A dramatic expansion in nature-based tourism to tropical coastal destinations has occurred in the past 20 years. Tourism development, combined with intense recreational pressures, has irreversibly transformed and degraded many popular scenic natural environments. This paper examines the management of recreational impacts to coral reefs using Virgin Islands National Park as a case study. A review of terrestrial recreational ecology research explores the implications and potential applicability of some principal findings to the protection of coral reefs. Visitor impact management recommendations for the protection of coral reefs are offered. Managers can minimize coral reef recreational impacts by (1) restricting high-impact uses, (2) containing rather than dispersing recreational use, (3) encouraging the use of resistant environments, (4) teaching low-impact recreational practices, and (5) enforcing park rules and regulations.
Additional publication details
The applicability of terrestrial visitor impact management strategies to the protection of coral reefs