PAN Parks Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy,
                    Niek Beunders, Chair for Sustainable
                 Tourism Development, Tourism Department,
                 University of Professional Education, Breda,
                               The Netherlands

This paper was made possible through support provided by United States Agency
for International Development, Bulgaria Mission Program, under the terms of the
Biodiversity Conservation and Economic Growth Project under Task Order
Contract No. LAG-I-00-99-00013-00. It was prepared for this Forum.

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily
reflect the views of the U.S. Agency for International Development, or the views
of the Government of Bulgaria.

Niek Beunders MA, senior lecturer and consultant, Chair for Sustainable Tourism Development,
Tourism Department, University of Professional Education, Breda, The Netherlands.
E mail:

Curriculum Niek Beunders

Niek Beunders is senior lecturer and consultant of the Chair for Sustainable Tourism Development of
NHTV, Breda. He also works as an independent consultant on these issues.
His fields of expertise are: Leisure sciences (trends, consumer behaviour, impacts) and Sustainable
Tourism Development of natural and rural areas.
Mr. Beunders has extensive international experience in:
 the development of text books, educational programmes and training programmes on tourism,
    sustainable tourism development, rural tourism and leisure
 consultancy on strategies for sustainable tourism development of rural and protected areas.

He has been involved as a consultant Sustainable Tourism Development in the PAN Parks Project
since 1998 and is co-author of PAN Parks Principles and Criteria and author of PAN Parks Manual for
Sustainable Tourism Development, practical guidelines for the formulation of a Sustainable Tourism
Development Strategy (STDS) for Protected Areas and their Regions. The first draft of this manual will
be available for internal use only. Publication is expected in 2003.


1. What is PAN Parks?
PAN (Protected Area Network) Parks is a concrete tool to improve nature protection by sustainable
tourism development.

       A European network of wilderness protected areas
       widely recognised as Europe’s elite nature sites
       supported by a reliable trademark for conservation and sustainable tourism based on
        independent verification

2. Why PAN Parks?

2.1. PAN Parks’ solutions for conservation threats
      Lack of standards
      Lack of public and political support
      Lack of institutional or financial resources
      Jurisdictional conflicts
      Uncontrolled activities such as logging and tourism
      Conflicts between park managers and local people

PAN Parks solutions
     Earn a recognised independent certification label
     Gain support through membership in a Network
     Develop widely accepted conservation and visitor management plans
     Develop a sustainable tourism development strategy
     Establish a local Executive PAN Parks Organisation

2.3. Tourism as a tool for conservation & development:
       Carrying capacity sets limits to growth
       Tourism is a tool, not a goal
       Tourism adds economic value to park conservation
       Tourism is managed and planned carefully
       Tourism raises public support for conservation
       Offering new perspectives for development to: local community, stakeholders, GO’ s and
        NGO’ s at all levels and to the tourism industry/green investors
The cornerstone of a Sustainable Tourism Development is Partnership with the region,
Because protected areas have a mutual dependency with their environment.
The success of any strategy depends on stakeholder value.
And, last but not least, uncontrolled tourism development is main threat

2.4. Achieving sound green tourism inside the protected area through visitor management:

       Areas must have a visitor management plan
       This plan safeguards ecological values
       Visitors are offered a wide range of high quality activities in co-operation with communities
       Visitor management must create understanding for conservation goals

2.5. Pan Parks criteria for sustainable tourism development:

Ecological criteria e.g. :
       assessment ecological carrying capacity
       sound planning and legislation
       maximum use of existing infrastructure and buildings
       EIA
       Plans for environmental care & transport

Socio economic criteria e.g.
      Tourism potential assessment
      Social & economic carrying capacity
      Integration with other economic and social sectors
      Maximise local employment (number and level!)
      Community in control
      Development compatible with local scale
      Political and social support

Cultural Criteria e.g.
       assessment of carrying capacity
       inventory of cultural resources (heritage, architecture, landscapes)
       control communities over resources and way of life

2.6. The Formulation of a Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy
Manual gives practical guidelines in 11 steps:
1. Overall Resource Analysis of Region (Would tourism fit?)
2. Assessment of tourism potential
3. Assessment of carrying capacity (ecological, managerial, social, psychological)
4. Stakeholder audit
5. Stakeholders become partners
6. Defining the region
7. SWOT: defining the role of tourism
8. Formulate vision and goals
9. Marketing: creating attractive products and services for our target groups
10. Planning and development of facilities and infrastructure: What & Where?
11. Monitoring and feedback

3. Practical support from the Network for Protected Areas::
       Sponsorship of conservation projects
       Training services
       Marketing and Communications: website, intranet, publications, communications toolkit
       Opportunities for investments, loans and subsidies

4. Certification is based on independent verification

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