Tourism in parks and protected areas can be a boon to local conservation efforts or it can afflict biodiversity conservation and environmental management. How can visitation be developed and maintained in a responsible manner? We would like suggestions across the spectrum from park managers to locals to visitors. What are your recommendations?
Responsible travel = Better places to live are better places to visit.
Suggestions for Park Managers
Use the capacity and organisational power of the professional tourism network and other “informal” tourism stakeholders in your region. Gather them around the table and let them participate in developing tourism services in your park like trails or exhibitions right from the beginning. Accept invitations to their events. Collaboration and partnership will increase understanding and support for the protected area and administration.
Initiate partnerships with local private tourism stakeholder like hotels, guesthouses, restaurants as well as with local people in terms of giving them the opportunity to become an official guide —-> participation supports the preservation mission
Develop a website AND social web channels including Facebook and Twitter. These channels can help share information/education and be a conduit for feedback from locals and visitors. Training is needed for all parties who need to communicate from information technology personnel to park managers.
Suggestions for Tourism Operators
Use the parks’ infrastructure and interpretation for your tourism services
Use the image of the PA for your destination marketing.
Get in contact with the park administration and convince with good ideas for receiving win-win-situations: tourism as a tool for visitor management and economic benefit for the region.
Explain on your website your responsible tourism practices. Memberships and certifications are fine, but do more. Be specific with examples.
Suggestions for Locals
Educate yourself on responsible travel practices around the world
Support park staff in relation to responsible travel
Educate visitors on local culture and heritage
Seek out the social web channels for nearby parks. Like and share the items that appeal to you (and your followers).
Suggestions for Visitors
– Use the services, accommodation offers, restaurants of local people. If you support the local people they will support the protected area.
– If the park has official services or recommended services, use these providers first.
– Seek out interpretation services during your stay. Listen to the stories of the park from guides, park staff and locals.
Be aware of local cultural traditions. Use the 3-R’s: Relationship, Responsibility and Respect. Recognise the Relationship local people have with local lands and waters, seek to understand the Responsibility local cultures and communities hold toward their environment and Respect their ongoing involvement and evolving traditions.
Seek out the social web channels for the parks you plan to visit or have visited. Like and share the items that appeal to you (and your clients/friends/followers).