Stephen Holland

Abstracts

2 Visitor's Perception toward Boating in Silver River, Florida

Authors: Hoda Manafian, Stephen Holland

Abstract:

Silver Springs are one of Florida's first tourist attractions. They are one of the largest artesian spring formations in the world, producing nearly 550 million gallons of crystal-clear water daily that is one of the most popular sites for water-based leisure activities. As part of managing the use of a state park, the state is interested in establishing a baseline count of number of boating users to compare this to the quality of the natural resources and environment in the park. Understanding the status of the environmental resources and also the human recreational experience is the main objective of the project. Two main goals of current study are 1) to identify the distribution of different types of watercrafts (kayak, canoe, motor boat, Jet Ski, paddleboard and pontoon). 2) To document the level of real crowdedness in the river during different seasons, months, and hours of each day based on the reliable information gained from camera versus self-reported method by tourists themselves in the past studies (the innovative achievement of this study). In line with these objectives, on-site surveys and also boat counting using a time-lapse camera at the Riverside launch was done during 12 months of 2015. 700 on-site surveys were conducted at three watercraft boat ramp sites (Rays Wayside, Riverside launch area, Ft. King Waterway) of recreational users. We used Virtualdub and ImageJ software for counting boats for meeting the first and second goals, since this two software can report even the hour of presence of watercraft in the water in addition to the number of users and the type of watercraft. The most crowded hours were between 9-11AM from February to May and kayak was the most popular watercraft. The findings of this research can make a good foundation for better management in this state park in future.

Keywords: Eco-Tourism, Florida state, visitors' perception, water-based recreation

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1 Sustainable Strategies for Managing Rural Tourism in Abyaneh Village, Isfahan

Authors: Hoda Manafian, Stephen Holland

Abstract:

Problem statement: Rural areas in Iran are one of the most popular tourism destinations. Abyaneh Village is one of them with a long history behind it (more than 1500 years) which is a national heritage site and also is nominated as a world heritage site in UNESCO tentative list from 2007. There is a considerable foundation of religious-cultural heritage and also agricultural history and activities. However, this heritage site suffers from mass tourism which is beyond its social and physical carrying capacity, since the annual number of tourists exceed 500,000. While there are four adjacent villages around Abyaneh which can benefit from advantages of tourism. Local managers also can at the same time prorate the tourists’ flux of Abyaneh on those other villages especially in high-season. The other villages have some cultural and natural tourism attractions as well. Goal: The main goal of this study is to identify a feasible development strategy according to the current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of rural tourism in this area (Abyaneh Village and four adjacent villages). This development strategy can lead to sustainable management of these destinations. Method: To this end, we used SWOT analysis as a well-established tool for conducting a situational analysis to define a sustainable development strategy. The procedures included following steps: 1) Extracting variables of SWOT chart based on interviewing tourism experts (n=13), local elites (n=17) and personal observations of researcher. 2) Ranking the extracted variables from 1-5 by 13 tourism experts in Isfahan Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHTO). 3) Assigning weights to the ranked variables using Expert Choice Software and the method of Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP). 4) Defining the Total Weighted Score (TWS) for each part of SWOT chart. 5) Identifying the strategic position according to the TWS 6) Selecting the best development strategy based on the defined position using the Strategic Position and Action Evaluation (SPACE) matrix. 7) Assessing the Probability of Strategic Success (PSS) for the preferred strategy using relevant formulas. 8) Defining two feasible alternatives for sustainable development. Results and recommendations: Cultural heritage attractions were first-ranked variable in strength chart and also lack of sufficient amenities for one-day tourists (catering, restrooms, parking, and accommodation) was firs-ranked weakness. The strategic position was in ST (Strength-Threat) quadrant which is a maxi-mini position. According this position we would suggest ‘Competitive Strategy’ as a development strategy which means relying on strengths in order to neutralization threats. The result of Probability of Strategic Success assessment which was 0.6 shows that this strategy could be successful. The preferred approach for competitive strategy could be rebranding the market of tourism in this area. Rebranding the market can be achieved by two main alternatives which are based on the current strengths and threats: 1) Defining a ‘Heritage Corridor’ from first adjacent village to Abyaneh as a final destination. 2) Focus on ‘educational tourism’ versus mass tourism and also green tourism by developing agritourism in that corridor.

Keywords: Rural tourism, SWOT analysis, Abyaneh village, sustainable strategies

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