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How to Explore the Influence of Tourists on the Territory of Nature Reserves and National Parks

Federal State Autonomous Educational Institution of Higher Education
Far Eastern Federal University
Department of Economic Sciences
Project 046-BC19
How to Explore the Influence of Tourists on the Territory of Nature Reserves and
National Parks
Project Supervisor:
Dolgaleva L.M., Ph.D.,
associate professor
Project team:
Kalyasova K.
Maltsev N.
Tagirova K.
Project application ................................................................................................................. 3
Project prerequisites .............................................................................................................. 6
Project tools ........................................................................................................................... 7
Glossary ............................................................................................................................... 15
1. Literature review ........................................................................................................... 17
1.1. Sustainable tourism ................................................................................................. 17
1.2. Ecological tourism .................................................................................................. 22
1.3. Sustainable development of ecological tourism in NPAs ...................................... 28
1.4. Criteria for Sustainable Tourism ............................................................................ 31
1.4.1. Environmental Criteria ..................................................................................... 32
1.4.2. Economic Criteria ............................................................................................. 33
1.4.3. Social Criteria ................................................................................................... 34
2. Comparative review of sustainability assessment tools ................................................ 36
2.1. Selection criteria for the assessment tools .............................................................. 36
2.2. Analysis of the sustainability assessment tools ...................................................... 38
2.3. Comparative matrix and selection guidelines ......................................................... 46
2.4. Testing of Adapted Tourism Carrying Capacity model. ........................................ 51
3. Conclusions ................................................................................................................... 56
References ........................................................................................................................... 58
Project application
Project name:
How to explore the influence of tourists on the territory of nature reserves and national parks
Project Type:
Applied Research
The main goal is to understand what methods for assessing the impact of tourists on national parks exist in
countries of sustainable tourism (Korea, Japan, USA, Canada, etc.) and how they are used in organizing tourism.
Implementing school:
School of Economics and Management
FSBI "National Park Alkhanay"
Project Manager
Dolgaleva LM, Ph.D. Biological Science, Associate Professor The experience of scientific field research
is 15 years, the successful experience of leading graduate studies students is 15 years. In research teams
under the leadership of L.M. Dolgaleva. Worked students ZabGPU, FESU, IT & B. The average score of
protected projects is 4.8. I believe that project work on a different subject field broadens the mind and
makes a professional theorist.
Project problematics:
What is more important - to save the natural landscapes or open them for tourists who want to enjoy the
natural beauty. What is more important - to preserve nature or make it accessible - in any case, a conflict
of interest arises. And if you try to combine accessibility for tourist groups and the preservation of natural
ecosystems? This is called sustainable tourism. How to do this, some of the conditions must be combined.
How to calculate how many tourists without damage to nature can be allowed into the national park?
The main goal of the project: – to analyze the methods for assessing the impact of tourists for
sustainable tourism in NPAs and select the best one among existing ones.
Detailed description of the content of the project work
Analysis of literature on sustainable tourism in NPAs. Definition of sustainable tourism.
Identification of tourism problems in national parks on Russian sites (in reviews, articles, assessments,
identification of gaps (contradictions) in the organization of ecotourism in Russia.
Identification of economic, ecological and social sustainability indicators suitable for NPAs.
Identification of sustainability assessment tools suitable for NPAs.
Formation of comparative matrix of sustainability assessment tools for NPAs
Testing of a chosen assessment tool.
Project result:
Analytical report on sustainability assessment tools for NPAs, that includes: comparative matrix of
sustainability assessment tools for NPAs with selection guidelines and recommendations for the choice of
assessment tools.
Декомпозиция проекта на подпроекты (задачи)*. Целевая аудитория проекта и количество мест:
Subproject / task *
Potential scientific director and
consultant of the master's thesis /
Role in the project
Dolgaleva L.M .., Ph.D. PhD,
associate professor (potential head
of master's thesis) / project expert
Request for the
(number and OP)
1 student
Tourism &
Requirements for the
master entrance
Educational result (what will
students learn in the project?)
Foreign language
skills; Internet
search skills;
 Preparing a problem tree
to solve problems and
eliminate gaps;
 synthesis and analysis of
methods, search for
principles and conditions
for research
 making a task tree to solve
problems and eliminate
 Evaluation methods for
different types of research;
 doing a task tree to solve
problems and eliminate
Sustainability criteria for
ecotourism. List and
description of the method
for sustainable tourist
Application of calculation
Application of methods for
different types of research
use of software to test the
Qualitative and
quantitative analysis of
tourist flows in the
national park.
Analysis of models of
sustainability assessment
of national parks for
ecological tourism
Justification for a choice
of sustainable tourism
Dolgaleva L.M .., Ph.D. PhD, 1 student
associate professor (potential head International
of master's thesis) / project expert
Tourism &
Foreign language
skills; Internet
search skills;
Evaluation of
sustainability in national
Dolgaleva L.M .., Ph.D. PhD, 1 student
associate professor (potential head International
of master's thesis) / project expert
Tourism &
Foreign language 
skills; Internet
search skills;
Product result
The rationale for
sustainable tourism
assessment techniques for
national parks.
* Подпроект должен демонстрировать, то чем будут заниматься участники проекта, должен быть связан с продуктовыми результатами проекта и подпроекта,
и отдельными профессиональными компетенциями, формируемыми на данной ОП. Подпроекты можно рассматривать как будущие магистерские диссертации
** то, чему обучающиеся научатся в ходе выполнения работ по проекту. Hard skills (англ. «жесткие» навыки) – профессиональные навыки, которым можно научить и которые можно
Approximate plan / stages of project implementation (project start on April 1 - project
completion on June 17-29):
этапы реализации
Stage 1* Project preparation
Период выполнения
Начало этапа Завершение этапа
April 1
April 10
1. Determination of problem
points, gaps in the
organization of ecotourism in
the national parks of the
2. Analysis of the literature on
sustainability and ecotourism.
Stage 2 * Analysis of methods
May 10
of assessment of sustainability
in NPAs
1. Comparative analysis of the
method for estimating
recreational load in NPAs..
2. selection of indicators for
sustainable tourism
development in protected
Stage 3 * Development of
June 20
recommendations concerning
the choices for assessment
methods of recreational
effects on protected areas
1. Conduction of assessment
of NPA sustainability using
one of proposed methods
2. Formation of
recommendations for
selection of assessment tools.
3. Preparation of the final
Product result
Problem/solution matrix
for Russian NPAs
Analytical note on
literature review
1 check point: April Comparative matrix of
25 - May 11, 2019 sustainability assessment
models for NPAs. List of
appropriate indicators for
sustainable tourism in
2 check point: June
17 - June 29, 2019
Justification of selection
of sustainability
assessment tools for
NPAs. Analytical report
on sustainability
assessment tools for
Project prerequisites
Project customer:
FSBI "National Park Alkhanay"
Project supervisor:
Dolgaleva L.M., Ph.D., associate professor
Project consultant:
Krivopal M.Y., senior lecturer
Project team:
No Name
Kristina Kalyasova
Nikolay Maltsev
Ksenia Tagirova
Project tools
1. MoSCoW
2. Work breakdown structure (WBS)
3. Gantt Chart
Name / role in the project
Project customer
NPA Alkhanay
Project team
Project team
NPA Sikhote-Alinskiy
NP Leopard land
Representative/full name,
Nimaev Ochirnima
E-mail: alkhanai@yandex.ru
Tel.: +7 914 496 9416
Kristina Kalyasova
Nikolay Maltsev
Kseniya Tagirova
Arifulina Olga Nikolaevna
Tel.: +7 904 620 9137
Ganzevich Anton Pavlovich
Tel.: +7 924 523 5503
Researchers in
the field of
Tour operators
Magellan Tour Agency
Phone number:
8 (3022) 71-10-10
E-mail: magetur@mail.ru
Obtaining the product
of the project
The achievement of
project objectives
(production of the
product project)
Using the product
result of the project in
their respective NPAs
The product result of
the project may lead to
an increase in the
tourist flow to NPAs,
which will inevitably
lead to the degradation
of natural resources
The product result can
serve as a supporting
tool for other
development studies
The product result of
the project may lead to
an increase in the
tourist flow and to an
increase in profits
4. Risk register
Risk /
Description of risk /
Rejection of the
project by
Leaving of part of
the project team
1. In case of rejection
of the project by the
customer the further
competition of the
project is unneeded
Due to the leaving of
the team member from
the project, the project
quality may change
Lack of necessary
competences of
project team
Refusal to establish
proposition to change
the concept of the
project entirely
Health problem
Family circumstances
Poor attendance at
group meetings, refusal
to communicate
The emergence of
problems at the initial
stage of the study
The stakeholders
refusal to
Refusal of initial
proposition to get
involved in the project
The lack / the
shortage of
Discovery of
lack of required data in
early stages
Due to the lack of
competencies of some
of the project team
members may change
the quality of the
In case of stakeholders
refusal from
communication there is
a possibility of lack of
necessary information
1. Stakeholders do not
want to provide
statistics or do not
understand what is
2. Stakeholders are set
Response measure The owner of
the risk /
Active quality
monitoring of the
1. Establishing
with stakeholders,
a detailed
explanation of our
to interact, but their
statistical data is not
enough to conduct our
Discovery of an
Finding data takes
practically no effort
database on NPAs
Revision of the
project concept
Discovered lack of
theoretical and
statistical data
During the "Green
communication links
were established with
representatives of
NPAs (stakeholders) of
Primorsky Krai, who
have abundant
statistical data on
environmental and
economic indicators of
tourists ' stay in the
territory of NPAs,
which will greatly
facilitate the project
progress .
During the discussion
of the project it is found
that the existing
secondary information
base is not enough to
work on this project, so
the decision to change
the concept and
direction of the study is
2. Search for
sources of
(Rosstat, etc.)
Processing and
analysis of
available data for
research, a large
amount of data on
the one hand – is
good, on the other
hand – requires
more effort and
time to process
processing of the
information base,
assessment of
opportunities for
the project in
these conditions,
making a decision
on the concept
The impossibility
of testing
The impossibility of
visiting the territory of
insufficiency of time
and human resources
when analyzing
Due to the lack of
resources for testing, it
is impossible to test the
analysis of
methods, resource
Sustainable tourism is a tourism that takes full account of its current and
future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of
visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.
Sustainable tourism development meets the needs of present tourists and
host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunities for the future. It is
envisaged as leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic,
social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity,
essential ecological processes, biological diversity, and life support systems.
Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic, and sociocultural aspects of tourism development, and a suitable balance must be established
between these three dimensions to guarantee its long-term sustainability.
Eco-tourism is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile, pristine, and
relatively undisturbed natural areas, intended as a low-impact and often small scale
alternative to standard commercial mass tourism. It means responsible travel to
natural areas, conserving the environment, and improving the well-being of the
local people
Eco-tourism in NPAs is an organized economic efficient active form of
recreation, aimed at the cognition of objects and natural phenomena and active
recreation, based on the rational use of natural objects
Natural Protected Areas (NPAs) are the areas of land, water surface and
airspace above them, where natural complexes and objects are located that have
special environmental, scientific, cultural, aesthetic, recreational and recreational
value, which are removed by decisions of state authorities in whole or in part
economic use and for which the special protection regime is established.
Sustainable development of ecotourism in NPAs is a process of change, in
which the exploitation of natural resources, the direction of investment, the
orientation of scientific and technological development and institutional changes
that are coordinated with each other, strengthen the present and future potential to
meet human needs and aspirations.
An assessment tool is a method of assessment that typically consists of a
systematic step-by-step assessment procedure and/or a computational algorithm
that is used to implement a concept. Important objectives of tools for sustainability
assessment are to define the areas where corrective actions would be necessary and
to evaluate if the chosen mitigation measures will lead to the desired improvement
of the situation or object of study.
Sustainability concept is an idea of how to achieve sustainability.
Tourism carrying capacity is maximum number of tourists that can visit a
single site without causing destructive physical, biological, economic or
sociocultural effects on environment, or an unacceptable deterioration in tourists’
1. Literature review
Sustainable tourism
Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and the main
source of income for many countries. However, like other forms of development,
tourism can also cause its own share of problems, such as social problems, loss of
cultural heritage, economic dependence and environmental degradation. After
learning about the impact of tourism, many people began to look for a more
responsible approach to tourism activities. These include various forms of
alternative or sustainable tourism, such as “nature tourism”, “ecotourism” and
“cultural tourism”.
Sustainable tourism is the youngest concept of environmentally friendly
tourism. It is inherently a private application of the concept of sustainable
development, which implies the integration of social, economic and environmental
aspects in decision-making and practice.
Developed in 1987, the concept of sustainable development became the
central idea of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (Rio de
Janeiro, 1992) and was recognized as an effective development model by an
absolute majority of countries whose representatives signed a number of
international documents directly related to practical implementation of the concept
of sustainable development.
Since the World Conference on Sustainable Tourism in Lanzarote in 1995,
the concepts of “sustainable tourism development” and “sustainable tourism” have
continuously appeared on the political agenda of the UN and the UN World
Tourism Organization (UNWTO), resulting in significant declarations, guidelines
and initiatives and becoming essentially a priority for UNWTO. At the same time,
in the documents of the UNWTO, the mentioned concepts were often used as
According to Engeychik I., sustainable development is such a “necessary
development option in which economic, environmental and social goals are
balanced and integrated,” and economic growth rates do not exceed the rates of
natural resources reproduction, and the main indicator of this development is
improvement in the quality of life (Engeychik, 2014).
The need for sustainable development of tourism every year becomes more
and more noticeable, as the negative aspects of the influence of the tourism
industry become more and more obvious, and the positive effects are not as
significant as they were before. The development of tourism throughout the world
has a significant impact on the state of the natural environment. From the visual
impact of the architecture of hotels and resort complexes to noise and air pollution
from increasing traffic flow, water pollution and loss of natural habitats (WTTC,
2016). The table below will help to fully appreciate the scale of the impact of
tourism on all spheres of life.
Table 1. The impact of tourism
Tourism Impacts
Human Impacts
Wildlife &
Habitat Impacts
Climate &
1. International 1. 10,000 people 1. A species of
1. Although the
1. Buying local
tourist arrivals
arrive in the
Bellagio hotel in
could achieve a
have increased
Mayan Riviera
Las Vegas recycles 4-5% reduction
a rate of one
from 25 million
every day – a
its water – it still
in GHG
every three
globally in 1950,
uses 12 million
emissions due to
to 278 million in
where there is
litres of water per
large sources of
2. 70% of
1980, 527
still no proper marine mammals
year in a water
C02 and non
million in 1995,
scarce region
C02 emissions
are threatened
and 1.32 billion 2. The Western
2. The average
during the
3. More than
in 2017. They
world (with
production of
80% of the
worlds coral
are expected to
17% of the
household used 326
reefs are at risk.
reach 1.8 billion
litres of water per 2. 1 acre of trees
by 2030.
day….a village of
absorbs 2.
Caribbean reefs
 2. The average
700 in a developing 6tonnes of CO2
are in jeopardy
consumes 52% and it is reported
country uses an
per year
tourist receipt is
of total global that 90% of coral
average of 500  3. 2016 was the
over US$700 per
litres of water per warmest year by
reefs will die by
3. Half the
month AND a
margin on
and travelers
luxury hotel room
spent over $1.4 population lives
guest uses 1800
Seawater is
could have
in urban areas
litres of water per
expected to rise
directly led to
 3. Travel and
and this figure is the extinction of person per night…
70 cm in the
Water Impacts
expected to
increase. In
Latin America
10% of total
and the
global Gross
Caribbean, 76%
of the
Product (GDP)
population live
in 2016 (if it
in urban areas.
include tourism
4. The number
related business
of cars on the
(e.g. catering,
road surpassed 1
cleaning) (US $7 billion in 2010.
Today it is 1.2
 4. The global
billion and will
travel and
be 2 billion by
tourism industry
5. A European
uses 14x more
11% of the
energy than
someone living
in India.
(direct &
indirect) in 2016.
30% of species,
3. The average
the death of 90%
person in the UK 
of coral reefs
uses approximately
and the loss of
150 litres of water
half the Amazon
per day – 3 times
that of a local
5. Since 1970 a
village in Asia
third of the
natural world  4. Eating beef is the
has been
most water
destroyed by
human activity.
practice by
Almost 2/3 are
travelers. Seawater
degraded by
is expected to rise
human activity
70 cm in the next
6. 9% of the
10 years
worlds coral
reefs are in the 5. Although 70% of
the earth’s surface
Caribbean –
is water, only 3% is
most under
35% of
mangroves have
been destroyed.
next 10 years
4. For every 1
degree rise in
above 34
degrees Celsius,
yields of rice,
maize and wheat
in tropical areas
could drop by
5. Every
year we dump
40 million tons
of carbon
pollution into
our atmosphere.
By the definition of the World Conservation Union, sustainable development
is a process in which development occurs without damaging resources and
depleting them, which makes development possible. This, as a rule, is achieved
either by such resource management, at which they can be renewed at the same
speed as they are used, or by switching from slow-renewable resources to rapidly
renewable ones. With this approach, resources can be used by both future and
present generations (WTO, 2007).
Russian scientist Ursul A.D. believes that sustainable development is such a
development that involves solving three global economic problems - allocation of
resources, their distribution and scale of use, each of which is a separate goal, and
the solution of one of them does not mean solving the other (Ursul, 2009).
Thus, the concept of sustainable development is multifaceted and
multidimensional. The main message of sustainable development is reflected in the
United Nations Environment Program (UNEP): with this vector of development,
“today's needs are met without compromising the ability of future generations to
meet their own needs” (WTO & UNEP, 2005).
In 2004, the World Tourism Organization formulated the concept of
sustainable tourism development: The norms and practices of managing
sustainable tourism development can be applied to all types of tourism and all
types of destinations, including mass tourism and various niches of tourist
segments. The principles of sustainability relate to environmental protection, the
economic and sociocultural aspects of tourism development, and an appropriate
balance must be established between these three aspects in order to guarantee the
long-term sustainability of tourism (WTO, 2004). Thus, sustainable tourism
1) ensure the optimal use of environmental resources, which constitute a key
element in the development of tourism, supporting basic environmental
processes and helping to preserve natural heritage and biodiversity;
2) respect the peculiar socio-cultural characteristics of the host communities,
while preserving the inherent and established cultural heritage and
traditional customs, and to contribute to the mutual understanding of
different cultures and tolerance for their perception;
3) ensure the viability of long-term economic processes, taking into account
their benefits for all stakeholders that distribute them impartially, including
permanent employment and income opportunities and social services for
host communities and a contribution to poverty reduction.
The concept of sustainable development involves taking into account longterm development prospects and implies the need for management and planning.
Achieving sustainable tourism is an ongoing process requiring continuous
monitoring of environmental impacts, introducing appropriate preventive and / or
corrective measures, if necessary.
Sustainable tourism should also maintain a high level of meeting the needs
of tourists, using the multidimensional demands of tourists, raising their awareness
of the sustainability of the results and promoting practical activities on sustainable
tourism among them (WTO, 2004).
In general, recommendations on the development of sustainable tourism and
sustainable development management practices are applicable to all forms of
tourism in all types of tourist destinations, including various segments of tourism,
including mass tourism.
Mass tourism is a relatively young travel destination, since it began to take
shape in the second half of the twentieth century. This phenomenon is
characterized by openness to representatives of all groups of the population. It is
this direction that is divided into several smaller streams, including family and
many other types of wandering, which are very popular today.
The main difference between the models of mass (traditional) and
sustainable tourism lies in the fact that part of the benefits obtained in the case of
sustainable development of tourism is directed to the restoration of the resource
base and the improvement of production technologies of services.
Table 2 - The main differences between sustainable and mass (traditional) tourism
Comparative factors
Attraction of tourists
The behavior of tourists the
recreation area
Relationship to nature
Sustainable tourism
Volumes of tourist services
are consistent with the socioeconomic, environmental
capabilities of the territory,
which determine the nature of
tourist activities.
Visitors during their stay
follow a certain pattern of
behavior in accordance with
the culture of the visited
territory. Visitor behavior is
not detrimental to the natural
resources, traditions and
customs of the local
For visitors, the very value of
the existence of natural objects
is important, not their
consumer value.
Mass (traditional) tourism
Tourist activities are focused
on a constant increase in
tourist flows. Volumes of
tourist services are limited
only by the capacity of the
material and technical base.
Visitors bring their lifestyle
and behavior to the recreation
Dominating the consumer
attitude of visitors to natural
objects. Natural objects are
estimated based on their
usefulness to humans
Relationships of visitors and
local people
Planning tourist activities
Resource assessment
Assessment of environmental
impact and its protection
Friendly, respectful relations,
the purpose of which is to
learn a new culture.
Multi-purpose rational
planning, which includes
improving the quality of life
of local residents, the steady
growth of the tourism
economy and the
improvement of the
Implementing an
environmental assessment of
tourism resources.
Assessment of the long-term
impact of tourism on the
ecological environment of the
region and the adoption of
measures for its protection.
Formal relations. Visitors
consider themselves owners to
be serviced.
Focus on "here and now."
Profit planning and growth.
Ignoring the environmental
value of tourism resources due
to the adoption of
attractiveness as a standard of
Pollution control of tourism
facilities, lack of
environmental conservation
Thus, in the light of the new Agenda, important attention is paid to the
development of sustainable tourism, which contributes to the implementation of all
three components of sustainable development: environmental, economic and sociocultural.
Ecological tourism
The term "ecological tourism" officially began to be used in the 80s of the
XX century. Initially, this term meant traveling among nature and reflected the
idea of harmony between recreation and ecology. Journey into nature was
considered as a combination of recreation with a careful attitude to it, which allows
to combine the joy of exploring the flora and fauna with the ability to protect them.
The meaning of eco-tourism (ecotourism) was a gentle attitude to local objects of
flora and fauna, inanimate nature (Voronov, 2000).
It should be noted that at present there is no exact and generally accepted
definition of ecotourism. The main value of ecotourism is the contemplation of
nature, spiritual enrichment from communicating with it, participation in
protecting the natural heritage and supporting the traditional culture of local
communities instead of consuming more and more numerous tourist benefits, mass
communications, places of high tourist comfort (Zadevalova, 2013).
Eco-tourism usually has educational goals. Its objects are the individual
most interesting elements of inanimate nature and the biological diversity of
animals and plants. Ecotourism areas include the study of the ecology of animals,
plants, a variety of life forms, objects of inanimate nature and culture,
environmental protection. Eco-tourism instills a special value system for recreants:
contemplation of nature, spiritual enrichment from communicating with it,
involvement in its protection, and maintaining traditional nature management
(Romanchuk, 2015).
There are many definitions of eco-tourism:
a) any form of tourism based on the natural ecological attractiveness of a
region, republic, country;
b) tourism, which involves obtaining environmental education and
information on environmental protection, based on environmentally sustainable
c) traveling through the unique corners of nature to study rare plants,
animals, special types of ecosystems;
d) travels that promote the preservation of positive links between
tourism, biodiversity and local people;
e) traveling to places with untouched nature that do not violate the
integrity of ecosystems, giving an idea of the natural, cultural and ethnographic
features of the territory;
f) sustainable organized tourism and recreation in economic conditions,
when nature conservation is beneficial to the local population.
In all the above definitions, ecotourism is considered as an integral element
of the development of sustainable tourism. The very concept of "ecotourism"
involves the interaction of tourism and the environment, the rational and careful
use of natural resources.
Ecotourism presupposes the presence of several directions for “ecorecreation”. According to the predominance of the purpose of travel (recreation or
obtaining certain knowledge), there are three main types of ecological tourism:
scientific, educational, recreational (Romanchuk, 2015).
Scientific tourism allows us to obtain information about remote and littlestudied areas, which are necessary both for science and for effective planning of
the development of ecological tourism itself.
Some of the most interesting tourist species and sights of non-living nature
become objects of educational tourism. The objects of ecological tourism may be
exotic plant communities, or biocenoses, various zoogeographic biomes, and
unique landscapes. Hiking and water tourism with fishing, birdwatching, insects,
plant diversity, film and photography, camping, hiking and mountain climbing,
caving tourism, boating, botanical archaeological and paleontological excursions
are popular with tourists.
Recreational tourism includes sports tourism, mountaineering, skiing,
horseback riding, water and hiking trips and other types of active and passive
recreation. Extreme tourism is close to its essence.
Other concepts are associated with the definition of “eco-tourism”. For
example, ethno-ecological tourism is aimed at studying the life of specific ethnic
groups living in harmony with the surrounding nature.
Agro-ecological or rural tourism is associated with a rural way of life on
farms and farms and is most relevant for Western European countries with a small
percentage of natural landscapes and a high level of agricultural development of
the territory.
Local history tourism contributes to the knowledge of the history of
interaction between man and the natural environment.
Thus, ecotourism offers a wide range of leisure activities for tourists.
From an economic point of view, eco-tourism is a special sector of the
tourism industry, which involves striving primarily to communicate with nature, to
know its objects and phenomena, and active outdoor recreation, where traditional
entertainment and everyday comfort are in the background.
The ever-growing popularity of eco-tourism is associated with the diversity
of its functions (Chizhova, 2013):
 humanitarian functions - cognition of the world in all its diversity, the
formation of ethical values associated with the preservation and protection
of nature, etc.;
 social functions - the preservation of traditional cultures and the
improvement of the social situation in the region;
 ecological functions - protection of natural areas, biodiversity conservation,
 economic functions - maintenance and development of the local economy.
Ecotourism should have the following properties (Chizhova, 2013):
 be turned towards nature (both virgin and domestic) and based on the use of
primarily natural resources;
 do not damage or cause minimal damage to our environment, that is, to be
environmentally sustainable;
 be consistently focused on environmental education and awareness, on the
formation of relations of equal partnership with nature;
 care for the preservation of the local socio-cultural environment;
 be cost-effective and ensure the sustainable development of the areas where
it operates.
Awareness of the socio-economic importance of ecological tourism has led
to its development in many countries and regions of the world.
In recent years, due to the severe deterioration of the ecological situation,
ecological tourism has been developing in many countries. About 500 million
people a year take part in this kind of tourism. At the moment, the world pays great
attention to the development of eco-tourism, which is aimed at protecting the
environment and human interaction with it through tourism, i.e., a combination of
travel with the preservation of the wild environment. Tourists are attracted to littlestudied routes, various corners of the earth, untouched by man, monuments of
nature (Golubeva, 2016).
The emergence of eco-tourism and its rapid development throughout the
world is due to the desire to minimize environmental changes, which allows it to
develop in many, including specially protected, natural areas. Unlike mass or resort
tourism, it does not have a strong environmental impact and, with its sustainable
planned development, can become an additional source of self-financing in many
The principles of eco-tourism allow countries, even those that are not among
the most economically developed, to gain strong positions in the global tourist
market. The prerequisites of this process are carrying out an active state policy in
the field of tourism development, which is currently not enough attention in our
country, and the desire of local residents to actively participate in the development
of the tourism industry in their districts, receiving additional profit from it.
Currently, eco-tourism has become a significant socio-economic and
environmental phenomenon of international scope. According to UNWTO,
ecotourism accounts for 20% of the global tourism market with an income of $ 20
billion a year (WTO, 2014). The geography of eco-tourism is peculiar. If the main
international flows of traditional tourists are from developed countries to
developed countries, then ecotourists go mainly from developed countries to
developing countries. The latter are predominantly in the tropics, whose nature is
exotic and attractive to the inhabitants of temperate latitudes. The leaders of
ecotourism are Kenya, Tanzania, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Nepal, as well as Australia,
New Zealand and South Africa.
The basis for the organization of ecological tourism in Russia is a developed
network of Natural Protected Areas (Golubeva, 2016). Federal legislation defines
six NPA categories, three of which (natural reserves, national and natural parks)
play the most important role in planning and implementing ecotourism activities.
The specificity of tourism in NPAs is its focus on environmental education and
training of visitors, which is due to the high educational and educational value of
the natural environment, emphasized by many scientists and artists of
environmental protection.
There is no exact definition of ecotourism in the Natural Protected Areas. In
our opinion, ecotourism in NPAs is an organized economic efficient active form of
recreation, aimed at the cognition of objects and natural phenomena and active
recreation, based on the rational use of natural objects.
The organization of ecological tourism in specially protected natural
territories is not a simple task, taking into account the peculiarities of the regime of
NPAs and the status of environmental institutions located on them. Natural
Protected Areas are the areas of land, water surface and airspace above them,
where natural complexes and objects are located that have special environmental,
scientific, cultural, aesthetic, recreational and recreational value, which are
removed by decisions of state authorities in whole or in part economic use and for
which the special protection regime is established (Russian Federation Federal law,
The following categories of these areas are distinguished: state natural
reserves (including biosphere reserves), national parks, natural parks, state natural
reserves, nature monuments, dendrological parks and botanical gardens,
therapeutic and recreational areas and resorts (Russian Federation Federal law,
The question of whether tourism activities in specially protected areas can be
resolved interests many and is still controversial. However, there is an opinion that
the development of mass tourism (on the scale of foreign national parks) in our
NPAS is very problematic and technically impracticable. But limited, informative
(not entertaining), carefully regulated tourism in many (but not all) NPAs, taking
into account their size, specificity, traditions, will not only raise the rating of our
protected area, increase the social importance of natural reserves, will contribute to
the growth of their authority in the eyes of population and authorities in the regions
(Chizhova, 2013).
The development of eco-tourism in Russia must be organized within the
framework of the principles and rules that exist throughout the world. Ecotourism
means all types of tourism and recreation in nature that do not damage the natural
complexes, promote nature conservation and improve the well-being of the local
population (the US Ecotourism Society, IUCN, WWF). In other words, it is
“sustainable and nature-oriented tourism and recreation” (VPNews, 2016).
Organized ecological tourism now covers 10–15% of the tourist market in
Russia. Unlike conventional types of tourism, ecotourism does not require such a
developed tourist infrastructure (hotels, restaurants, leisure establishments) per
tourist and per ruble of profit, and, therefore, is characterized by a much lower
resource intensity.
Revenues from the operation of any American national park (associated
mainly with tourism) amount to no less than $ 40 per hectare, while using them as
agricultural land brought no more than $ 0.80, even using the most advanced farm
(Shustov, 2012). Therefore, with proper planning and management, eco-tourism
can be an important source of economic benefits, both for countries and for private
enterprises and local communities. At the same time, it can serve as an effective
tool for the protection of natural and cultural values. In addition to direct income
(entrance fee, various fees for tourist services, funds from the sale of souvenirs,
guidebooks, etc.), eco-tourism can bring additional funds that, if well managed,
can be used to maintain the protected area, salary of personnel, repair of roads ,
ensuring the level of tourist service, etc. Ecological tourism stimulates the
development of such sectors of the economy as transport, communications, trade,
construction, agriculture, production of consumer goods, and is one of the most
promising areas.
Sustainable development of ecological tourism in NPAs
In all the above definitions, ecotourism is considered as an integral element
of the development of sustainable tourism. The concept of “ecotourism in natural
protected areas” implies the interaction of tourism activities and the environment,
which implies the rational and careful use of natural resources. Therefore, ecotourism in NPAs implies sustainable and nature-oriented tourism and recreation.
Thus, it can be considered that sustainable development of ecotourism in
NPAs is a process of change, in which the exploitation of natural resources, the
direction of investment, the orientation of scientific and technological development
and institutional changes that are coordinated with each other, strengthen the
present and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations. The strategy of
sustainable development of NPAs is a rational means of "greening" scientific
knowledge and the transition to a new understanding of socio-economic
The main principles of sustainable ecotourism in NPAs are:
 travel to nature, and the main content of such travel - familiarity with wildlife,
with local customs and culture;
 minimizing the negative effects of environmental and socio-cultural nature,
maintaining the environmental sustainability of the environment;
 promoting the protection of nature and the local socio-cultural environment;
environmental education and awareness;
 participation of local residents and their income from tourism activities, which
creates economic incentives for them to protect nature; economic efficiency and
contribution to the sustainable development of the regions visited (Zadevalova,
Sustainability in this case means a positive overall balance of the
environmental, socio-cultural and economic impacts of tourism, as well as the
positive impact of visitors on each other (Chizhova, 2013).
The goal of developing sustainable eco-tourism in NPAs is the
harmonization of human with the natural and social environment, environmental
education of the population, as well as the effective and efficient use of natural
The main objective of sustainable eco-tourism in NPAs is the desire to
minimize environmental changes, which implies the observance of strict
environmental standards and restrictions that will successfully implement the main
principle of sustainable development (environmental management that does not
lead to degradation of resources), because for the restoration and protection of
resources the benefits from the development of ecological tourism are used.
At the same time, the development of tourism in protected areas in our
country is associated with a number of issues and difficulties. This specificity
makes it possible to formulate some systemic problems in the development of
sustainable ecotourism (Golubeva, 2016). Thus, we have analyzed some problems
in the development of sustainable ecotourism and measures that contribute to their
Table 3. Problems of sustainable ecotourism development and Problem solving
Problems of sustainable ecotourism
Problem solving activities
1. The ambiguity of the interpretation of the 1. The
concept of eco-tourism and a different
necessary tourist infrastructure (visitor
understanding of the essence of the
centers, laying eco paths, equipment for
phenomenon and its organizational form;
2. The unpreparedness and the lack of
demand by tourists for NPA resources;
accommodation facilities, etc.);
2. Training both among employees of the
3. The inevitable occurrence of recreational
protected areas, and among representatives
of travel agencies for the development of
environmental management, on the other;
3. Raising awareness of potential consumers
4. The underdeveloped NPA infrastructure;
of ecological tourism services (promotion
5. The unpreparedness and disinterest of the
of ecological tourism programs);
NPAs themselves;
4. The introduction of a methodology for
6. Lack of works on scientifically grounded
planning and regulation of tourist activities
recreational potential of protected areas,
on the routes of economic and recreational
areas of protected areas, including works
on determining the recreational capacity of 5. Creation
recreational monitoring.
methodology for assessing the impact of
tourists on NPAs.
In our project we focused on the solution of last problem concerning the lack
of works on scientifically grounded planning and regulation of tourist activities on
the routes of economic and recreational areas of NPAs. So, we focused on the
methods for assessing the impact of tourists on NPAs.
Criteria for Sustainable Tourism
Sustainable tourism development is ecologically sustainable, economically
viable as well as ethically and socially equitable. So, sustainable tourism integrates
the natural, cultural and human environment. Therefore it respects the fragile
environmental balance that characterizes many tourism destinations, particularly in
environmentally sensitive areas. Furthermore, it is characterized by a long term
To evaluate if tourism development accomplishes these goals, a set of
criteria has to be developed which serves as a frame to identify and structure the
different aspects the goals of sustainable tourism are referring to.
Criteria express the goals we want to achieve by sustainable tourism
They describe a state and/or the improvement of certain features of a region,
a tourism product or tourism development in general. If these criteria are fulfilled
or true, it can be stated that tourism was developed and/or takes places in a
sustainable way.
To measure if a criterion is fulfilled, certain indicators can be used.
Indicators are characteristics or figures that demonstrate the state or the change of
the state of a criterion. Each criterion must have at least one, better several
indicators which can be measured in a scientifically valid and preferably objective
It is also important to realize that while the presented list of criteria for
sustainable tourism in principle is applicable to every region and every kind of
tourism all over the world, the set of indicators belonging to each criterion should
be selected and adjusted according to the special conditions of the area where the
sustainability of tourism is evaluated. Therefore, the indicators mentioned in this
document do not represent a complete or obligatory list, but are meant as examples
to illustrate the dimensions of criteria.
In the broad way, criteria can be divided in three big groups: environmental,
economic and social.
1.4.1. Environmental Criteria
Sustainable tourism development aims at minimising negative ecological
impacts by adequate resource management, e. g. the reduction of resource
consumption, the efficient use and the proper disposal and recovery of resources.
Therefore scientific and technological innovation should be used where
In the tourism sector, certification or labelling schemes for “eco-friendly” or
“sustainable” tourism facilities or businesses are a good way to integrate these
approaches. Moreover they credibly communicate the benefits of the certified
products to the tourists and the local inhabitants. That way the certificates ensure
the liability of resource management while at the same time the certified or
labelled businesses benefit from it concerning marketing purposes.
If tourism development is harmonised with all these requirements, it
provides a good alternative to less sustainable activities and helps to reduce
overexploitation. Moreover, sustainable tourism can encourage other regional
businesses to integrate environmental management into their activities.
To achieve the conservation of the natural and cultural heritage of a region,
tourism should make a direct contribution to the funding of conservation
programmes. This is normally accomplished by entrance and parking fees or
charges and donations dispensed by individual tourists or tourism enterprises. The
purchase of site-related products and services also directly generates funding.
Cooperation with protected areas and conservation initiatives on the global and
local level is especially useful to contribute to the protection of the features the
tourists enjoy during their trip. Besides the financial contribution, sustainable
tourism also means to abandon certain activities in favour of the protection of the
natural environment.
The evaluation of this criterion should not only take into account the amount
of money gathered for conservation, but it should also measure the real effects
which conservation projects funded by this money have. Non-monetary ways of
contribution, e. g. tourists doing voluntary work in conservation programmes, also
need to be taken into consideration.
1.4.2. Economic Criteria
To avoid financial leakages, sustainable tourism development should be
accompanied by efforts to strengthen the local economy. Further the participation
of locals in the business and thus the chance for them to obtain the maximum of
revenues from tourism should be strived for. If tourism makes use of the local
supply, i.e. local goods and services, it contributes to the income of locals and
reduces external costs due to transport. Besides, tourists and locals should be able
to share the tourism infrastructure and to jointly use the local products made
available in the course of tourism development. The competition between locals
and the tourism business regarding supplies in the high season should be avoided
as well as a lack of supply for the local population in the low season. Tourism
should also serve as an economic multiplier by enforcing links between businesses
and creating net benefits.
Additional to the direct leakages in the tourism business, tourism can also
cause shortages caused through necessary investments in the tourism sector, e. g.
road constructions or other (tourism) infrastructure facilities, which the local
communities has to pay for. Another factor that may reduce the tourism-related
income of the local population is the general increase of living costs in the
destination. Summarizing, it should be ensured, that the costs of tourism are not
exceeding the revenues.
1.4.3. Social Criteria
Sustainable tourism development can be a driving force for good governance
which then contributes to the improvement of living conditions through a sound
utilisation of public funds. This is a quite demanding goal. Therefore also other,
more direct ways to accomplish the maintenance or the improvement of the quality
of live are necessary, e. g. the investment in programmes established by tourism
business stakeholders, e. g. tour operators. Because the tourism business is free in
how to utilise its benefits, it is able to engage in social programmes directly. This
engagement can be undertaken individually by tour operators or tourists, but it can
also be organised in cooperative funds, projects, programmes and the like. These
efforts may also be applied to reduce negative impacts of tourism in a region.
Picrure 1. Criteria and possible indicators for sustainability of tourism
2. Comparative review of sustainability assessment tools
Selection criteria for the assessment tools
Currently, there exists a wide range of tools and approaches that address
specific aspects of sustainable tourism and are used with varying objectives and by
different stakeholders. The international network Building Environmental Quality
Evaluation For Sustainability (BEQUEST), funded by the European Commission
(EC), has started to establish a directory of tools used to assess the sustainability of
tourism destinations development (BEQUEST, 2008). It aims to provide a
framework for a common understanding of sustainable development in tourism by
maintaining a list of sustainability assessment tools by category. The directory
currently contains 66 assessment methods with still more to be included, and is
organized alphabetically as it proved difficult to define universal classification
categories. Obviously, most of those tools are not suitable for NPAs assessment;
therefore there was a need to implement selection criteria for these tools to be
included in our analysis. An important category used to differentiate between tools
provided by this directory is concepts, which are supported by those tools.
A concept is an idea of how to achieve sustainability. An example of a
concept is ’cleaner production’, which is viewed as a preventive environmental
strategy (UNEP, 2001) or a proactive, anticipative ’beginning-of-the-pipe’
philosophy (Baas, 1992). Cleaner production strategies define the goal of pollution
prevention and minimization and lead to the development of objectives, but they
do not evaluate the necessity of environmental improvement, nor do they quantify
improvements gained by the implementation. For this, assessment tools are
An assessment tool is something that typically consists of a systematic stepby-step assessment procedure and/or a computational algorithm that is used to
implement a concept. Important objectives of tools for sustainability assessment
are to define the areas where corrective actions would be necessary and to evaluate
if the chosen mitigation measures will lead to the desired improvement of the
situation or object of study.
The concept constructs the basis for the development of objectives,
strategies and measures to improve sustainability, while assessment tools are
necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of these measures. As such the tool is part
of a closed-loop system providing feedback information for the implementation of
the concept
When it comes to sustainability in NPA, it has been shown that at least 3
sustainability concepts should be considered. They include: ecotourism,
environmental management and tourism (Lee, 2001).
Ecotourism - ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on
experiencing natural areas that foster environmental and cultural understanding,
appreciation and conservation (Ecotourism Australia, 2003). The principle
objective of this concept is to offer and/or promote ‘green’ alternatives to
environmentally concerned tourists; build environmental awareness
Environmental management is management and control of the environment
and natural resources systems in such a way so as to ensure the sustainability of
development efforts over a long-term basis. The principle objective is integration
of environmental objectives into socioeconomic policy and planning.
Tourism carrying capacity - Maximum number of tourists that can visit a
single site without causing destructive physical, biological, economic or
sociocultural effects on environment, or an unacceptable deterioration in tourists’
satisfaction (WTO, 1983). Principle objective is prevention of major damage
caused by overpopulation.
Lee’s paper does not include the evaluation of tools that are needed to
support these various concepts. This, however, is of major importance; concepts
can only be implemented efficiently if there are appropriate tools available to
support these concepts. This paper therefore concentrates on the review of tools for
sustainability assessment which support at least one of the proposed concepts and
gives only a brief overview of the main concepts for implementing sustainable
tourism destinations.
Analysis of the sustainability assessment tools
Sustainability indicators (SI)
These indicators are recognized as useful, reliable and easily understandable
assessment and communication tools for decision makers. Since the early 1990s,
WTO has pioneered the development and application of SI for tourism and
destinations, and has advocated using SI as a "fundamental part of the overall
planning and management of destinations, as well as an integral part of sustainable
development efforts for the tourism sector of all sizes (WTO, 2004). There are
different types of ratings for destinations, each of which has a different role and
Indicator type
Pressure or stress indicator
State indicator
Response indicator
Impact indicator
Early warning indicator
Indicator measures
Pressures caused by human Trampling
environment, culture and
Current state of the industry
Number of local people
employed by the tourism
The response of society and Introduction of taxes, cleanup
management efforts to solve costs for coastal contamination
problems identified by other
indicators (e.g. stress, pressure
and state)
Impacts on the social and Loss of biodiversity, changes
economic functions of the of income levels of local
tourism destination
The performance (distance to Waste generated/ waste target
target) of the industry
The efficiency of human Energy-efficiency of cars,
activities to resolve identified buildings
problems (comparison of gain
and expenditure)
Observable changes that could Decline in tourists who intend
affect the sustainability of the to return
SI is the most widely used and promoted tool for assessing the sustainability
of tourist destinations for several reasons. One of the main criteria is that in the
process of establishing indicators, comparative indicators are used - comparatively
clear and poor indicators, tourist enterprises, tourist facilities and destinations
(simple and low indicators) (Green Globe, 2001, 2002). The establishment of SI
sets is very flexible by adapting the selected set of indicators, which allows you to
improve the database and information by adding more suitable or replacing
outdated indicators. Both quantitative and qualitative information can be used
(WTO, 2004). This is especially important for aspects where quantitative data is
missing or not yet available, or when performance indicators are related to
qualitative objectives (OECD, 2003), such as satisfying visitors or preventing
overcrowding on footpaths. Furthermore, quantitative SI can reduce large
quantities of physical and social science data into manageable information as they
can be easily aggregated, added up and compared.
The WTO published in 2004 a comprehensive guide to the implementation
of SI tourist destinations (WTO, 2004). Based on the huge number of different
examples presented in the guide, the WTO recognizes that tourist destinations
differ significantly from each other and that a good indicator for one tourist
destination is not necessarily suitable for another. The value of the SI set is
determined by the degree to which it can provide information to clarify issues and
to measure responses. Therefore, the WTO and tourism researchers (Miller, 2001;
Twining-Ward&Butler, 2002) recommend that SI systems be developed in a
participatory process unique to the destination, in order to identify tourism assets
and risks, and select priority issues as well as define objectives
Environmental impact assessment (EIA)
Worldwide, EIA is one of the most popular tools for assessing the
environmental impact of new or planned projects. It emerged as a mandatory
regulatory procedure in the early 1970s in the United States and is used to study
the proposed changes and environmental impacts at a particular site (Thomas,
2001). Thus EIA is used mainly as a pre-project approval decision making tool and
is usually a requirement to get a licence to construct and/or operate a particular
EIA focuses on site-specific environmental impact assessment and a
relatively flexible and objectively oriented tool. The EIA assessment methods used
are defined and adapted for specific cases. EIA methods can encompass social,
cultural, and economic aspects and can range from special methods, checklists,
matrices and intermediate systems to schemes, networks, quantitative or index
methods, and mathematical models (Thomas, 2001).
In tourism, EIAs are generally used for specific projects, such as marinas,
airports and new eco-resorts, and not for the assessment of whole tourism
destinations. Between 1979 and 1993, a total of 175 tourism developments in
Australia were subject to EIA (Warnken & Buckley, 1998). However, Warnken
and Buckley found that the scientific quality of the conducted assessments was
generally low and that the impact predictions were vague and unquantified.
The observed difficulties of EIA are inherent in procedures that are mainly
designed and performed as ’front-end’ assessments, examining a project before it
begins and therefore lacking adequate monitoring and feedback loops for reevaluation and remedial measures (Warnken & Buckley, 1998). Since the EIA may
not include final design data, an inefficient and costly scattershot approach to data
collection and assessment is often used to cover all eventualities (Andersen, 1997)
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
LCA is a decision support tool for assessing the environmental
characteristics of a product, as well as “from cradle to grave” processes ( i.e.from
extraction of raw material to final disposal) (ISO14040,1997). The LCA process,
as compared with SI, is rather complicated, because it tends to include all possible
inputs and outputs of the life cycle of the entire system. While SI systems often
select indicators that are easily measurable and believed to be relevant, the
inventory assessment of the LCA is kept as comprehensive as possible and
therefore LCA minimizes the risk of overlooking important aspects.
One of the strengths of the LCP is that it allows you to detect and, therefore,
prevent them from moving away from one medium to another and from one
production stage to another, thereby reducing pressure, without creating new ones
or exacerbating others. Another advantage of LCA is that it can cumulatively
assess all impacts within a system boundary and these impacts can include indirect
impacts caused by processes such as infrastructure construction, accommodation
and provided services.
LCA of the tourism sector has been promoted by tourism researchers
(Johnson, 2002) and organizations (Office of National Tourism, 2005), but it has
rarely been undertaken. Recently, LCA was used to assess the indirect
environmental impacts of the tourism sector in New Zealand (Patterson &
McDonald, 2004). The study showed the value of LCA for the decision making
process, as it helps to avoid the transference of environmental impacts in time and
location. This can occur if indirect impacts caused by tourism supply industries,
such as agriculture, building, fisheries and transport agencies, are omitted.
Since LCA requires data generation and processing, various software
programs and databases have been developed to facilitate and normalize the
evaluation process. Although this optimized the process of this tool, it was found
that if the data obtained were not previously collected, data collection can be very
time consuming and expensive.
The main focus of LCA has traditionally been global impacts, such as global
warming, ecotoxicity and ozone layer depletion(Owens,1998).There have been
Wenk,1999),which are, however, relatively generic and not as suitable for sensitive
LCA has been developed for environmental impact assessment and usually
does not take into account social and economic impacts. Although attention has
been paid to these aspects of sustainability, they are still considered outside the
scope of the LCA (Rebitzer & Seuring, 2003; Udo de Haes et al., 2004).
Difficulties in incorporating qualitative data into LCA is a problem in relation to
environmentally sensitive areas, such as impairment of life, erosion, overharvesting and the introduction of invasive species that are difficult to quantify.
Environmental Audit (EA)
EA is an integral part of the environmental management process and is
usually implemented or applied to facilities that are already in operation. Critically
examine on-site operations and, if necessary, identify areas for improvement to
help management meet requirements. Therefore, the effectiveness of EA as an
environmental assessment in general depends on the professional competence of
the audit team and the availability of environmental data.
In NPAs environmental audits are one tool used to evaluate concession
facilities and services for compliance with environmental laws, and serve as a
means to educate concessioners and NPS staff about environmental management.
An environmental audit is conducted in order to:
Fulfill DOI and NPS policy requirements.
Assist concessioners in evaluating existing environmental programs.
Recognize best management practices (BMPs) already being
implemented, and identify new BMP opportunities that may exist.
Recognize exceptional practices that demonstrate environmental
stewardship and management.
Identify and understand applicable federal, state, and local
environmental requirements.
Recommend corrective actions and compliance assistance resources.
EA is a very flexible tool. It can be adapted to different tourist operations,
such as organizations, enterprises, development projects and tourist destinations,
regardless of their scale. It can be easily combined with other assessment tools,
such as SI, LCA and EIA. Despite the historical focus on environmental issues,
social and economic aspects can be easily incorporated into the EA process. In
contrast to EIA, EA is applied periodically as a monitoring tool, which is
especially important for organisations and tourism destinations that are constantly
and rapidly developing or changing. EA concentrates on performance
measurements and effects caused at the assessed site, therefore it is primarily sitespecific, and important for the assessment of local impacts. EA has been applied to
tourism to a lesser degree than to process-based industries. There is potential to
apply EA to the tourism industry to monitor the extent to which a tourist operation
or development satisfies environmental standards or indicators (Ding & Pigram,
1995) as per many tourism ecolabelling schemes such as Green Globe and
NEAP(Chester&Crabtree,2002). Generally, tourism researchers emphasise the
value of EA to improve the environmental performance of both tourism companies
(Goodall, 1995) and NPAs (Tribe et al., 2000).
Multi-criteria analysis (MCA)
The MCA is another decision support tool that has been used in the context
of assessing the sustainability of regions and specific sites, such as NPAs (Nijkamp
& Veeker, 2000). It was primarily applied to environmental planning and project
evaluation as well as to address conflicting objectives between stakeholders over
the use of scarce natural resources (albeit in 1990).
MCA techniques allow comparison of alternatives, such as different design
options or policy interventions, using a set of criteria and a method for ranking the
alternatives based on how well they satisfy the criteria. Generally, MCA goes
beyond SI as it provides a method of evaluating data and indicators by using
different procedures of data standardization, ranking and weighting.
Important advantages of MCA in comparison to other methods are first, that
a large number of data, relationships and objectives can be considered (Delft &
Nijkamp,1977),secondly,thatdataneednotbeconvertedtothesameunit(e.g. dollars, kg
or m2), and finally, that it can use both quantitative and qualitative evaluation
criteria (e.g. yes/no, plus and minus, ordinal ranking). For instance, Zografos and
Oglethorpe applied MCA in Napo/Ecuador to compare sociocultural, economic
and environmental impacts of ecotourism with other economic activities of the
region (Zografos , 2004).
A key feature of MCA is its emphasis on the judgement of the decision
making team in establishing objectives and criteria, estimating relative importance
and evaluating the contribution of each option to each performance criterion. As
such, MCA depends highly on the expertise of the assessment team, and depending
on the object of the MCA, experts from different scientific fields will be required.
As this can be costly, MCA is usually undertaken as a front end assessment and
hence cannot consider unpredicted changes.
Adaptive environmental assessment (AEA)
The AEA was developed in accordance with the number of perceived
weaknesses of specific environmental impact assessments, such as EIA. It is based
on the foundational work of Holling, who advocated environmental assessment
approaches designed to take account of the continual uncertainty that is inherent in
all natural systems (Holling, 1978). AEA uses small collaborative workshops of
scientists, decision makers and computer modelling experts to construct a
simulation model of the economic, social and/or environmental system likely to be
affected by a development. Periodic workshops and the refinement of the model
with newly available data initiates a learning cycle that promotes systems
understanding and facilitates the exploration of management scenarios.
AEA has the potential to assess the sustainability aspects of tourism
destinations that underlie dynamic environmental, social or market changes and
that cannot be analysed with other tools, such as LCA due to complex
relationships. Walker pointed out that model development also leads to an
improved understanding of cumulative environmental impacts, such as the ongoing
loss of agricultural land for tourism development and the decreasing capacity of
landfills (Walker, 1999).
The Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization
(CSIRO) have developed, in collaboration with the Douglas Shire Council in
Northern Queensland and the tourism industry, an innovative framework for
investigating the social, economic and environmental outcomes of tourism
development (Walker,1999).The core element of the framework is a simulation
tool called ‘Tourism Futures Simulator’ (TFS), which is based on AEA tools and
procedures. Walker describes the TFS as a ‘powerful tool to help explore the
complexities of the tourism industry and its interactions with the economy, the
environment and local communities’. The simulation model, however, can become
very complex due to the scale of interrelationships and interdependencies of the
various processes of a NPAs (Walker, 1999).Therefore, models are usually generic
and allow only relatively simple predictions, such as the increase in damage to
forest ecosystems, trampling and infrastructure damage caused by rising tourist
So far, there have been only a few applications of AEA to the assessment of
large-scale developments and therefore the wider applicability of AEA is still to be
evaluated (Bisset & Tomlinson, 2000).
Ecological Tourism Carrying Capacity (ETCC)
Ecological Tourism Carrying Capacity was understood by the authors like
Prelovsky as the amount at which irreversible damage is not caused to the natural
complex during long-term recreational effects, its structure and ability to heal itself
are preserved, and the transformation of grass cover corresponds to the 1st stage of
digression(Prelovsky, 1996). This is important in this assessment tool, since
changes in biogeocenoses under the influence of recreational loads occur
gradually. Staged process of transformation of forest landscapes can range from
the appearance of the first signs of digression to complete degradation.
The only type of aspects of sustainability this models assesses are
ecological. This can be crucial when choosing between different models. It can
only be considered if a destination decides that other aspects of sustainability are
not important for them and therefore not worth additional monitoring programs.
This type of assessment tool is likely the most common tool used in Russian
NPAs, because natural conservation is the main priority of those areas. However,
since national parks and protected areas have to make profit in order to sustain
themselves, many researchers argue that it is not the most viable solution. NPAs
need to assess their ecological state as well as their attractiveness to tourists.
Adapted Tourism Carrying Capacity (ATCC)
This method of estimation of carrying capacity was proposed by Cifuentes,
who stated that the maximum number of visits that a NPA can receive, should take
into account the physical, biological and management conditions of the area and
consist on three phases: Physical Carrying Capacity (CCF), Real Carrying
Capacity (CCR) and Effective Carrying Capacity (CCE). Physical Carrying
Capacity (CCF), which refers to the maximum limit of visits, that physically could
be done in a day. It is defined by the relationship between the opening hours of the
NPA and the time needed to each visit, the visitation available space, the needed
space for visitors and the type of trail (circular or linear) (Cifuentes,1999).
This model, unlike the method that only considers environmental impacts,
also incorporates social and managerial factors in its equation, which is obviously
preferable, since limited management power can affect the way tourist follow rules
of the national parks and protected areas. Also, as Cifuentes states, TCC should
consider factors that limit tourist flow regardless of whether it is in control of NPA
management of not, since otherwise the final number of TCC will be much higher
than in reality and management measures taken to response to this number will be
Obviously, this method of assessment is site-specific, even more so than
other assessment tools, because it is usually used to assess sustainability of a single
trail, rather than whole NPA.
Comparative matrix and selection guidelines
It can be concluded from the previous section that no single tool addresses
all of the environmental, social and economic issues at all levels and therefore a
combination of different assessment tools may be required to answer specific
questions pertinent to a project. This section is therefore intended to provide a
framework for tool selection and effective integration. The following categories
have been developed to aid the decision making process and these tie in with Table
4 which lists the tools via selection matrix of these categories.
In general the ratings were assigned according to the literature review. The
criteria for the ratings was assigned as follows:
+++: Tool is currently used to assess the aspect of sustainability in NPAs
without critique
++: Tool is rarely used in NPAs or has been promoted to assess the aspect of
sustainability in NPAs (possibly has slight limitations in this aspect)
+: Tool has only been proposed to assess the aspect of sustainability and has
certain limitations or faced certain critique
–: Tool is not designed for and cannot be used to support the concept.
Table 4. Comparative matrix of sustainability assessment tools with
selection guidelines
Selection guidelines
Assessment tools
Economic aspects
Social aspects
Current application in NPAs
Simplicity of application
Dynamic impacts
Time perspective: monitoring progress or predicting consequence?
The sustainability assessment tools are used either to investigate the need for
change (retrospective tools) or to assess the effects of a proposed change
(prospective tools). Retrospective tools designed to monitor current progress. A
typical retrospective assessment of the likelihood of the destination of our tourism
is that assessment of compliance with legal requirements, standards and goals is an
integral force. However, as already mentioned, EA poorly predicts potential
impacts, despite the fact that some tourism researchers are promoting it for this
purpose (Diamantis, 1999). To counter this weakness and to be able to compare
formulated alternatives, EA should be integrated with the intended tools (for
example, EIA and MCA). In general, LCA have been used retrospectively in the
tourism sector. Patterson and McDonald used them in this way to research the
NPA in New Zealand (Patterson, 2004). As other industries have shown, LCA has
the potential to compare formulated alternatives and, thus, can also be used
prospectively. This also applies to SI, as demonstrated by Green Globe, which uses
SI for comparative analysis of tourist areas during the planning phase (Green
Globe, 2005). SI, however, are relatively weak in predicting possible implications
and impacts of new tourism developments, especially if these developments are
more complex. Therefore, the assessment results have to be substantiated by data
from impact studies about sensitive areas to evaluate possible effects on forest
ecosystem, biodiversity, etc.
Spatial focus: assessing global impact or on a site-specific basis
There are two main categories of assessment tools:
1) Tools that assess mainly global and regional effects, such as the
greenhouse effect, acidification, ozone depletion, human toxicity, and the
formation of photo-oxidants (for example, most LCA and EF);
2) Tools that concentrate on specific local impacts (for example, EIA, AEA
and EA).
Tools of the first category,with a‘non-site’ specific or ‘global’ focus, have
been developed with the intention to avoid major ‘trade-offs’ (dislocations) such as
those from one environmental medium or region to another. IN order to handle the
huge amount of data necessary for global impact assessment, tools of the first
category are based on data that is aggregated at source and hence time and spacespecific information is often lost. Gossling’s 2000 study does not take into account
site-specific components, such as disturbance of wildlife by emissions, noise and
other changes occurring in the local environment. Therefore, Patterson and
McDonald emphasise that their NZ study was not site-specific and that the purpose
of the LCA was to use a broad scope for assessment and thereby cover indirect
impacts of the tourism sector.
Tools of the second category are considered to be the main target of our
research, as they evaluate the environmental and social implications of tourism
destinations located in ecologically and/or culturally sensitive environments, such
as NPAs. A relatively small pressure or load (e.g. waste,noise or traffic) can cause
significantly more damage in systems with low resiliency to human impact than in
cities or industrialised regions. In these cases, LCA should be combined with tools
that allow for site-specific assessments, such as EIA and EA. Similarly, care must
be taken when using SI, as the high level of aggregation necessary to establish
easily comprehensible SI can lead to a loss of information, which may be essential
to draw accurate conclusions for possible courses of action (Wall,1995). The WTO
promotes SI as an information-based decision making tool for all levels of tourism
planning and management, from local to national levels(WTO, 2004). Hughes
however justifiably doubts, whether ‘good indicators’ already exist for the impact
assessment of ecologically fragile areas in the vicinity of tourism destinations.
Therefore the complementation of SI with EIA and AEA is usually necessary for
identification of the need for corrective action (Hughes, 2002).
Ecological, economic and social aspects
Sustainability comprises three aspects: social, economic and environmental.
Tools that can be used for holistic assessment, and that encompass all three
sustainability aspects, include MCA and SI. As data for social and environmental
indicators are usually more difficult to obtain, these tools may become unavoidably
biased (Gallopin, 1997) if the availability of information is taken as a measure of
significance. This is particularly relevant for SI, as they are based on accessible
data. For instance, ecolabelling schemes, such as Green Globe use SI that are
readily available in order to restrict the costs of data collection.
Other assessment tools concentrate on one or two aspects. In particular, LCA
and EF do not consider social impacts (Udode,2004; Wackernagel, 1996).This is a
drawback for the assessment of tourism destinations, where the three aspects are
often interconnected. Tourism can, for instance, generate financial support for
conservation management flagged as necessary though the use of LCA, but this
may lead to increased costs in other sectors of a destination and perhaps unequal
income distribution. In extreme cases, this causes social and environmental
pressures, such as increased crime rates and illegal game hunting.
Dynamic impacts
Most assessment tools are not capable of considering dynamic impacts as
they utilize linear assessment approaches. SI systems, for example, are often based
on annually collected performance indicators, and thus are incapable of responding
to rapid and dynamic changes and non-linearities. Therefore Meadows (1998)
emphasizes the need for combining indicators with dynamic models, such as used
in AEA, to gain accurate prediction of potential impacts.
The observed difficulties in assessing dynamic impacts are inherent to
procedures that are mainly designed and performed as a ‘snapshot’ approach, such
as EF (Roth et al., 2000). These tools are static measures and benefits derived from
them, for example improved management practices, are not incorporated in the
calculations. Thus, Twining-Ward and Butler (2002) argue that linear tools, by
way of example of SI, are not a substitute for detailed dynamic study of NPAs
Simplicity of implementation
Number of requirements for implementation can be crucial when making a
decision between several assessment tools. Allocating extra human resources and
time is not a desired option for many NPA. Because of that, many of them
implement only a variation of TCC, since it requires only quantitative data from
prior monitoring. Similar in simplicity of implementation are SI, that require
expert participation in development of the specific indicators for a territory or a
site. However, considering the current application of SI in NPA it is possible to
apply indicators from other NPAs to a not-yet assessed area. Other tools, such as
MCA, EA and EIA require workshops with experts from different fields, which
can be problematic. And as for AEA, aside from experts from different fields it
also requires computer modelling experts to construct a simulation model of the
economic, social and/or environmental system likely to be affected by a
Testing of Adapted Tourism Carrying Capacity model.
In order to demonstrate the use and validity of assessment tool we decided to
test one of the most appropriate assessment tools. However, the most suitable tools
for NPAs require both time and human resources, which are both limited in our
project. So instead we tested Adapted Tourism Carrying Capacity model as the
possible replacement for the most common used tool in Russian NPAs, Ecological
Tourism Carrying capacity. We believe, that it ATCC is a preferable option to
ETCC, since limited management power and lack of attractiveness of a destination
can affect the way tourist follow rules of the national parks and protected areas,
which consequently may affect ecological state of the NPA.
As the testing subject we chose one of the trails of the national park
“Leopard Land” for several reasons. First, this park was willing to provide us with
necessary data to calculate its carrying capacity. Second, the ETCC, for this park
was already calculated by Somova E. and Sazykin A. recently and thanks to that
we can compare the final results with results of their research. The most reasonable
prediction is that our final number will be close to theirs, but slightly lower, since
we consider social and managerial aspects as well.
Tourism carrying capacity for the trail “Tropoi Leoparda” was obtained
based on a method proposed by Cifuentes who stated that the maximum number of
visits that a NPA can receive, should take into account the physical, biological and
management conditions of the area and consist on three phases: Physical Carrying
Capacity (CCF), Real Carrying Capacity (CCR) and Effective Carrying Capacity
(CCE)( Cifuentes, 1999).
Physical Carrying Capacity (CCF), which refers to the maximum limit of
visits, that physically could be done in a day. It is defined by the relationship
between the opening hours of the NPA and the time needed to each visit, the
visitation available space, the needed space for visitors and the type of trail
(circular or linear)
where S is available surface in linear meters (1800 m), SP is the surface used
by a person (1m ²).
For the calculation of Real Carrying Capacity (CCR), the CCF was modified
by a series of corrections factors such as, Social (FCcrowd), erodibility (FCero),
accessibility (FCveg), precipitation (FCpre) of flooding (FCane), biological
(FCbio). The factors are calculated with the following general expression:
FCx = 1- Mlx/Mtx,
where FCx is the correction factor for the variable x, Mlx is the limiting
magnitude of the variable x, Mtx is the total magnitude of the variable x.
For the social factor (FCcrowd) which refers to the quality of visitation such
as the number of visitors per guide, the distance required between groups to avoid
crowding, we consider 10 persons per group and 30 m as the distance between
groups. It is also determined by the quality with which visitors can enjoy the
attractions in the whole journey and that relates to the difficulty of managing large
groups. The distance required per group was calculated from the sum of the
distance between groups and space occupied by the people in each group. Also, the
number of groups (NG) that can be simultaneously in the path is generated by the
NG = (Site total length / distance required by each group)
To calculate the FCsoc, first obtained the number of people (P) that can be
simultaneously within each site:
P = NG * N° people per group.
Moreover, the limiting magnitude (ML), which showed the site, was
calculated by:
ML = MT – P,
where ML is the magnitude limit of the site, MT is the total length in meters
of the site and P is the N ° of persons entering the site.
For FCero We used the expression:
FCero = 1 - MPE/ MT,
where MPE is the length in meters of the site with erodibility problems, MT
is the total meters of the site. This factor was taken as low for slopes <10% (weight
value is not significant), medium if 10-20% (weight value 1), and high if > 20%
(weight value is 1.5).
The vast majority of visitors are not willing to take walks in the rain or
snow, so we included The FCpre was calculated by:
FCpre = 1 – hl/ht,
where hl are limiting days of rain or snow per year (79 days) and ht are days
a year in which the path is open.
FCane was estimated by the sum all partial distances where water stagnated
by trampling, thus:
FCane = 1- Ma/Mt,
where Ma is the meters of the site with waterlogging problems (310m) and
Mt is the total meters of the site.
For the calculation of FCseason, months with limited flow of the tourists
were considered:
FCseason = 1- Ml/Mt,
Ml are the constrained months (3 month) and Mt are the months when trail is
We decided to include the FCveget as the vegetation at the site affected by
the widening of the trail. In the case of the path, considered the threat that could
cause a fire in the dry months:
FCveget = 1- Ml/Mt,
where Ml are the grassland meters with potential to be affected (920m) and
Mt is the total length of the path.
Obtained the correction factors, we calculated the Real Carrying Capacity
CCR= CCF *(FCsoc*FCero*FCacc*FCpre* FCane* FCseason* FCveget).
Finally, we calculate the CCE, which represented the maximum number of
visitors allowed at the sites of the area for public use, and relates the CCR with the
management capacity (CM; defined as the best condition that the administration
should have to practice the activities and meet the goals in a satisfactory way) by
the expression:
where CCR is the Real Carrying Capacity and CM is the management
capacity expressed in percentage of optimal. To measure CM, three variables were
considered: personnel, infrastructure and equipment as shows the expression:
CM = (infrastructure + equipment + personnel /3)*100.
In order to determine management capacity of the “Land of the Leopard” we
asked the assistant director of this NPA to rate those variables on how appropriate
they are for the tourist managing. The variables of infrastructure and equipment
were valued based on quantity, condition, location and functionality. The
personnel just considered the number of workers. The ratings for those variables
were presented on a scale from 1 to 100, which allowed us to easily incorporate it
in our formula.
Table 5. Management capacity of the NP “Land of Leopard”
Capacity of management
Having calculated the management capacity, we can finally calculate the
estimate of the ATCC.
As we can see in Table 6, the final results of our calculation are comparable,
although slightly lower than ETCC calculation conducted by Somova E., just as
predicted. Therefore we can assume that the calculation model proposed by
Cifuentes is viable and can be used for assessing factual and potential tourism
impacts on the territory.
Table 6. The results of calculation of tourism carrying capacity
Carrying Capacity
Trail “Tropoi Leoparda”
Correction Factors
CCR visits/day
Visits/day according to ATCC model
Annual visitors according to ATCC model
model 80
(Somova E., 2018)
Annual visitors according to ETCC model
Factual annual visitors (2018)
One of the most important contributions was obtained by incorporating the
correction factors to the CCF of the path, as it felt down from 1800 to 102 visits
per day, reflecting the CCR of site. This reduction resulted from the limitations
created by social factors, vegetation and accessibility. Thus, consideration of a CM
of 63% determined a CCE of 64 visits per day, which indicates that the park
management should define its limitations for handling large groups to conduct
ongoing monitoring for respect and proper use of trail and so ensure minimal
impact on the ecosystem. But generally, factual tourist flow doesn’t come close to
the limits of carrying capacity, so these limitations should only be considered on
the busiest of days.
3. Conclusions
In recent years, along with the traditional functions of protection, scientific
work and environmental education, the specially protected natural areas of Russia
are being tasked with developing educational tourism and recreational use of
natural areas. At the same time, the accumulated experience and the
implementation of successful scientifically based measures indicate that the
negative effects of recreational activities within the protected areas can be
minimized if we correctly approach its planning, rationing and monitoring as a
basis for making management decisions. However Choosing appropriately
integrated tools is important for developers, planners and regulators of tourism
resorts and new destinations, because comprehensive assessment of possible
impacts on environment and community of planned developments is required in
order to avoid trade-off s and transferences of problems from one area to the other.
This research was designed to facilitate the choice of the appropriate sustainability
assessment tools.
We examined a majority of theoretical aspects related to the following
concepts: sustainable tourism and sustainable development of tourism in NPAs.
Having analyzed information about sustainable tourism, we determined its
definition and properties. Additionally, we collected some data about ecotourism,
its functions and properties, formed a classification of ecotourism types in NPAs.
Moreover, we defined the main goals, objectives and problems of sustainable
development of ecotourism in NPAs, and therefore its problem solving activities.
In the last part of literature review we examined criteria and indicators for
sustainable tourism development.
After conducting literature review we designed a comparative matrix of
assessment tools with selection guidelines to facilitate the choice of appropriate
assessment method for the NPAs and tested ATCC model to validate it as a
replacement for the most commonly used ETCC model. Having done that we’ve
reached the following conclusions:
For a retrospective tool, the most appropriate option would be Sustainability
indicators proposed by WTO, as it incorporates all three of the sustainability
aspects while the requirements for its application are relatively low.
As for the prospective assessment, the best possible option is Adaptive
Environmental Assessment, despite the complexity of its implementation. Due to
its design, this tool can dynamically assess all of the possible aspects of
sustainability and in the long term is worth the initial investment according to the
If the excessive resource allocation is not a viable option for a NPA then
they should choose ATCC model for the search of problem areas and assessment
of future projects, with consideration that it does not assess economic aspects of
sustainability. We believe that this model is preferable to the ETCC model, since it
also incorporates managerial factors in its equation, which is important because
limited management power can affect the way tourist follow rules of the national
parks and protected areas.
As for the specific recommendations for our customer National park
“Alkhanai”, considering their preferences for a minimal resource allocation, the
most appropriate choice of assessment tool for them is Adapted Tourism Carrying
Capacity model for both retrospective and prospective assessments. This tool,
aside from prior monitoring of the indicators important for them, doesn’t require
anything, not even a dedicated expert. However, we also strongly suggest
reconsidering their preferences concerning resource allocation, because for a
comprehensive assessment all of the sustainability aspects should be consider, and
it is not possible without initial investment. In case they reconsider it, we advise to
use SI for the retrospective assessment and AEA for the prospective assessment.
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