Ecological Risks of Expansive Tourist Developement in Protected Areas – Case Study: Plitvice Lakes National Park
This paper analyses the impact of expansive tourism growth on protected areas on example of Plitvice lakes National park as the most visited protected area in Croatia, with annualy more than 1,2 milion visitors; the highest concentration of visitors is noted from april to semptember when their number exceeds 13.000 daily. Majority of visitors visit the lake system that amounts only 1% of total Park surface; lake sytem comprises the main natural attractions whereat much pressure is pursued on a few critical points of the environment and natural processes. In that situation a need arises to manage the above mentioned processes with the instruments of strategic crisis management in order to prepare and abate negative effects of turist expansion and to find effective models of visitor system management that will minimise eventuall harm effects of uncontrolled turistic developement.
The results of observational, analytical and statistical methods confirm some expected tendencies defined in hypothesis; the paper also shows the need for crisis management in current situation, since a high level of impact on ecological variable is present as well as constant decrease of quality of visitor's experience; as one solution a long-term model for expansive visitors growth management of Plitvice lakes is suggested, aplicable to other croatian protected areas.
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