National parks in mountain areas are biodiversity hotspots in which implementing the sustainability goals of Agenda 2030 is particularly urgent. Ecotourism provides an opportunity to convey bio-ecological and economic sustainability principles to the public, focusing on nature conservation and a reduction of the negative impacts of tourism. We investigated four national parks in the Apennines, Italy using the insights of hiking guides with park accreditation to assess sustainability issues. Multivariate analyses of questionnaires revealed that most of the interviewed hiking guides across the Apennines were sensitive toward the theme of sustainability. Limiting the ecological footprint of tourism was identified as the main challenge. Interesting feedback on management issues was given by hiking guides, indicating innovations such as food, waste-disposal management, accommodation, and transport as critical areas with the potential to impact sustainable development. Certification schemes were also recognized as an important tool with which to encourage ecologically responsible tourism. Hiking guides themselves revealed an interest in improving national parks’ scientific communication and the provision of lifelong learning initiatives regarding old-growth forests and nature conservation. Overall, the research highlights the key role of hiking guides as an effective means of conveying conservation messaging to ecotourists, while also encouraging sustainable development and the adoption of agro-environmental measures on the part of local communities. Hiking guides could, therefore, contribute toward both improving cultural awareness of conservation issues and encouraging local, low-impact economic practices.
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|Titolo:||Towards the development of sustainable ecotourism in Italian National Parks of the Apennines: Insights from hiking guides|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2020|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|