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Tourism Demand Analysis of the Federal Protected Areas of Brazil

Thiago do Val Simardi Beraldo Souza, Brijesh Thapa

Abstract


The purpose of this paper was to estimate the visitation potential within the Brazilian Federal system of Protected Areas, based on an expanded Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) framework (physical, social, and managerial attributes). In addition, this paper seeks to develop a series of models to estimate the number of visitors based on classes of recreational use. Data were collected from different sources: (1) primary data were collected online, surveying managers of 71 National Parks and 67 National Forests; (2) data were gathered from secondary sources (a government agency’s (ICMBio) internal management reports and other mediums, such as databases and websites). Selected variables, data collection methods, and analyses were adapted from previous research. The study employed Pearson’s correlation and stepwise linear regression to analyze how indicators from the physical, social, and managerial attributes were related to the number of visitors. Models were created to estimate the potential number of visitors. Results indicated that tourism demand was correlated to physical, social, and managerial attributes (internal and external) accordingly to the expanded ROS model. Besides, while internal characteristics and management objectives were the most important variables, external factors independent of protected areas governance were also influential. Using a conservative approach, analyses indicated that by increasing internal investments in the federal system, there would have been 13.4 million visitors to protected areas in 2015, instead of the observed 8.1 million visitors. This would represent an increase of 62% in recreation opportunities, augmenting revenues for the protected areas agency, and business and employment opportunities for local communities. Overall, results exemplified the relative importance of different protected areas attributes and their need in developing protected areas. In addition, outdoor recreation needs to be planned within a larger context of a touristic destination. Accordingly, outreach initiatives by managers at the local and regional levels are recommended. The findings of this study can assist in developing a more efficient visitor management system in Brazil. This has the potential to increase visitation and revenues, as well as subsequently provide resources to engage in environmental conservation and economic development.

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Keywords


Ecotourism; national forest; national park; outdoor recreation; protected areas; public use; sustainable tourism

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18666/JPRA-2018-V36-I3-8375

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