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Visitor Impacts

The growth in tourist numbers in many parts of Australia and worldwide is putting significant pressure on national parks. Care is required in planning for tourism and recreation to minimise environmental impacts, provide desired experiences for visitors, achieve sustainable use and secure economic benefits for protected areas and local people (see Natural Area Tourism and Managing Protected Areas).

The environmental impacts of tourism and recreation fall into three main types: those related to transport, accommodation and shelter, and recreational activities. ‘Planning’, active management, ‘monitoring’ and rapid response to unsustainable actions are the four basic elements of effective visitor management. A number of tourism and recreation planning models address these elements (see ‘Recreation and Tourism as a Key Value of Parks’).


Browse Visitor Impact case studies:

Biophysical Impacts of Visitors

Social and Economic Impacts of Protected Areas/Visitors

Other Impacts


Featured case studies:

Current Practices in Monitoring and Reporting on Sustainability of Visitor Use of Protected Areas

This report presents the results of a study of Australian protected area agencies in terms of:  current practices for monitoring, evaluating and reporting on performance in relation to visitor use of protected areas; and,  future approaches to enhance the usefulness of these practices in meeting agency goals.

by Karen Higginbottom, R.W. (Bill) Carter, Susan Moore, Kate Rodger and Yamini Narayanan

Tourism and Protected Area Management Research Snapshot

This document profiles key STCRC research in the field of tourism and protected area management from 2005 to October 2008. The aim of this summary is to provide a ‘snapshot’ of research that informs the parks-tourism relationship and its management.