Situated at the interface of nature conservation and tourism, this
project explores the potential of protected areas to contribute to
regional economic development in structurally laggard regions.
Unlike in countries like the US, the potential of marketing
protected areas as tourist brands and turning them into powerhouses
for regional development in rural areas has remained largely
untapped in Germany. For the most part, concerns over potential
disturbances created through tourist activity do not hold: it is
only in very few cases that tourism constitutes a serious threat to
biodiversity and the preservation of the habitats of rare species
and appropriate management of tourist activity is usually able to
coordinate competing interests on land use.
Beyond ecological factors, it is frequently the sceptical attitude of the local population and the lack of cooperation between tourism organizations, businesses and the park management which impede an enhanced presentation of the recreational values of protected areas. In this situation, economic arguments are often employed to bolster up the position of the management authorities of protected areas and invalidate claims that protected areas retard economic development by deliberately taking productive agricultural, forest or grazing lands out of use. What is more, the demonstrated economic value of protected areas, also vis-à-vis alternative uses, can leverage acceptance by the local population.
In our project we aim to quantify the regional economic effects of Bavarian Forest National Park, the oldest of the German national parks. Collection of primary data is a highly time-consuming component of the project and covers the two main revenue streams associated with the national park: visitor expenditure and park-specific subsidies by the state government, such as annual budgets or one-off payments for specific larger projects. In determining visitor expenditure we additionally try to distinguish between genuine national park visitors, coming specifically to see the national park, and casual national park visitors, whose visit was not motivated by the presence of the national park.
Overall expenditure is then broken down into different categories and adjusted by regional multipliers which calculate the regional income captured in every category. In the absence of a regional input-output model, we build regional multipliers through interviews with local businesses. In a final step, we consolidate total annual expenditure and annual regional income captured. Using full-time job equivalents as an easily intelligible measurement, we are able to specify the contribution of Bavarian Forest National Park to employment in the regional labour market.
tourism, regional economic impact, regional economics, conservation, protected areas
|type||applied research project|
|start of project||2007|
|end of project||2008|
tourism, regional economic impact, regional economics, conservation,
survey, value-added analysis, regional economics