Sustainable approach in managing tourism practices of Belarusian national parks : Berezinsky Reserve and Belavezhskaya Pushcha cases

University essay from KTH/Industriell ekologi

Author: Anatoli Klimchuk; [2007]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: Part 1. Introduction This chapter outlines the broad field of study and then introduces the research problems addressed within this thesis. It provides a thesis outline and describes the intended audience for the thesis. 1.1. Nature of problem At the global level, recently tourism business has yet considered as one of the largest industries. It produces 5.5% of global GDP and employs 212 million people, and accordingly to the World Resources Institute, tourism overall has shown 4% growth per annum [WTO, 2001]. In 2020 total turnover from international tourism (excl. inside) is projected to reach 2 trillion US dollars, as a result Global Domestic Product by tourism will practically double. Requirements to implement sustainable management for this large industry are becoming important challenges to achieve global development aims for society. Tourism is defined often as a travel with recreational and educational aims. Such traveling has a number of close relations with environment. Transportation and consumption of tourism services is an important aspect of adverse environmental impact, as time progresses, it is assumed that the extent of tourism will grow [WTO, 2007] and become one of the main categories of environmental impacts among anthropogenic environmental pressures. Additionally, tourism has a major impact on local communities in tourist destinations. It can be a significant source of income and employment for local people, yet also pose a threat to an area’s social fabric, natural and cultural heritage, upon which it ultimately depends, however if tourism is well planned and managed it can be a driving force for natural and cultural conservation. Moreover, much tourism has remained a destructive force for natural areas, often in combination with detrimental socioeconomic effects for the communities within which it operates. These factors have led to recognition of the tourism sector’s need to incorporate the principles of sustainable development. Additionally, accordingly with the prognoses made by WTO, CIS and Eastern Europe is considered as the region with the fastest growth rates over the 2000-2020 period for the tourism industry [WTO, 2001]. This is mainly due to the economical growth in these countries and Western Europe, the biggest world consumer of tourism products and services. However, in the region there is a lack of experience of visitor managing due to relatively short time of tourism practices; and problem of the managing tourism is becoming actual and central for these trends. Tourism has, in recent years, received increasing attention as a low-impact, non-consumptive development option, in particular for developing countries. This positive view contrasts with the fact that major parts of the tourist industry have remained harmful to the environment and that some aspects, like the use of energy and its global consequences have virtually been excluded from the discussion on sustainable tourism development [Gössling, 2000] Tourism growth includes a wide range of recreational activities. And it is evidently that the tourism based on protected area is also becoming more popular. The world in the future will provide a wide penetration of technology into all spheres of life. Therefore, it will become possible to live with limited exposure to other people and nature; and in consequence, people will crave the human relations and nature landscapes, so, nature5 based tourism will be the principal means through which they seek to achieve this. Protected areas will play tourist role, as well as a protective role for increasing industrial pressure on the human environment. At the same time, living species are threatened as never before, as the protected areas are exposed to the pressures of unsustainable development. It is mandatory to use the precautionary approach concerned about tourism in protected areas, given the risk of damage and destruction to this unique natural resource. Visitor impact management is ever more important as the number of tourists increases, and their distribution is often concentrated in major tourism destinations in ecologically vulnerable areas Although Belarus legislation has the list of general aims for development tourism in sustainable way and especially in protected area, there is apparently lacking of necessary investigations and management practices in the tourism activity. Mostly all protected area does not have sustainable tourism practices and management procedures. In accordance with the last report made by UNECE in 2005 there is still no one investigations concerned tourism impacts over protected areas in Belarus as well as certification papers that encompass performance indicators for implementation of eco labels in tourism do not still exist. Therefore, the study will add some practical data concerned these aspects and try to make a review on current conditions for effectively tourism developments within study areas and for further investigations. 1.2. Aims, Objectives Literature sources and practical examples indicate that in some cases tourism may provide new alternatives to develop visitor experiences with greater economical incentives and less environmental burden. However, it is unclear which drivers influence Belarusian tourism in protected areas, and what areas should be the focus of future research. Therefore, the aim of this work is to make effort to determine the management systems within the Belarusian national parks (the National Park “Belavezhskaya Pushcha” and the Reserve “Berezinsky), accordingly a sustainable approach with accent on monitoring tourism phase, as a decision making tool for sustainable tourism management and improvement of local conditions. There is a certain range of objectives to achieve the main goal which is listed below: - To identify key principles of the management systems within study areas; - To identify regional and local features of existing management practices; - To find the advantages and disadvantages of current tourism trends within the considered areas; - To explore a system of monitoring related to sustainable perspective;

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