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The dilemmas of determining indicators and standards for tourism impacts in protected areas

Moore, S.A. (2006) The dilemmas of determining indicators and standards for tourism impacts in protected areas. In: 12th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (ISSRM) (2006), 3 - 8 June, Vancouver.

Abstract

In today’s environment of accountability and performance reporting, protected area managers require practical indicators and standards. Such measures are essential if recreation and tourism are to be monitored and managed as sustainable land uses in protected areas. Visitor questionnaires have traditionally provided these much-needed data. They have proved to be an efficient means of collecting information, especially when data collection has had to rely on a small number of field staff or volunteers, often with a limited skill set. More recently, photo and computer-based simulations have been use to obtain responses from visitors.

This paper uses recent survey work in Western Australia to explore the dilemmas and opportunities facing data collection and analysis associated with the determination of indicators and standards. Visitors to Cape Range National Park, the gateway to the iconic Ningaloo Reef, were surveyed using a questionnaire, to determine their preferences for indicators and standards at a number of sites across the Park. Important preferences included presence of wildlife and access to the each. Negative indicators were the presence of litter and inadequate disposal of human waste. Standards were derived for facility provision (such as parking bays) and for negative environmental impacts, such as littering.

These results provide a basis for discussing the dilemmas created by questionnaires administered on-site. Biased sampling (e.g. only sampling those at the site at the time of survey), and the effects of information processing heuristics on how respondents report are discussed, and comparisons made with other methodologies (e.g. using computer-generated scenes to evoke responses). Using questionnaires also creates opportunities, by producing data that are readily usable by managers where management resources are limited and research staff non-existent.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Conference Website: http://www.issrm2006.rem.sfu.ca/index.php
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/1925
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