Principles of visitor management

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Shortcourse outline to help build professional competency in management of tourism and visitation in protected areas. Adapted for Namibia, but applicable everywhere. (c) Steve McCool.

Shortcourse outline to help build professional competency in management of tourism and visitation in protected areas. Adapted for Namibia, but applicable everywhere. (c) Steve McCool.

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  • 1. Presented byStephen McCoolThe University of MontanaMissoula, Montana
  • 2. Shortcourse Goals Understand consequences of growing tourist demand for Namibian resources Provide a framework for thinking about management Build awareness of the science and practice of visitor management A focus more on the why rather than the what or how
  • 3. ShortcourseOrganization/Procedures Facilitated discussion  Participants provide examples, opportunities and challenges from real world  Facilitator provides a sense of principles from the literature and experience Organization  Protected Areas and Tourism in a Changing World  Identification of Issues  Presentation and Discussion of Principles
  • 4. Stewardship Responsibilities Developing a vision  Protect values and resources  Enhance quality of life  Provide opportunities for employment and income Designing a pathway to achieve it  What actions are effective, efficient, and equitable? Monitoring the journey along the pathway  Is what we thought would happen, really happening?
  • 5. How do we meet these responsibilitieswith respect to tourism and visitation? Use best knowledge available, including science and our experience, we manage: Competing Demands Relationships with Joint Learning Constituencies
  • 6. But, we know there are obstacles toaddressing any of the above tasks Funding Politics Organizational learning, technical proficiency Lack of trust Institutional design Procedural orientation
  • 7. And we know that protected areastewardship exists within A dynamic, often contentious political context, Groups vie and compete for “veto” power over protected area actions, Disagreements over goals of protected areas exist, There is often scientific uncertainty about cause-effect relationships, The power to plan and the power to implement plans are often distinct and separated, and Inequities in access to information exist
  • 8. Thus, protected area stewardship Is a wicked problem  Framing the question of management itself is problematic And a messy situation  There are no solutions (e.g., answers)  Just resolutions (e.g., agreements)  Problems are interconnected  Problems return because the context changes Cannot proceed as normal Finally, the future is not like the past
  • 9. What is the world like? The PLUS world of the past  Predictable  Linear  Understandable  Stable The DICE World of the future  Dynamic  Impossible to understand completely  Complex  Ever-changing
  • 10. Small Group Assignment What do you see as the key issue in the provision of visitor and tourism opportunities on MET administered lands over the next decade?  Short phrases  Take 30 minutes  Each group reports on three most significant
  • 11. So, What Principles will Help AddressThese Issues in a DICE World …So We Can be Better Stewards?
  • 12. Some Principles for Managing Visitorsin Protected Areas – A Preface Making tradeoffs between protection and visitation/tourism What objective ultimately constrains tourism development? Determine how much change is acceptable  Making tradeoffs, but involves more than just the biophysical, also includes the experiential, how much change is acceptable Principles derived from science
  • 13. In a Messy World … Need a framework to work through issues, challenges and opportunities Principles help us do the working through Principles are not answers, but they serve as a framework to structure our thinking
  • 14. Principle 1:Appropriate Management DependsUpon Objectives Objectives tell us what to achieve Help organize action Reflect social agreement on purpose of protected area
  • 15. Objectives Provide Vision of theFuture But, whose future? Desired Various futures Present
  • 16. Typical objectives “protect the resource” “provide a diversity of recreation opportunities” Do not provide specific enough direction for decisions Do not provide for benchmarks to measure progress Not specific enough, lead to an illusion of agreement when in fact there is significant disagreement
  • 17. What are the characteristics ofgood objectives? Specific – not vague (e.g., protect the resource) Output-oriented – what is the desired result?  Type of experience, biophysical condition Quantitative – how to measure the objective so we know if it is achieved  So many people have achieved adventure, challenge, etc.  No more than 80% of the campsites have more than 50 sq. meters of barren soil Realistic – the objective is attainable with some effort Time-bound – the time frame for achieving the objective is specified
  • 18. Principle 2:Diversity in Biophysical and SocialConditions Is Inevitable and May beDesirable  Human induced changes vary by location  Such changes also vary in acceptability  Is such variation desirable?  If so, allocating areas to different opportunities is a useful technique--allocation termed zoning
  • 19. Example:Expected outcomes for visitors inGlacier National Park Nature appreciation Solitude Introspection Security Challenge/Adventure Group cohesiveness Personal Control
  • 20. Motivations Occur in Packages Escapists  High on personal control and solitude Naturalists  Scenery, introspection and wildlife Parkists  Introspection, security and personal control Frustrated Solitude Seekers  Solitude, security and scenery
  • 21. Visitor Data Glacier National Park Frustrated Solit ude 21. 9 Parkist s 19. 5 Naturalists 14. 7 Escapist s 36. 7 0.0 5.0 10. 0 15. 0 20. 0 25. 0 30. 0 35. 0 40. 0 Percent of Respondents
  • 22. Variability in Acceptability Percent selecting picture with nine or more people, Swiftcurrent F rus trated Solit ude Park ist s Naturalis ts Prefer red Acceptable Esc apist s 0.0 10. 0 20. 0 30. 0 40. 0 50. 0 60. 0 70. 0 80. 0 Percent of Respondents Outdoor Recreation Planning Capstone 6 -- Fall 2002
  • 23. Thus, No such thing as an average visitor!! Acceptability of conditions varies by visitor type Who is the park managed for? Finally, management is driven by variability more than averages
  • 24. Zoning as a means of protection forboth biophysical and social conditions Allocates land to different opportunities and conditions Controls the spread of the types and amounts of impacts Protects unique and highly valued opportunities
  • 25. Principle 3:Management is Directed atInfluencing Human-Induced Change Ecosystems are dynamic, change always occurring Human use occurs within context of change Underlying assumption that human uses threaten park values Protected area planning is directed toward the location, type and intensity of human-induced change
  • 26. Some Visitor ManagementProcesses for Dealing with Change Carrying (Visitor) Capacity based Frameworks – 1960s +  Social, Biophysical, Facility Recreation Opportunity Spectrum based Frameworks  Recreation Opportunity Spectrum – 1970s  Tourism Opportunity Spectrum – 1990s  Water Recreation Opportunity Spectrum – 2000s
  • 27. Some Visitor ManagementProcesses for Dealing with Change Limits of Acceptable Change based Frameworks  Limits of Acceptable Change – 1980s  Visitor Impact Management – 1980s  Visitor Experience and Resource Protection – 1990s  Tourism Optimization and Management Model– 1990s The Benefits Based Management Framework – 1990s Placed-based Frameworks – 2000s
  • 28. Principle 4:Impacts on Resources and SocialConditions are Inevitable Consequencesof Human Use Any level of use leads to some kind of impact Can managers prevent visitor impacts from occurring?
  • 29. What is the relationship betweenuse level and impact? Impact Use Level
  • 30. Given this relationship … How much change is acceptable? How would you decide? Is this a technical question or a value judgment?
  • 31. But, Setting Standards Means MakingChoices Among Visitor Experiences What standard should we use? Impact How do we decide? Setting standards is a function of human values. Use Level
  • 32. Principle 5:Impacts may be Spatially orTemporally Discontinuous Impacts often occur offsite Impacts may take a long time to appear Secondary and tertiary effects difficult to ascertain and attribute Need to think regionally, the Whack a Mole Phenomenon
  • 33. An example Campsite impacts too high,  Thus, closing campsites to reduce impacts seems to be a reasonable action. But, didn’t work Visitors create new campsites  Thus, the total impact is actually larger This represents a focus on the event (campsite impacts, not understanding the system)
  • 34. A “Fixes that Fail” System Close Campsites Delay Delay Unintended Gap Consequence People createDesired Current Campsite new campsitesCondition Condition
  • 35. Principle 6:Many Variables Influence theUse/Impact Relationship Use level may be important in influencing amount of impact, but Other variables often more significant  behavior  season  type and size of group  biophysical characteristics
  • 36. Principle 7:Many Management Problems areNot Use Density Dependent Visitors seek many different things during a visit to a protected area Motivations such as solitude, adventure, learning, appreciating and learning about nature, family cohesiveness  not all of the above are adversely affected by number of visitors Other problems--littering, etc.
  • 37. Principle 8:Limiting Use is Only One of ManyManagement Options Limiting use may be one management tool, but … It may not be effective in dealing with problems It controls use levels, but does it control impacts The problem of problem displacement
  • 38. Managers have a box of “tools” available,but … to what extent do we want regulationand intrusive measures?
  • 39. How Systems Thinking Can Help AvoidTraps when Limiting Use Limit Use Side Effects: Implement More Rules Unacceptable Impacts Shift Use Elsewhere Impact Visitor Experience Visitor Behavior and Development Patterns
  • 40. Principle 9:Monitoring is Essential toProfessional Management Periodic remeasurement of key information variables or indicators Followed by evaluation and reflection Key attributes  feasible  objective  timely
  • 41. Monitoring Plan is an Essential Partof Management Description of procedures How data will be analyzed, displayed and evaluated How does monitoring data influence planning and management? Personnel assignments
  • 42. Monitoring Principles Where conditions are at or in violation of standards Where conditions are changing rapidly Where values are threatened by visitation Where effects of management are unknown Source: Cole 1989
  • 43. Principle 10:The Decision-Making ProcessShould Separate TechnicalDescription from Value Judgments What is is not necessarily what should be Separate inventory from decisions about what should be done in time
  • 44. Principle 11:Consensus among Affected Groupsis Needed for Implementation Shared problem definition Problem can be resolved through public involvement Inclusive Live with results Knowledge distributed equally Permission to act
  • 45. Successful ManagementTechnical Public Process Engagement
  • 46.  Implementation of plan Understanding social acceptability Representativeness Learning Ownership Relationships
  • 47.  Many visitor management issues confronting MET Principles serve as a framework for thinking through Not answers, but ways to reflect In the long run, reflection leads to more efficient management
  • 48. Thank You Steve.McCool@gmail.com Perspectives on Protected Area Planninghttp://pasqueflowerparadigms.blogspot.com