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Original scientific paper

https://doi.org/10.15177/seefor.22-06

Exploring Tourist Preferences on the Visitor Management System: the Case Study of Plitvice Lakes National Park

Carlotta Sergiacomi ; University of Florence, Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry, p.le delle Cascine 18, I-50144 Florence, Italy
Dijana Vuletić ; Croatian Forest Research Institute, Division for International Scientific Cooperation in Southeast Europe, Cvjetno naselje 41, HR-10450 Jastrebarsko, Croatia
Alessandro Paletto ; Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Research Center for Forestry and Wood, p.zza Nicolini 6, I-38123 Trento, Italy
Claudio Fagarazzi ; University of Florence, Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry, p.le delle Cascine 18, I-50144 Florence, Italy


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Abstract

This study aims to develop an online survey on the tourist perception of the visitor management system of the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. As tourists are particularly sensitive to organisational issues related to the Park management, a bottom-up approach based on visitors’ opinions has been applied. First of all, a brief chronology has been reconstructed that retraces the most significant stages of the Park. Subsequently, an online questionnaire was structured on the basis of the current Park Management Plan with a focus on the macro-topics concerning the visitor management system. The survey was distributed using the Google Form application. A total of 214 questionnaires were collected in the period between May and July 2022. The sample was statistically analysed to detect the main habits of the Park users. The Mann-Whitney-Wilcox U test and the Kruskal-Wallis test were applied to identify the differences in the priorities attributed by visitors to the various management actions. Among the main findings of the research, the authors identified that national visitors (i.e. Croatian) place a higher priority on the implementation of services and infrastructure than tourists from other countries. In addition, those who have visited the Park on multiple occasions have higher safety expectations than those who have only visited the Park once. This category of visitors also considers it more important to take into account the opinions of visitors. Furthermore, with regard to retail and souvenir shops, tourists are generally inclined to set a lower priority for intervention than that attributed to other management aspects. The results of this study can be of great value to Park managers, who should consider visitors as key stakeholders in the decision-making process that is the foundation for managing this important natural resource.

Keywords

visitor perception; tourist satisfaction; natural resources management; park management; nature-based tourism; national parks; protected areas

Hrčak ID:

287010

URI

https://hrcak.srce.hr/287010

Publication date:

12.12.2022.

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