Environmental concerns

Governments and the public at large are displaying more concern for conservation, heritage and wider environmental issues. It may be easier to manage areas where excessive visitor demand endangers the landscape due to wear and tear, overloads sewage facilities or causes pollution from motor vehicles. People may also be more willing to be managed or even prevented from visiting areas that are fragile or damaged if the reasons are explained to them.

The demand for specific forms of recreation may increase, such as nature watching where rare species have captured the imagination of people through publicity or special projects. Another facet may be the use of sustainable materials in the design of facilities and artefacts, for instance types of timber from renewable resources, rather than products made from finite resources or which depend on fossil fuel.

It is worth finding out the pattern of demand for a particular destination, how it has changed in the past, and how it may change in the future. Areas that are within easy reach of large cities or centres of population may be the main local places to visit for day trips by certain groups in the population. A study of the demography of the area, the range of socio-economic classes, and the number and variety of special-interest groups, can be carried out by specialist agencies who prepare such reports on behalf of people or firms who market all sorts of different products.

A location further afield may be more likely to attract tourists who want to spend more time there, perhaps overnight or for several days. Therefore the market may already be determined, by catering for those who can afford transport to get there and by the possibilities offered by the landscape setting.

There is also a link between what people know is possible and the demand that is realized for it. Information to raise awareness of the opportunities available is essential, and will have an important effect on converting potential into actual demand. This may be counter-productive if the actual demand becomes too great for the site to cope with.