The Full Wiki

Tourism carrying capacity: Wikis

Advertisements

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tourism carrying capacity is a now antiquated approach to managing visitors in protected areas and national parks which evolved out of the fields of range, habitat and wildlife management. In these fields, managers attempted to determine the largest population of a particular species that could be supported by a habitat over a long period of time.[1]

"Tourism Carrying Capacity" is defined by the World Tourism Organisation as “The maximum number of people that may visit a tourist destination at the same time, without causing destruction of the physical, economic, socio-cultural environment and an unacceptable decrease in the quality of visitors' satisfaction”. Where as Middleton and Hawkins Chamberlain (1997) define it as “the level of human activity an area can accommodate without the area deteriorating, the resident community being adversely affected or the quality of visitors experience declining”[2] what both these definitions pick up on is carrying capacity is the point at which a destination or attraction starts experiencing adverse as a result of the number of visitors.

Unfortunately, there are no studies which support this notion of visitor management. For example, in areas which have an objective of maintaining pristine conditions, any level of visitor use creates adverse or negative impacts, suggesting that the carrying capacity is zero. Fundamentally, acceptable conditions are a matter of human judgment, not an inherent quality of a particular site. Understanding these acceptable conditions is the focus of the limits of acceptable change planning process referred to later in this article.

There are number of different forms of carrying capacity referred to in tourism, however this article will focus on the four most commonly used.

Contents

Physical carrying capacity

This is the max number that area is actually able to support. In the case of an individual tourist attraction it is the maximum number that can fit on the site at any given time and still allow people to be able to move. This is normally assumed to be around 1m per person. “PCC per a day = area (in metres squared) x visitors per metre x daily duration" (Mowforth and Munt)[3] This is a formula which has been used to calculate the physical carrying capacity.

Economic carrying capacity

This relates to a level of unacceptable change within the local economy of a tourist destination, it is the extent to which a tourist destination is able to accommodate tourist functions without the loss of local activates[4], take for example a souvenir store taking the place of a shop selling essential items to the local community. Economic carrying capacity can also be used to describe the point at which the increased revenue brought by tourism development is overtaken by the inflation caused by tourism.

Social carrying capacity

This relates to the negative socio-cultural related to tourism development. The indicators of when the social carrying capacity has been exceeded are a reduced local tolerance for tourism as described by Doxey’s Index of irritation.[5] Reduced visitor enjoyment and increased crime are also indicators of when the social carrying capacity has been exceeded.

Biophysical carrying capacity

This deals with the extent to which the natural environment is able to tolerate interference from tourists. This is made more complicated by the fact that because it deals with ecology which is able to regenerate to some extent so in this case the carrying capacity is when the damage exceeds the habitats ability to regenerate.

Environmental carrying capacity is also used with reference to ecological and physical parameters, capacity of resources, ecosystems and infrastructure.[6]

Weaknesses of carrying capacity

The main criticism of carrying capacity is that difficult to calculate a maximum number of visitors because this is also dependent on other factors like the way in which the tourists behave ‘a large group of bird Watchers moving through a landscape will have a different impact compared to a similar sized group of school children.’[7] It is often the case that the carrying capacity only becomes apparent once it has been surpassed. In the case of Natural heritage like the national parks the carrying capacity changes with the seasons.

UNESCO (the organization responsible for administrating the World Heritage list) have expressed a concern that the use of Carrying capacity can give the impression that a site is better protected than it actually is, they point out that although the whole site may be below carrying capacity part of the site may still be crowded.[8]

Limits of Acceptable Change

Limits of acceptable change was the first of the post carrying capacity visitor management frameworks. The framework was developed by The U.S. forest service in the 1980s. It is based on the idea that rather than there being a threshold of visitor numbers, in fact any tourist activity is having an impact and therefore management should be based on constant monitoring of the site as well as the objectives established for it. It is possible that with in the Limit of acceptable change framework a visitor limit but such limits are only one tool available. The theory is occasionally summarised in to a nine step process.[9]

1. Identify area concerns and issues. 2. Define and describe opportunity classes (based on the concept of ROS). 3. Select indicators of resource and social conditions. 4. Inventory existing resource and social conditions. 5. Specify standards for resource and social indicators for each opportunity class. 6. Identify alternative opportunity class allocations. 7. Identify management actions for each alternative. 8. Evaluate and select preferred alternatives. 9. Implement actions and monitor conditions.[10]

Visitor Experience Resource protection

This theory is based on the idea that not enough attention has been given to the experience of tourists and their views on environmental quality. It argues that decision making should be based on visitor feedback. This is very much picking up on the point that if the social carrying capacity is exceeded then tourists will have less enjoyable time because of crowding. As well as visitor feedback this method uses resource quality monitoring in decision making.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Jurrasic Coast
  2. ^ Net Coast
  3. ^ Mowforth, M. Munt, I. Tourism and sustainability; Development and new tourism in the third world, Routledge, London
  4. ^ Mathieson and Wall, 1982, Tourism; economic, physical and social impacts, Longman, Harlow
  5. ^ G. Shaw, A Williams, 1997, Critical issues in tourism: a geographical perspective, Blackwell
  6. ^ Mexa, A. Coccossis, H. 2004, Tourism carrying capacity assessment, Ashgate
  7. ^ Jurassic Coast.com
  8. ^ Pedersen A, Managing tourism at world heritage sites, UNESCO, Paris
  9. ^ List from Jurrasic Coast
  10. ^ Jurassic Coast.com

References

  • Jurassic Coast
  • Mathieson and Wall, 1982, Tourism; economic, physical and social impacts, Longman, Harlow
  • McCool, S.F., G.H.Stankey, and R.N.Clark. 2007. An assessment of frameworks useful for public land recreation planning. Gen. Tech. Report GTR-705. Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, OR. 125 p.
  • Mexa, A. & Coccossis, H. 2004, Tourism carrying capacity assessment, Ashgate
  • Mowforth, M. Munt, I. Tourism and sustainability; Development and new tourism in the third world, Routledge, London
  • Net Coast
  • Pedersen A, Managing tourism at world heritage sites, UNESCO, Paris
  • Shaw, G. & Williams, A.; 1997, Critical issues in tourism: a geographical perspective, Blackwell
Advertisements

Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message