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Seasonal Differences in Visitor Perceptions: A Comparative Study of Three Mountainous National Parks in Central Europe

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Author(s): Tomas Gorner | Martin Cihar

Journal: Journal of Environmental Protection
ISSN 2152-2197

Volume: 02;
Issue: 08;
Start page: 1046;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Sustainable tourism | National parks | Mountain regions | Seasonal differences | Monitoring

ABSTRACT
This paper compares the views and attitudes of visitors to three key mountain national parks and Biosphere Reserves: Sumava National Park (Sumava NP, Czech Republic), Krkonose National Park (KRNAP, Czech Republic) and Karkonoski Park Narodowy (KPN, Poland). A large numbers of people visit these destinations both in the summer (e.g. hikers and cyclists) and in the winter (e.g. hikers and skiers), which threatens sustainability and creates problems regarding the management of these areas. A comprehensive understanding of visitor use, including visitors’ attitudes and perceptions, is fundamental for effective park management. Most research in these national parks is carried out during the summer season, therefore different results in the winter season are expected. Using a standardised socio-environmental survey we attempt to find seasonal differences between visitors and their opinions. A total of 2252 questionnaires were gathered. There were 13 common questions for these three national parks, three of them yielded significantly different results between the two seasons (visitors’ nationality, type of accommodation and financial costs). Other differences were detected in one or two national parks.
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