Monitoring and management of Visitors in Recreational and Protected areas – 26-30 September 2016 – Novi Sad, Serbia
Photo Crédit : Laurent Chazée
Monitoring and management of visitors (MMV) in recreation and protected areas is a specific and multidisciplinary field of research. With the use of protected areas for a variety of activities increasing markedly, there has been a growing concern about the limits of their ecological carrying capacity.
The 8th MMV conference took place in Novi Sad, organized by the Department of Geography, Tourism and Hotel Management, Faculty of Sciences. The conference was introduced by Paul F.J. Eagle (University of Waterloo, Canada), Raoul Beunen (Open University the Netherlands), Duska Dimovic (WWF Adria, Serbia) and Boris Erg (IUCN ECARO, Serbia).
The 8th MMV focused on the sub-theme “Cooperation across borders and scales” with the emphasis on policies, problems, practices and innovative solutions that connect different areas and regions in order to collaborate on the same objectives.
The conference held in Novi Sad. Photo credit: Laurent Chazée
The conference featured 126 accepted articles and several posters presented by 200 participants from 40 countries, including three from France (IRSTEA Bordeaux, Tour du Valat, and University of Savoie Mont Blanc). Serbia, Croatia, Austria, The Netherlands, Iceland, Japan, Norway, Australia and the USA were well represented as well. From the Medwet countries, only the northern countries attended: Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey, France, Spain and Portugal.
The Mediterranean Wetland Observatory MWO (Tour du Valat) presented its article on “Monitoring recreational and educational services provided by Mediterranean Wetlands: how natural capital impact human and social capital”, Laurent Chazée, Tour du Valat, Mélanie Réquier Desjardins, IAMM, Wided Khechimi, IAMM.
Researches covered the following themes:
- Managing visitor impacts;
- Stakeholder’s approach in management of protected areas
- Branding and marketing in nature areas
- Assessment and evaluation models of protected areas
- Festival and events in protected areas
- On-site visitor monitoring systems
- Trails and routes modeling
- Contemporary trends in outdoor activities
- Environmental and landscape aesthetics and design
- Tourist infrastructure in natural areas
- Local communities and nature management
- Use of ITC in nature area management, protection and visitor tracking
- Understanding visitors’ preferences and behaviour
- Visitor constraints and limitations in natural areas
- Visitor motivation and loyalty in natural areas
- Nature-based tourism products
- Outdoor education and interpretation
- Geodiversity and geoheritage
- Financial planning and investments in protected areas
- Environmental awareness
- Experiential and health values of outdoor recreation
- Gastronomy and nature areas
Lessons learned from the previous, seventh conference show that 68% of the papers come from research carried out in Europe (15% from North America, 11% from Asia, and 6% from Australia and New Zealand). About 58% of the research studies were conducted in national parks and other protected areas, and only 6% in urban areas. Many of the studies looked at recreation and tourism generally (64%), whilst some focused on specific activities such as hiking (20%), mountain biking (9%) and skiing (4%) (Pickering C, Barros A., Dario Rossi S, Hernando A., 2016).
Between 2002 and 2016, social sciences presentations transitioned from data on visitor socio-demographics to presentation, also looking at factors affecting visitation such as perceptions, attitudes, motivations and social values. The ratio of research switched from quantitative to more qualitative research, and also to new technologies including GPS trackers, smart phones and social media. In 2014 and 2016, there was an increasing number of research cases focused upon ecosystem services and marine ecosystems, but fewer on urban and transboundary issues. Research and monitoring on wetlands have been conducted mostly at site levels, especially in the Netherlands and Germany. But generally, wetlands were included in research conducted on a broader scale of national park, landscape protected areas, and other types of protected sites. In 2016, the MWO’s research was the only one specifically focusing on wetland monitoring at a regional scale. It is expected that for the future conference, there will be increasing emphasis on analysis of “big data” issuing from new technologies and satellite images.
The next conference
The next conference on “Monitoring and management of visitors” will be organized around August-September 2018 and held for the first time in France (Bordeaux), organized by IRSTEA (contact: Joeffrey Dehez, firstname.lastname@example.org). The steering committee expects that the French location will attract more French expertise as well as the participation of additional French-speaking countries. The Committee suggested raising funds to allow developing countries to come to France and present their own research work, especially from Africa and South America.
Read the previous MedWet article on the conference here
Laurent Chazée, project manager for the Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory