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Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas: Guidelines for Planning and Management

eBooks - Guide
March 11 2008

Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas: Guidelines for Planning and Management"Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas: Guidelines for Planning and Management", a landmark publication jointly published by UNEP, The World Conservation Unit (IUCN) and the World Tourism Organization (WTO) is a contribution to the International Year of Ecotourism 2002.

The publication aims to assist protected area managers and other stakeholders in the planning and management of protected areas based on a wealth of practical case studies and experience.

1.1 Purpose of the Guidelines

The main purpose of these Guidelines is to assist protected area managers and other stakeholders in the planning and management of protected areas, visitor recreation and the tourism industry, so that tourism can develop in a sustainable fashion, while respecting local conditions and local communities. A key message is the importance of managing resources and visitors today, so that tomorrow’s visitors can also experience quality sites, and the conservation values that these places represent.

The Guidelines also have a number of more detailed objectives:

  • To discuss the role of visitor management, including techniques that control and limit impacts of use, while allowing maximum enjoyment of as many visitors as can be accommodated within the limits set by environmental and social conditions;
  • To outline approaches to the planning and development of tourism infrastructure and services in protected areas;
  • To provide guidance on the definition, measurement, management and use of park tourism data;
  • To outline ways of enhancing the quality of the tourism experience;
  • To describe positive examples, through a variety of case studies, of how tourism can effectively contribute to the conservation of natural and cultural diversity; and
  • To give positive examples, again through the use of case studies, of how tourism can contribute to the development of local communities.

This is a handbook, not a cookbook.

The major questions and issues involved in managing tourism in protected areas are developed for the reader, but the publication does not set out to provide all the detailed answers. Thus a framework is provided to establish principles and guide decisions. There is no “one-size-fits-all” answer to the challenge of tourism in protected areas – indeed an attraction of visiting protected areas is to see how each park manager has developed his or her local situation in a way that projects its uniqueness, while contributing to the common endeavour of conservation. To a large extent, management must be responsive to local conditions.

It may appear that protected area managers have a relatively simple job in achieving the task of conservation and visitor use, but in fact it is not easy at all. Managers have the challenging responsibility of balancing the many competing pressures thrust upon them.

This challenge grows and becomes more complicated with increasing numbers of visitors, changes in patterns of visitor use, and the emergence of an ever more critical public demanding higher standards in conservation management.

The challenge of protected area management, especially that of dealing with the pressures of recreation and tourism, will only be met effectively through building partnerships between all the interested parties. It is hoped that this document, by being available to protected area managers as well as other important stakeholders, such as local communities, tour operators and conservation groups, will help build such partnerships.

Visit Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas: Guidelines for Planning and Management Website

You can download the publication in PDF format. Full & free.

12. Conclusions

Protected areas normally achieve recognition and enhanced protection when sufficient numbers of people visit them, appreciate them, and take political action to assure their survival. Park tourism is a critical component of protected area establishment and management.

These guidelines provide a conceptual background for understanding park tourism and its management. They provide a theoretical basis for management, and they include practical advice to planners and managers.

Sustainable tourism practice within protected areas is a long-term commitment. But while it is important to think long-term, it is also necessary to set realistic short and mid-term goals. Individuals, businesses and organisations must be aware that benefits are long-term, and should not expect to experience them immediately after sustainable practices are implemented. In practice, only a small portion of benefits will arise quickly; most will depend upon many years of continued effort.

It is important for protected area planners to develop incentive measures that will influence decision-making processes within society. It is necessary to create inducements to incite or motivate government, local people, and international organisations to conserve biological and cultural diversity. All existing legislation and economic policies need to be reviewed in order to identify and promote incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of the resources, and to remove or modify those that threaten biological diversity and cultural integrity.

Protected area managers need to make ongoing efforts to communicate with all stakeholders. Only with the broad support of the community will management be successful in the long term. These guidelines suggest that national and international organisations need to encourage governments to make improvements in the following critical areas:

1. Support for effective legislation, with adequate resources for implementation;

2. Creation of national policies on protected areas and the management of tourism (as well as education about the environment and conservation); and

3. Development of a management plan for each protected area, covering all activities, including tourism, to ensure that objectives are achieved and resources are well-used.

At present, the cash flow from tourism often returns largely to urban areas, well away from the protected areas themselves. It is always advantageous to invest and assign some tourism revenue to local communities, so that local people see direct financial benefits from park tourism. Planners and managers should therefore be active in stimulating maximum local economic benefit.

Comments (2)add comment

tariku said:

please send me this guide line.
March 22, 2010

Yogesh Subba said:

It was really helpful for me that i got this ebook from this site, i sincerely thank you for providing it.Is a great book on ecotourism and resquest you to issue more of this kind.
November 05, 2009

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Last Updated ( March 11 2008 )
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