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Tourism Modelling

The development of tourism models is a recent phenomenon. The aims of such models are prediction, with the ability to predict depending on the quality of both the model and the data used to make the predictions. Tourism models with the capacity to predict or evaluate particular actions or events gives park and tourism managers a useful management tool to test management scenarios.Read more

The development of tourism models is a recent phenomenon. The aims of such models are prediction, with the ability to predict depending on the quality of both the model and the data used to make the predictions. Tourism models with the capacity to predict or evaluate particular actions or events gives park and tourism managers a useful management tool to test management scenarios. The Ningaloo Destination Model is a scenario-planning tool for assessing the social, environmental and economic impacts of tourism planning strategies to assist tourism planning in a region reliant on its unique natural attractions (Visit http://cstc.curtin.edu.au/ningaloo/ningaloo.swf to view the interactive application of the model).

Protected areas are often established on the basis of a few key sites possessing exceptional biological and/or physical attributes. These sites tend to become the focus of visitor activities, with the natural and built features around them serving to funnel visitors to these special areas within parks. As a result, visitors are not evenly spread throughout a protected area.

Within a protected area, there is typically very little information available on which sites receive the highest visitor numbers and why. A preliminary predictive model of the spatial distribution of visitors within a protected area, the Tourism Pressure Index, has been developed. Its aim is to develop a user-friendly model for assessing the relative importance of numerous sites within a protected area. Ultimately, the model should provide protected area managers with a standardised, semi-quantitative basis for decision making with respect to the management of their visitors.

Modelling has also been done to predict the different impacts of different visitor numbers and patterns of use. The best known is the Recreation Behaviour Simulator (RBSim), applied in Australia by Parks Victoria and affiliated researchers. RBSim simulates the behaviour of visitors in a high use park (in Victoria it was applied to Port Campbell National Park and the Bay of Islands Coastal Park). It allows managers to explore different management options, such as increasing visitor numbers, providing new facilities and then determining the impacts on the natural environment and other visitors.

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