
Also, the research work has some limitations since the data gathered make inferences about the population of interest at a de-
ned time only. Many factors contribute to the satisfaction of visitors to the NP. The present study has identied the factors that
contribute only 54.7% to the satisfaction level on VIM practices at ENP. The other factors that contribute to the OSA of visitors
need to identied. Also, the study has been conned only to visitors, hence the future study can focus on local people and
National Park authorities. A comparative study of Visitor Impact Management with other Ecotourism Destinations or Protected
Areas may also be formulated.
Credit author statement
Sivakami V: Conceptualization, data collection, analysis, rst draft of the paper.
Bindu VT: Methodology, day to day mentoring, literature review.
Babu George: Overall supervision, guidance on data analysis, nal checks.
Declaration of Competing Interest
The authors declare that they have no known competing nancial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared
to inuence the work reported in this paper.
Appendix A. Questionnaire
Part A - Demographic prole
Fig. 5. OSA of visitors.
S. Velmurugan, B. Vazhakkatte Thazhathethil and B. George International Journal of Geoheritage and Parks 9 (2021) 463479
2.Gender: (a) Male (b)Female
3.Type of Visitors (a) Foreigner (b) Domestic
4.Age Group : (a) Less than 18 (b) 18-24 (c) 25-35
(d) 36-49 (e) 50-64 (f) 65+
5.Level of Education:
(a) School (b) Secondary (c) Diploma
(d) Graduation (e) Post Graduation
(a) Self-employment (b) Government (c) Private
(d) Business (e) Retired f) Others
7.Annual Income:
(a) Below 50,000
(b) 50,001 to 1,00,000
(c) 1,00,001 to 2,00,000
(d) 2,00,001 to 5,00,000
(e) 5,00,001 and above
8.Marital Status: (a) Single (b) Married
9.Who accompanies you in this visit?
(a) None (b) Spouse (c) Family & children
(d) Friends & colleagues
10.How did you come to know about the Eravikulam national park as a place of tourist
(a) Brochures (b) Tour operator (c) Hotel
(d) KTDC ( (e) Friends & relatives (f) Website/ Blog
(g) Newspapers
11.Which is the mode of your transport?
(a) Four-wheeler (b) Govt bus (c) Tourist Bus
(d) Luxury Taxi (e) Shared Taxi
S. Velmurugan, B. Vazhakkatte Thazhathethil and B. George International Journal of Geoheritage and Parks 9 (2021) 463479
Part B
12. What are the ecotourism activities that you are interested to carry out in Eravikulam National Park?
5-Very Important 4- Important 3-Neutral 2-Less Important 1-Least Important.
Part C
On a scale of 1 to 5 kindly rate the your experience.
(5 Strongly agree, 4-Agree, 3- Neither agree nor disagree, 2- Disagree, 1- Strongly Disagree)
Part D
From the experience on the visit to national park, Kindly rate your experience on the below given attributes.
(5 -Highly satised, 4-Satised, 3-Moderately satised, 2-Dissatised, 1- Highly).
Tourism activities Very important
Less important
Least important
TA1 Jeep Safari
Strongly agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Strongly disagree
Environmental impacts
ENI1 Environmental pollution is controlled
ENI2 Noise level has reduced
ENI3 Entry of visitors are regulated
ENI4 Level of trafc congestion is reduced
ENI5 Low impact transportation is used
ENI 6 Solid waste reduction/recycling method is followed
ENI7 Usage of plastics are banned in the region
ENI8 Measures are taken to prevent forest re
ENI9 Measures are taken for protection of ora and fauna
Socio cultural impacts
SCI1 Cultural activities/entertainment is good at destination
SCI2 Availability of recreational Facilities
SCI3 Opportunity to meet people from other cultures
SCI4 Community spirit among local residents
SCI5 Quality of public services (police, re, etc.)
SCI6 Crime level is controllable
Highly satised
Moderately satised
Highly dissatised
FA1 Convenience of transportation and parking
FA2 Footpaths and hiking trails
FA3 Directional signs/Information panels
FA4 Restaurants/shops
FA5 Leisure/recreational Equipment
FA6 Shelters and pavilions
FA7 Litter bins and garbage handling
FA8 The production of Indigenous /Geo products
Human environment (HUMENV)
HE1 Facility design (Ramps for differently abled, Toilets)
HE2 Security and safety for visitors
HE3 Cleanliness/tidiness maintained
HE4 Tourist behavior are monitored
HE5 Geopark ranger/warden service
HE6 Communication with the local people
S. Velmurugan, B. Vazhakkatte Thazhathethil and B. George International Journal of Geoheritage and Parks 9 (2021) 463479
Part E
From the experience on the visit to national park, Kindly rate your experience on the below given attributes.
(5 Very High, 4-High, 3- Medium, 2- Low, 1- very Low).
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Very high
Very low
Visitor education
VE1 Promote appropriate behavior by visitors at site
VE2 Encourage and discourage certain types of use(Plucking of leaves grass, hurting and feeding animals)
VE3 Information regarding usage condition provided
Existing visitor impact management
VM1 Limit on using land by visitors
VM2 Area closure during calving season
VM3 Restriction in the use of site
VM4 Limits in length of stay
VM5 Restriction in group characteristics
VM6 Protection of main attraction in the destination
VM7 Reservation for entry
VM8 Preventing exploitation by visitors
VM9 Crisis & emergency pre potent arrangements
VM10 Differential pricing for visitors
VM11 Queuing for entry of visitors
VM12 Pre assignment of recreation site
VM13 Site hardening(hard surfacing materials used to reduce erosion on trails, hard topping of roads)
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S. Velmurugan, B. Vazhakkatte Thazhathethil and B. George International Journal of Geoheritage and Parks 9 (2021) 463479
... • proactive tourism planning [12,14] • spatio-temporal zoning of the territory in relation to tourism (e.g., [8,12,14]), • monitoring, modelling and forecasting visitor flows, motivation, behaviour and impacts of visitors [2,12,14,[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24] • concept of visiting limitations to the area [14] in the frame of tourism-carrying capacity [1,8,[25][26][27] and/or limits of acceptable changes (LAC; [1,8,12,28,29]), including various visitor management models [30] and considering different distributions of visitor pressure on the tourism carrying capacity of the territory [31] • preserving the visitor experience with an emphasis on its multi-component character [32]; this approach is the basis of some visitor management models [14] and a measure of the success of visitor management [33] • the establishment of visiting rules in connection with the appropriate development of the visitor infrastructure (type and conduct of trails, viewpoints, visitor centres, etc.; [12,14]), and informing visitors and interpreting local heritage [34] • modelling and predicting tourism-activated processes and changes in ecosystems, cultural and "tourism visiting space" in protected areas [17,30,[35][36][37][38][39] Tourism visiting space refers to all processes and changes associated with visiting protected areas, including visitor flows and the mental space (perceptual and cognitive maps, the environmental bubble [3] etc.) of all visitors to the area. Computational social The optimization of tourism impacts in protected areas is closely related to the appropriate quality of visitor management, which is an important part of destination management [2,8,9,12]. ...
... • proactive tourism planning [12,14] • spatio-temporal zoning of the territory in relation to tourism (e.g., [8,12,14]), • monitoring, modelling and forecasting visitor flows, motivation, behaviour and impacts of visitors [2,12,[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24] • concept of visiting limitations to the area [14] in the frame of tourism-carrying capacity [1,8,[25][26][27] and/or limits of acceptable changes (LAC; [1,8,12,28,29]), including various visitor management models [30] and considering different distributions of visitor pressure on the tourism carrying capacity of the territory [31] • preserving the visitor experience with an emphasis on its multi-component character [32]; this approach is the basis of some visitor management models [14] and a measure of the success of visitor management [33] • the establishment of visiting rules in connection with the appropriate development of the visitor infrastructure (type and conduct of trails, viewpoints, visitor centres, etc.; [12,14]), and informing visitors and interpreting local heritage [34] • modelling and predicting tourism-activated processes and changes in ecosystems, cultural and "tourism visiting space" in protected areas [17,30,[35][36][37][38][39] Tourism visiting space refers to all processes and changes associated with visiting protected areas, including visitor flows and the mental space (perceptual and cognitive maps, the environmental bubble [3] etc.) of all visitors to the area. Computational social science approaches are applicable to the modelling and subsequent prediction and optimization of qualitative and quantitative aspects of various phenomena in tourism, such as tourism infrastructure in protected areas [40,41], tourism flows [30,42], the spatial distribution of visitors, spatio-temporal curves of visitor behaviour [30] or the impacts of tourism, including their relation to tourism-carrying capacity or the application of the LAC (Limits of Acceptable Change) concept. ...
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The research was motivated by the growing importance of visitor management in protected areas, which can be based on knowledge management, system modelling of processes and phenomena, and a deeper knowledge of the experience of visitors in connection with the concept of psychological carrying capacity. The work builds on previous publications and research by the authors, focused on the optimization of tourism impacts, visitor management and the development of the theory and applicability of the concept of carrying capacity. It emphasizes the overview analysis of the possibilities of using agent-based modelling and visualization of visitor flows in protected areas. The analysis of suitable sources was based on the PRISMA method, which showed the main research directions for the use of the agent-based approach in visitor management. For the practical application of modelling, the NetLogo environment was chosen, in which the visitor flows of the model area were simulated. The visitor attendance was evaluated in relation to the psychological carrying capacity. Subsequently, visitor management measures were implemented in the model, and repeated simulations of visitor attendance, based on monitored flows, were run for a specific location around Oheb Castle (the Železné hory/Iron Mountains, Bohemia). The main result is the innovative use of agent-based modelling in visitor management in the context of visitor experience, visitor satisfaction and psychological carrying capacity. The contribution of the presented research is also the proposal of future research directions for more accurate use of psychological carrying capacity in visitor management.
... iii. Satisfaction level with the facilities The visitors' satisfaction with a protected area or national park can be indirectly measured by the content feeling they acquire from the environment, as well as the their experiences with facilities and with the collection of natural qualities that define the park's identity and character [37]. Therefore, it is critical to quantify visitors' satisfaction, defined as a tourist destination's potential needs for facilities, to meet visitors' recreational and leisure time needs. ...
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Economic values of various ecosystem services of recreational forests are not well understood in many countries, including Malaysia. Policymakers and resource managers with a lack of such information may make inappropriate decisions to manage forest resources. To address the information problem, this study used data and estimated the economic value of recreation as a cultural ecosystem service of the Ayer Keroh Recreational Forest (AKRF) in Malaysia using the Travel Cost Method (TCM). The study estimated an economic value of USD 20,346/ha/year for cultural services, including recreation. These findings provide some useful information that might be needed for those involved in planning and management for the development of urban forest sites, especially in AKRF.
... (4) Experiential diversity: ethical tourism, which includes village life experiences, cultural experiences, native experiences, and storyteller training, among other factors. It offers interesting and satisfying experiences via active personal and meaningful engagement with nature, people, places, and cultures (Velmurugan et al. 2021). ...
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Mainstream sustainability discussions draw focus to the balance between commercial and environmental interests. Responsible tourism (RT) practices are an outcome of these discussions and RT is a significant contributor to the “greenification” of economies in many countries. Green tourism promotes travel that supports natural and cultural aspirations, while also supporting protection of the destination community’s limited resources. Kerala, India, is a pioneer in implementing RT. The present study exploratively analyzes the RT initiatives at different phases, especially within the lens of sustainable responsible tourism initiatives for green tourism development. The research is descriptive in nature and is guided by the bottom line approach (TBL) for green economic development. The findings highlight the dynamics of challenges experienced in the different phases of RT implementation. Based on our analysis of the secondary data, the first phase implementation of RT was not very successful; the second and the third phases seemed to be more promising. The study also throws light on the need for future studies in other culturally distant destinations; this will result in promising practices being adopted as alternative strategies for sustainable tourism development globally.
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Ecotourism is a nature-based type of tourism, especially represented within protected areas. No matter the fact, just like the other selective types of this sector, ecotourism might affect the environment. In a process of writing the Visitor Management Plan in the Gornje Podunavlje Special Nature Reserve (SNR) in 2019, one part of the study was related to general projection of the ecotourism development impact on eco-educational paths within this SNR. The research was conducted throughout November 2019, in the form of interviews. The sample obtained 12 experts for nature protection, who stated their attitudes on three important topics: tourism in protected areas in general, tourism in the Gornje Podunavlje SNR and ecotourism within three concrete sites: Karapandža, Štrbac and Bestrement.
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Ecotourism resources is the key element that supply the greatest value for tourist attraction. However, the scenerity of the resources could have a risk to destroy if it was not managed properly or could not be taken seriously preserved. Thus, this paper is aim to explore visitors' perceptions and attitude toward the ecotourism resources at Taman Negara Kuala Koh (TNKK), Gua Musang, Kelantan. A one month survey with closed-ended questionnaire format was administered to 113 visitors during their visit to TNKK. SPSS 12.0 statistical software was used to carry out the descriptive and inferential analysis to show the sample distribution, the differences in the perception, and the level of attitude toward sustainability of eco-tourism resources among visitors. The results showed that the visitors have a positive perceptions and attitudes toward the ecotourism resources provided at TNKK. Most of the visitors agreed that TNKK have a plenty of attractive ecotourism resources that they enjoyed in the nature-based tourism destination. Thus, the park management should be further initiate the necessary efforts and actions in order to withstand the ecotourism resources provided in TNKK. The fascinating view and resources in TNKK would have attracted more visitors to come as well as to have generating more income for the the park mantainance and development in future.
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The aim of the publication was to assess the geotourist attractiveness of protected areas in Poland among weekend tourists based on the example of Gorczański National Park. The park location near urbanized areas makes it an attractive field for research on weekend tourism development. The tourist potential of the park is presented, starting from geological aspects and geotourist values. Then, the tourist potential was analysed, with a focus on geotourist resources, which include tourist trails and didactic routes. The tourist traffic volume was also examined. On the basis of legal documents, such as nature conservation plans, threats related to tourism development in protected areas were presented as indicated by park managers. In accordance with the Act on Nature Conservation, the threats are divided into four groups: internal existing and potential threats and external existing and potential threats. The tourists’ opinion on the geotourist attractiveness of the park was investigated with surveys conducted during selected weekends significant in the context of tourist traffic volume. Thus, a profile of people visiting the park for short stays was obtained, as well as their assessment of the tourist resources of the area, with particular emphasis on geotourist values.
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The appropriate identification of the geoheritage resources of a specific area is the sine qua non of the development of geotourism. The identification of tourists’ perception of abiotic nature sites of high scientific value is also particularly important because it determines the possibility of using the potential of geosites. In the study, a detailed analysis was carried out of the assets of geological, geomorphological and hydrologic sites in the Central Roztocze region (SE Poland) comprising the central part of the proposed Geopark “Stone Forest in Roztocze”. Data from the Polish Central Register of Geosites, the results of a geotourist assessment and questionnaire surveys were used in the analysis. These data indicate a high potential for geotourism development and consistency between scientific assessments and ratings from tourists. However, this potential is not used to a sufficient degree, while actions aimed at developing geotourism and establishing the Geopark are not appreciated by local authorities and institutions responsible for tourism development. The idea of geoparks and geotourism development is not supported by the State either, whether institutionally or financially. Based on the studies conducted, we propose practical measures that should be implemented to increase the use of the region’s geotourist assets.
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Community-based home stay is one of the growing rural tourism enterprises. It has been a strong support for fostering ecotourism around the globe by uplift ing the local community. The present study was carried in Amaltari Madhawarti Homestay in the Nawalpur District of Nepal. The main aim of this study was to assess the environmental impacts of community-based home stay tourism. Twenty-four houses running home stays and same number of houses without home stay operation were surveyed and representative of the management committee were interviewed in this study. Solid waste production in these 24 home stays was quantified. Proper awareness towards waste management reduces the threat to environmental purity. Further, the role of proper waste management, energy use, and water use becomes a great asset to develop a sound ecotourism around home stays. Socio-economic benefits were received by the home stay in the form of increased income and preserved culture. People were able to make money to upgrade their living standard from their culture, hospitality, foods, and costumes. This boost in the economy had reduced dependence on natural resources and increased forest area and movement of wild animals.
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Natural Protected Areas face the challenge of conciliating attractions with satisfaction of their different stakeholders without compromising their own resources. Marketing can play an important role to this challenge from a macromarketing perspective. No studies are found in the literature on the integral assessment of marketing practices in Natural Protected Areas. For the first time, it proposes a marketing audit in Natural Protected Areas to fill that gap applying the Importance-Performance Analysis matrix, useful in strategic decisions, through interviews with directors of Natural Protected Areas. The main strengths, weaknesses, and deficits in the application of marketing are identified. The presence of a restricted and biased attitude towards marketing was noted among directors. In addition, the marketing behaviour is studied in two of the main social networks (Twitter/Facebook), comparisons were established in the USA, Spain, Italy and Mexico, identifying behavioural profiles in five groups in accordance with the 26 indicators under analysis.
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Studying the motivations and satisfaction of visitors in protected areas is increasingly important for the interaction with nature. The Samanes Park recreation area located in the city of Guayaquil in Ecuador is visited by national and international tourists for outdoor activities and for the purpose of being in contact with nature. The present empirical study was carried out in situ, for which univariate and bivariate techniques were applied using a questionnaire. The results show that the main motivations of the visit are "to enjoy its environment and pure air", "to enjoy its public recreation spaces", "to perform sports" and "to carry out activities in nature", which indicates the importance of ecotourism in this destination. The most valued attributes in satisfaction are "security", followed by "places of recreation". Visitors to the Samanes Park find general satisfaction in their visit and the vast majority are totally satisfied. All these findings show the importance of this site for ecotourism in Ecuador.
Protected areas are increasingly becoming primary focus for ecotourism. Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary situated in the Indian Himalayan Region offers its visitors key ecotourism products like enjoying Himalayan vistas, nature trekking, bird watching, photography and the homestays. Visitors to ecologically fragile destinations form crucial tourism stakeholders and require understanding of their demands and satisfaction levels to sustain a flow of visitors in the increasingly competitive tourism market. The present research assessed the importance and performance of the service and facilities attributes offered by the sanctuary in order to measure visitor satisfaction from ecotourism experience, using an importance–performance analysis. Findings indicate good performance of service providers in terms of environmental conservation, ensuring safety of visitors and maintaining view point conditions. Whereas, efforts need to be concentrated in improving user facilities, nature guiding, signage and information, food quality, and accommodation facility attributes. Chi-square analysis revealed that visitors undertaking unplanned day visit to the sanctuary were more likely to be non-satisfied, raising questions on the type of visitors arriving at the sanctuary. In order to enhance visitors’ satisfaction levels, basic facilities within the sanctuary need improvement besides developing interpretations component, such that the intrinsic nature and quality of nature-based ecotourism destination is achieved.