Keywords: carrying capacity, Lake Kerkini, protected areas, sustainable tourism, sustainability indicators, tourism development, Greece, stakeholder involvement, national parks, nature reserves
Measuring the sustainability of tourism development in protected areas: an indicator–based approach
The monitoring of an appropriate indicator set may provide useful directions and guidelines in order to assure a harmonious co–existence of tourism activities and ecological processes in protected areas. However, when developing a synthetic indicator there is always a balance to be struck between ease/cost of measurement and policy significance. The present paper attempts to simplify the measurement of tourism sustainability by proposing a two–step approach for developing a set of sustainable indicators under data limitations and financial constraints. An initial set of indicators is created through literature review and implementation of good practices in the selection process. The final set of indicators is specified based on stakeholders' involvement and multi–criteria analysis. The empirical application of this method was actually focused on tourism sustainability in the national park of Lake Kerkini (Serres, Greece). Nevertheless, the proposed approach can also be effectively applied in any protected area, park or nature reserve.