Agora Network Sustainable Tourism

Planning tools

This section contains brief presentations of a number of specific tools for spatial planning directly relevant to integrating sustainable tourism planning into spatial planning at local and regional level.

Planning tools for integrating and regulating tourism and outdoor recreation have been developed especially in the US by conservation and natural resource agencies. There is a vast literature on the application of planning and management tools. A selection of this is listed in the reference list  compiled for the agora toolbox. The reports from the ETOUR/BTH project discuss the salient aspects of these planning tools. A comprehensive overview of research on planning and management of natur  for recreation and tourism has been published by the Swedish Environment Protection Agency.

Zoning as a planning tool

Various forms of zoning may be a powerful tool in producing a balanced development. Zoning may be used within recreation areas and conservation areas to balance conservation versus exploitation. It may be used to provide a spectrum of recreation and tourism opportunities. It may be used to resolve land use conflicts both between different types of tourism and recreation uses and with other forms of land use. Zoning is discussed extensively in the reporting from the project as it relates to the two cases in the Luleå archipelago and the Blekinge archipelago and with reference to several aspects of using zoning in a coastal and archipelago environment.

The recreation opportunity spectrum, ROS

The Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS)  is a planning framework where zoning is applied to the landscape. The ROS provides zoning and development of recreation experiences where areas are classified and divided after the environmental conditions and the recreational activities. ROS encourages diversity. Since there are other management activities present in the setting where the recreation takes place it is important that the framework made assessment and evaluation of the shared effects between recreation and other activities possible. ROS also initiates guidance to planning in terms of a consumer-oriented paradigm where visitors' preferences are important.

There are opportunities for activities in certain areas which realise people's desired experiences. The ambition is to find a balance between the use and the preservation; a variety of recreation satisfies the need for experiences and directs people to certain areas which protect nature. The idea of ROS is:
- to meet the demands of different environments for 
  recreation reaching between wilderness and affected nature,
- to get easier valuations of effects and consequences
  between recreation and other interests and,
- to put management on a behavioural foundation to make
  the consumers' values more valid.

The Water Recreation Opportunity Spectrum, WROS

An extension of the ROS is the Water Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (WROS), which provides guidance for water resources (for example, coastal zones, lakes, rivers, marine protected areas etc.). Its goal is to provide planners and managers with a framework for conserving a spectrum of quality and diverse water recreation opportunities. According to Aukerman and Haas (2004), the WROS can be applied to any water resource, although it is less practical on very small areas.

Limits of acceptable change, LAC

Limits of Acceptable Change. To resolve conflicts of visitors and environment, the planning framework of Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) ha been widely applied to determine the limits within which a high quality recreation experience can be provided. It grew from efforts in national parks of the US. LAC not only focused on the biological and physical impacts of recreation, but also had the social consequences of increasing use pressure as a focal point. The recreational environment goes through changes, but at some point the quantity or the nature of these changes is intolerable. The LAC identifies appropriate indicators of the environmental conditions and includes some primary elements of procedure:

- Formulation of management objectives that are expressed
  by quantitative indicators and standards of quality.
- Monitoring of indicator variables to determine their condition
  relative to standards of quality.
- Application of management actions to ensure that standards
  of quality are maintained.

The MAB biosphere reserve model

The zoning model used in the MAB biosphere reserves is a simple concentric model with three zones: an outer zone of development and an inner zone of protection or conservation. In between these is a buffer zone.

  Blekinge Tekniska Högskola

    European Tourism Research institute

  EU flag  Baltic sea 
 "Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the BSR INTERREG III B Neighbourhood programme"

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