Protected areas attract people.
- Sometimes the protected area management is glad about people who are interested in their work and activities.
- Sometimes protected areas are forced to open up more to the public to increase the number of visitors.
- Sometimes the pressure of visitors is too strong.
In any case the management of a protected area has to care about their guests and to manage tourism flows in a sustainable way. Nowadays visitor management is an important tool, sometimes even the main job within the protected area management.
Visitor management comprises many very different tasks:
- activities to get knowledge about the tourism flows
- services for visitors to satisfy their expectations and guide them through the protected area
A successful visitor management requires qualitative knowledge of visitor numbers and activities undertaken in the protected area. Also accurate information on visitors’ wishes are needed.
The aim of visitor management is not only to observe visitors and report about them. The management has also to deal with the visitor flows and activities against negative impacts on environment and nature resources. It is recommended to develop a system of cooperation between protected areas and tourism operators / businesses. Cooperation can support the visitor management and provide better services and more qualitative information to visitors.
A visitor management strategy has been developed within the Parks & Benefits project on the basis of the results of the visitor management workshop of the 6th project meeting in Kemeri NP. The strategy can be downloaded here.