13% of tourists visit national parks and other protected areas during their stay in Croatia

Management of visitors in protected areas.

Author  HrTurizam.hr

2. March 2024.

Given the growing tourist pressure on natural and protected areas, it is important to establish effective strategies to preserve biological diversity, natural resources and ensure quality visitor experiences.  

Visitor management is an integral part of managing these areas. Intensive human activity, including tourism, can have adverse effects on the sensitive ecosystems and biodiversity of protected areas, including soil erosion, degradation of water resources and endangerment of native species. But tourism can also provide important economic and social benefits to local communities, raising awareness of the importance of nature conservation and promoting cultural exchange.

Visitor management in protected areas is a complex challenge that requires a balanced approach between natural resource conservation and tourism development and an integrated approach that takes into account ecological, sociocultural and economic factors. 

On topic: "Visitor management in protected areas: How to reconcile tourism and protection?" yesterday it was discussed at the XXI Discussions on Tourism organized by HKD Napredak and the Institute for Tourism.

The following spoke about this important topic: Aljoša Duplić, director of the Institute for Environmental and Nature Protection of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Slavko Štefičar, director of the Directorate for Sustainable Development and Competitiveness of Tourist Destinations of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Tomislav Kovačević, director of the Plitvička Lakes National Park, Ivo Bašić, director of JU PP Kopački Rit and Nika Dolenc, director of JU Maksimir, and the opening presentation was given by Ph.D. Izidora Marković Vukadin from the Institute of Tourism. 

The participants of the discussion presented examples of positive practice in establishing a balance between tourism activities and the preservation of protected areas, i.e. visitor management, including investments in visibility and branding, education and interpretation, visitor infrastructure, access control, sustainable planning, cooperation with local communities and more. Numerous challenges in managing and managing these areas were also highlighted.

"According to the results of the Tomas Hrvatska 2022/2023 survey, 13% of tourists visit national parks and other protected areas during their stay in Croatia, which is why national parks and nature parks can be considered the main or additional reason for tourists to come to Croatia. Such a high percentage of tourists and the high response to these discussions speaks of the importance of today's topic." he pointed out Damir Krešić, director of the Institute for Tourism.

Izidora Marković Vukadin, senior research associate of the Institute for Tourism emphasized that, bearing in mind that in terms of tourism, the protected areas of the destination are the basis of any tourism planning, the integration of carrying capacity studies and management plans for the entire area. Only with such development planning, it will be possible to create sustainable visiting systems.

Tomislav Kovačević, The director of the National Park of Plitvička jezera stated that twe need to work to ensure that after visiting a protected area, tourists leave richer not only for photos, but also for knowledge  and awareness of the value and need to protect such areas."It is necessary to include producers of domestic, local food in the tourist offer, which has a positive effect on the economic and birth rate policy, and by cooperating with other similar locations in the environment, guests can stay longer and thus reduce their negative impact on the destination." Kovačević added.

On the other hand, Ivo Bašić, the director of the Ju PP Kopački Rit emphasized that protected areas such as national parks and nature parks are not tourist farms, but the state protects them for other reasons, their richness and rarity. It is important to point this out because of a possible wrong perception of the public."

Aljoša Duplić, the director of the Institute for Environmental and Nature Protection MINGOR points out that protected areas have their own aesthetic value that can attract tourists, but the emphasis is more important on the overall ecosystem services they offer. Some, like Plitvice Lakes, Krka and Mljet, have tourist value. Some others, such as numerous nature parks, have yet to create and make their tourist value visible."

To end the information, how in 2022, 4,6 million tourists visited national parks and nature parks in Croatia. 

Photo: Pixabay

Author  HrTurizam.hr

2. March 2024.