Protected area managers, tourism providers, and other organisations commonly employ education programmes to address visitation-related impairment of natural and cultural resources, social conditions, and neighbouring communities. These programmes have different names (Leave No Trace, Codes of Conduct, Environmental Guidelines for Tourists) but share common objectives: to sustain opportunities for high quality visitor experiences while avoiding or minimising associated negative impacts to protected area resources, visitor experiences, and park neighbours. Theoretical and empirical research studies in the United States are reviewed to evaluate the efficacy of educational efforts that seek to encourage adoption of low impact behaviours. Findings reveal that most of the visitor education efforts evaluated did effectively alter visitor knowledge, behaviour and/or resource and social conditions in the intended direction. These findings, including discussions of message content, delivery, audience characteristics and theoretical grounding, provide insights for improving the efficacy of future educational efforts.
Additional publication details
Minimising visitor impacts to protected areas: The efficacy of low impact education programmes