Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 8

Mladenka Popadi, Assistant1

Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Croatia


mpopadic@fthm.hr
Nataa Kovai, Assistant
Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Croatia
natasa.kovacic@fthm.hr

CROATIAN TOURISM STRATEGY AND WILDLIFE TOURISM


Abstract
The development and promotion of the awareness about nature, preservation of nature and the
human connection with it, has resulted in strengthening the links between the environment
and tourism. The paper discusses the possibilities of wildlife resource valorization trough
tourism sector and illustrates its transformation to tourist attraction and resource. In Croatia
wildlife tourism (WT) does not exist as a tourist product. Animals exist as a part of the offer,
but they are not an independent attraction. Wild animals are a part of the tourist offer in Zoos
and there is also the possibility of observing wild animals (wolves, birds) in the various tour
operators offers (partially different tour operators tourist agencies deal with it). Many
countries manage networks of natural areas where wildlife is protected by law, but that allow
and promote their observation by tourists. Croatia is following this example when it comes to
protecting the animals, but there is no clear conception when it comes to the relation towards
wildlife tourism on an institutional level.
The research sought to examine the possibilities of wildlife tourism on the Croatian territory.
The basic assumption is defined as the reversibility of the impact on the environment. The
research proposes a model of acceptance (SWEM), presented as a graphical imagery. Great
attention needs to be paid to developing effective management strategies that are based on
knowledge and the precautionary principle. The inputs which are necessary for the making of
the model will not be specially defined in this paper. Instead the authors propose a theoretical
operational strategies as the source of data.

Key words: Wildlife tourism, Croatia, SWEM model, tourism strategy, sustainable development

1. Introduction
1

Corresponding author. Tel.: +385 51 294 707. Primorska 42, P.O. Box 97, 51410 Opatija, Croatia.

While mass tourism is spreading fast worldwide, having the tendency of further growth, the
interaction between space and tourism is acquiring undesirable flows. The use of space as a
basic tourist resource in the frame of sustainable economy development as well as the
protection of space and environment is gaining more and more importance (Kuen, 2001).
Croatia is a country that follows trends. Animals have gained a special meaning in the last
decade, not just for the production of food and raw materials but also for the tourist
assessment of some area. In Croatia the non-consumptive side of human relations with
wildlife is only in it's beginnings while in some countries it is becoming a crucial element of
the tourist offers, especially as an attraction and a primary resource.
Consideration of the attractiveness of the animal world or fauna of a destination has to be
based on the emotional and rational relationship of the individual towards animals. According
to Kuan (2002), the relationship to this world can be divided into several groups: innate
sense of comfort or discomfort, passion for hunting or gathering, pleasure of breeding,
enjoying of special kinds of food, joining of historical significance development of
environmental awareness and exotic species.
This paper defines wildlife tourism and outlines possible economic and environmental
benefits from developing wildlife-based tourism. It identifies possible economic benefits on
one side and its influence on the environment on the other side. The paper will not analyze the
tourists who are interested in wildlife tourism. Therefore, this paper will discuss how wildlife
tourism can be considered as a potential instrument for sustainable development in Croatia.
2. Definition of the WT
Tourism is not just achieved in destinations where people travel because of the sun and sea
but because it is intensively expanding in every corner of the world where there are natural
resources, unspoiled nature, rare and/or endangered plants and animal species. Pani Kombol
(2008) is speaking about alternative tourism as of a new approach to thinking, caring and
thinking about the problems of tourism. According to the recent research this kind of tourism
is expanding three times faster than conventional mass tourism and it is expected that their
share in the European tourism market will be 20 percent in the next 20 years.
Wildlife tourism is an important tourist activity and it has a fast-growing popularity.
Newsome et al. (2005) says that the wildlife tourism refers to travelling whose main focus is
observing animals in their natural habitat and environment and it can be regarded from two
aspects that can also overlap. First, the consuming one which is based on tangible activities
(hunting and fishing) and the second, non-consuming aspect that is based on the experience
and perception (observation of animals).
3. Impacts on wildlife
Wildlife tourism has become a potentially lucrative activity. In the past three decades wildlife
tourism is attracting more and more the attention of tourists and as destinations. Croatia is not
an exception, especially because of its biodiversity. On the other hand, the impacts are both
positive and negative for the wildlife. The positive impacts include (Ballantyne, et.al. 2010)
the providing of income for the ongoing protection and sustainable management of wildlife
and wildlife habitat. The positive effects are the economic benefits for local communities,
protection of endangered animal species.

Wildlife tourism can also have negative effects on the resource on which it depends - animals.
The main reasons why the mammals are being endangered is the destruction and
fragmentation of the habitat, fragmentation of the population, decline of the habitat quality.
For example, Reynolds (2001) suggests several causes of impacts on wildlife by recreational
and tourism activities. Starting from the most extreme ones: harvest/death, clearing of habitat
(it deals with complete or near complete removal of the native ecosystem), pollution, animal
emigration, reduced animal production and reproduction (if tourism activities decrease the
feeding due to disturbance from perceived danger of the animal conditions is likely to
deteriorate), habituation.
Reynolds and Braithwaite (2001) also discuss the ways to control tourist interaction with
wildlife. They emphasize three types of strategic methods: physical and regulatory methods,
economic strategies and educational strategies. These strategies try to control the number of
tourist. The Croatian example for negative impacts associated with birdwatching. Tourist
boats regularly visit the cliffs of the islands where the griffon vultures are nesting (they are
endangered and protected by law), and they horn and make noise in order to see them. The
young vultures are terrified by the noise and because they are still inexperienced when it
comes to flying, they fall into the sea and after their feather soaks they drown. Although the
tourists do not have bad intentions, their interference can seriously harm the animals and
therefore it is necessary to ensure professional help so that the interference can be reduced to
the minimum. Understanding the animals in their wild surrounding and educating the tourists
is the best way for the prevention of negative interference.
4. WT development strategy
The strategy of sustainable tourism in Croatia is created in order to increase the economic
benefits which the state is receiving from tourism and at the same time to work on the
preservation and sustainable development principles (National initiatives for the
implementation of the strategy of sustainable tourism development). Croatia seeks to improve
its competitiveness on the global tourism markets. This requires the transition from the
currently dominant low-value mass tourism to offering a high-level quality of the various
tourist product. It is, however not easy to achieve such a major shift. It requires a cohesive
approach, common vision and coordinated action between the public and private sector as
well as within the industry. The model proposes how this can be achieved when it comes to
wildlife tourism.

Fig.1. Diagram Wildlife tourism.

In order to examine how to make WT possible while minimising the effect on the animals and
habitat, it is important to examine current tourism development. Based on current state of
development, new ideas can be developed. It also suggest that preliminary research lead to
sustainable wildlife tourism and ultimately serve the interests of conservation, as illustrated in
Fig.1.

Operationalisation and synergic effects of operational strategies have to be implemented in the


innovation of the sustainable development policy (Stipanovi, 2006). These operational
strategies are: marketing strategy, R&D strategy, offer strategy, financial and human resources
strategy. Those are inputs that help to define the economic benefit for the sustainable wildlife
eligibility model. Anyone who would want to engage in any WT project has to conduct
research on: (i) the impact on the environment and animals based on the impacts on the, (ii)
financial benefit analysis based on operational strategies.
It is vital for the ecological and economic wildlife tourism sustainability that wildlife
populations, resources on which the tourism businesses depend on are not damaged, and it is
desirable that their conservation or welfare is enhanced (Higginbottom, 2004). The R&D
strategy is very important. The research of the WT product needs to be continuously
implemented and adjusted to the destination.
Marketing strategy: according to the concept of marketing, target markets and effective
transfers of desired satisfaction are becoming the key. Croatia is a destination that needs to
move away from the "sun and sea" concept and change as well as diversify its offer
specialisation. It should use the "biodiversity position", but not affect its balance. WT fulfils
all the requirements for this. Wildlife-based tourism is something that Croatia needs to
experience.
Croatia has become aware of its natural resources in the last decade and thus become an
attractive destination. Because of this, various tour operators understand the importance of
this tourism segment. Should such a valuable resource be randomly organized on the initiative
of a private entrepreneur? A high risk/threat occurs that a growing number of similar offers (in
the absence of control mechanisms that regulate the process) will inevitably cause a conflict
with the environment. The conflict cannot be avoided, it should however get adjusted,
reduced and brought into balance.
Depending on the area/region in Croatia it is necessary to adjust the product (for example the
animal watching in Lika/Gorski Kotar where the mountain area is specific as opposed to
observing/ listening to and monitoring birds in Kopaki Rit, Mlaka...). Croatia is regionally
biologically diverse. However the same approach should be present in all the areas preservation of the nature.
It is necessary to plan the production/supply. As this is a "new project" from the concept
strategy of production/ or offer with respect to the production range we can only speak about
the development of new products/services. The development of new products is according to
Stipanovi (2006) based on research results and development, which tries to remove the
shortcomings of earlier products, to be more successful on the market, achieve greater
customer satisfaction and better business results. It can be concluded that the potential
"products" need to be compared, analyzed and tried to improved relating to the existing WT
projects.

5. SUSTAINABLE WILDLIFE TOURISM ELIGIBILITY MODEL (SWEM)

We present an eligibility model depending on the economic benefit on one side and its
influence on the environment on the other side (Fig.2). The model classifies four different
dimensions, two of which are not acceptable, one completely acceptable and one being
acceptable under certain conditions.
The model shows fragility of the wildlife tourism and the necessity for careful analysis before
deciding about its implementation. The model shows that there are a lot of aspects that can
benefit from tourism which will be based on wildlife or some of its segments, the local
community, nature protectors as well as the tourism industry. It is extremely important to
inform all the interested parties about the relations of partnerships so they can find a way in
order to enable wildlife tourism and produce new forms of tourism. The use of the model as a
tool for managing wildlife tourism is discussed in the paper.
When mentioning the popularity of wildlife tourism, there is a particularly sensitive subject. It
is about the survival of animals and their environment (habitat). The authors graphically
define the "points" of the best and worst case scenarios, and the different scenarios between
the endpoints. These points can be seen exclusively through the theoretical abstract case, so
that they can be ranked to determine if it is acceptable to organize this type of tourism in some
areas or not.

Fig.2. Sustainable Wildlife Tourism Eligibility Model (SWEM).

The key issues of the sustainable wildlife tourism eligibility model are the Effects on wildlife,
and the Profitability (Economic benefit). The figure provides a framework in which the
authors suggest the Point of reversibility. The Prague of reversibility defines the areas where it
is acceptable to organize this type of wildlife tourist product on a particular protected area,
and in which areas it should not be allowed, regardless of the financial effect.
The effect on wildlife is a defined dimension going from left to right, so that the
environmental impact point of view in the specified direction is increasingly reduced (the

more it is to the right, the more it reduces). The leftmost point represents the maximum
impact on the environment (extremely negative). The rightmost point represents a point of
minimal environmental impact (no impact). This is the point to which the model strives to.
Every project which is supposed to be based on that should make sure that the model which is
being implemented goes more to the right. All preparatory work necessary for the
implementation of the model must try to reduce the effect on the environment to the minimum
(right part of the model).
On the other side, the second dimension profitability (Economic benefit) is the measure of
the financial turnover of the project, going from its minimum up to the maximum on the
highest point of the Model.
5.1. Explanation of the Model
The Eligibility Model defines 4 different group ratios between environmental impact and
profitability of the project (I, II, III, and IV). The AD length (point of reversibility) placed
across the model defines the point from which the project can or does not have to be
implemented. Looking on the left of the AD length any impact on the environment is
absolutely unacceptable. The main reason is that at this level of the consequences impact the
nature of things is that they are irreversible (areas I & II). On the other end (right from the AD
line) the impact on the environment allows reversibility, and as such it is defined as
acceptable, but under conditions which will be explained in the text to come.
5.2. Space I
Space I, bounded by points E, F and G is the space of maximum impact on the habitat and
population (environment), and as such it is defined as a space of absolute irreversibility of
nature. Any action regarding this area must be stopped even in an early stage of the project.
This space is characterized with a short period from the first impact until total irreversibility
of the habitat (this is very sensitive since minimal and short impacts cause permanent and
incalculable consequences on the environment). Although this area represents great danger, or
its possible consequences, it is because of the very obvious catastrophic effects, and if there is
no deliberate negative action, every signal it shows must be enough to stop the activity in the
region.
5.3. Space II
Space II is bounded with points A, D, E and G. As it is evident from the scheme, it is the
largest space. The characteristic of this area associated with the implementation of the project
is identical to the space I. If the inputs indicate that their ratio is found within the rhombus,
the implementation of the wildlife tourism should not be launched. Evidently, the question is
why do we need to distinguish these two areas? As it is obvious, the size of the rhomb
presumes that most ratios will be found precisely in this "gray" zone. Although the zone itself
is defined as one in which the implementation of wildlife tourism is not allowed, every result
found in this space must be subject to additional controls or reviews. The EG length presents
the boundary with the zone of absolute prohibition, and the left of the AD with the zone in
which the implementation is acceptable. Changing the values of inputs that can result from
changes in external factors or from identifying errors in the initial study could provide
"transition" from a zone with not implementation into a implementation zone. In these cases

the possibility of errors is probable. Taking the already discussed into consideration, this can
result in unpredictable consequences.
5.4. Space III
Space III is bounded by points A, D and C. It is the space in which it is possible to realize a
Wildlife tourism project. The possible impact that the project will have on the habitat and
animal population is defined as a reversible process. Although this space is defined as one in
which environmental impacts are likely to happen, this can be neutralized with funding. What
characterizes ratios between economic benefits and environmental impacts in this area is the
fact that the funds obtained by taxing the activities will not be sufficient to neutralize
environmental impact created by the project. As a possible solution the authors suggests
subsidy funds. The authors will not go into the source of subsidies, but it can be presumed that
these must be state or local government founds. As an example, we will take the point y on
the graph which represents the ratio of economic benefits and environmental impacts. The
impact on the environment is defined with the label X, while economic benefits in the same
ratio are labelled z. In order for this project to be acceptable from the standpoint of
environmental impact, the minimum economic benefit required is labelled with z' on the
Economic benefit line. It is precisely the difference between the points z & z' that shows the
amount of the subsidized funds in the effect X.
5.5. Space IV
Represents a triangle bounded by points A, B and C. It can also be called best case scenario.
This is an area for which we ascribe ratios of Economic benefits and Effect on wildlife, which
indicate the possibility of maintaining a self-sustainable wildlife tourism. At each point of the
mentioned area, impact on animals and their habitat has a characteristic that is absolutely
reversible, and the economic effects are of such nature that they allow self-financing from the
income generated by tourism activity, without the need for subsidies.
6. Conclusion
Regardless of the attractiveness of the wildlife tourism, the environmental sustainability of
WT projects in Croatia is of crucial importance (the model is applicable regardless of the
country). The project should be given a lot of attention since the resources on which they are
based are very fragile. The model observes the animal world and its habitat from the point of
unchangeability. The reversibility of the habitat from possible disorders is the priority and
condition no. 1. Only after satisfying this requirement it is possible to consider this project
further. Achieving the primary requirement does not meet all the criteria which are necessary
for the realization of the project. The next pre-requirement is the financial self-sustainability
of the project. In fact, any disturbance in the environment and in the animal world has to be
neutralized by using funds gained from the project along with the already mentioned
possibility of subsidies.
This paper proposes a general sustainable wildlife tourism model (SWEM). The proposed
model links the two areas, the impact on wildlife and economic benefit. The model portrays if
it is possible to launch an exactly defined self-sustainable project or if the projects are based
on possible subsidies on a specific area.
Further research has left room for defining inputs and values and to scale up the economic
benefit and impacts on environment effects on wildlife. Considerations should be in the

direction of numerical defining inputs so as to determine the maximum number and the
number of classes. The impacts which have been listed in the paper should be standardized in
further studies and/or quantified. Specifically, a benchmark of each impact is proposed as well
as the definition of the mathematical calculation so that a scoring scale of the total impact is
visible. This requires the determination of the percentage importance of each of the analyzed
habitat effects. Taking the diversity of habitats into consideration, the assumption is that it will
be necessary to develop more mathematical models. As this is about a non-economic
mathematical model, the involvement of researchers from different fields of science is
suggested. A multi-disciplinary approach is needed.
Also, if we strive toward sustainable tourism its necessary to encourage projects in space IV.
Range and effectiveness of different methods can include a differential taxation system and
educational strategies.
References
Ballantyne, R., et al., Visitors' learning for environmental sustainability: Testing short- and,
Tourism Management (2010), doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2010.11.003
Burns, G. L., & Howard, P. (2003). When wildlife tourism goes wrong: a case study of
stakeholder and management issues regarding Dingoes on Fraser Island Australia.
Tourism Management, 24, 699-712.
Higginbottom, K. (2004). Wildlife tourism: Impacts, management and planning. Gold Coast.
Common Ground Publishing. CRC for Sustainable Tourism.
Kuenzi, C. & McNeely, J. (2008). Nature- based Tourism. Dordrecht: Springer.
Kuen, E. (2001). Turizam i prostor: Klasifikacija turistikih atrakcija. Prostor, (21), 1-12.
Moore, S. A., & Rodger, K. (2010) Wildlife tourism as a common pool resource issue:
enabling conditions for sustainability governance. Journal of Sustainable Tourism,
Vol. 18, No 7, 831-844.
Newsome, D. et al. (2005). Wildlife tourism. Clevedon: Channel View Publications.
Orams, M. B. (2002). Feeding wildlife as a tourism attraction: a review of issues and impacts.
Tourism Management, 23, 281-293.
Pani Kombol, T. (2000). Selektivni turizam- Uvod u menadment prirodnih i kulturnih
resursa. Matulji: TMCP Sagena.
Radovi, J. (1999). Pregled stanja bioloke i krajobrazne raznolikosti Hrvatske sa strategijom
i akcijskim planovima zatite, Zagreb: Dravna uprava za zatitu prirode i okolia
Reynolds, P. C., & Braithwaite, D. (2001). Towards a conceptual framework for wildlife
tourism. Tourism Management, 22, 31-42.
Shackley, M. (1996). Wildlife tourism. London: International Thomson Business Press.
Stipanovi, C. (2006). Koncepcija i strategija razvoja u turizmu- Sustav i poslovna politika.
Opatija: Fakultet za turistiki i hotelski menadment.
Tapper, R. (2006). Wildlife watching and tourism: a study on the benefits and risks of a fast
growing tourism activity and its impacts on species. Bonn: United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP).
The Croatia Tourism Cluster. (2003). Competitiveness Strategy: Croatian Tourism Industry.
http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNADD983.pdf. Accessed 21.03.11.
Tisdell, C. (2003). Economic Aspects of Ecotourism: Wildlife-based Tourism and Its
Contribution to Nature. Sri Lankan Journal of Agricultural Economics. Vol. 5, No.1