Chapter 16: The Management of Visitors

Question 1: Under what circumstances might closure of a popular tourist site be an acceptable visitor management strategy?

Answer Guide: Closure is one means of ‘hard visitor management’ and is perhaps one of the most extreme. While closure may not be ideal, it may be necessary to protect the site. It may be acceptable if visitors are advised of the closure in advance and therefore not surprised by this.

The extent of the closure may also be an influential factor – for instance, closing a wilderness area at certain times of the year to protect animal breeding patterns may be seen as acceptable. Closing at certain times of day for visitor safety may also be seen as acceptable. Temporary closure when the site is overcrowded may be seen as a necessary way of managing safety (and the visitor experience), but the unpredictability of this may be seen as less acceptable (with timed entry ticketing perhaps managing demand more acceptably).

Question 2: What are the visitor management benefits of providing a human tour guide instead of an audio tour guide?

Answer Guide: A human tour guide can ensure the safety of the visitor as they are guided, ensuring that any distractions occurring as sights are viewed are not placing the tourist in danger. Such guides can also ensure the pace at which tourists move through an attraction is controlled, thus avoiding congestion or bottlenecks. They can also control visitor behaviour, thus limiting the damage caused by tourists.

Question 3: Does visitor management enhance or detract from the tourist experience?

Answer Guide: Well-planned visitor management can enhance the tourist experience. It can help to educate, reduce negative behaviours of other tourist, control congestion and can provide funding for the protection and preservation of the attraction.