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Sustainable Tourism Infrastructure Planning: A GIS-Supported Approach

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This paper presents a conceptual geographical information systems (GIS)-supported sustainable tourism infrastructure planning (STIP) framework including attraction, service and transportation facilities. This framework focuses on tourism planning as an integrated approach based on sustainability criteria. STIP aims to integrate a set of sustainability criteria (i.e. development objectives, visitor experience preferences, carrying capacity standards and resource impacts) into infrastructure planning via GIS. Based on these criteria, STIP provides protected area management insights in the most sustainable locations and layout of future infrastructure. STIP involves three phases: a visitor segmentation (not GIS supported) phase, a zoning phase (GIS supported) and a transportation network planning phase (GIS supported). To demonstrate the integration of these phases, STIP was applied as a trail planning demonstration on data (i.e. social and physical) from the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, a tropical rainforest in Sri Lanka's southwestern wet zone. The area experiences increasing visitor use and requires additional trail development to mitigate resource stress. Nature and cultural tourist opportunity trail networks were mapped based on the sustainability criteria which provide directives for sustainable trail development within the reserve.

Keywords: GIS; Sustainable development; carrying capacities; trail planning; visitor behaviour; visitor opportunities

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Dutch Forest Service, Arnhem, The Netherlands 2: Department of Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism, Colorado State University, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2007

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