Application of a model for the evaluation of the “Visitor Satisfaction” in a nature reserve of South Italy

https://doi.org/10.17221/104/2016-JFSCitation:Di Franco C.P., Borsellino V., La Sala L., Schimmenti E. (2017): Application of a model for the evaluation of the “Visitor Satisfaction” in a nature reserve of South Italy. J. For. Sci., 63: 206-218.
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The protected natural area represents an important resource because from it sustainable and long-lasting social and economic development processes can start. In fact, the conservation of biodiversity can help create economic values by using natural capital which, if properly valorised, can help the momentum of local sustainable development and create diffuse welfare in terms of employment and income. To such a purpose, the evaluation both of the demand by those who enjoy the services of a protected area and of the level of satisfaction that visitors draw from their experience becomes a priority.
The present study aims at investigating the behaviour and the preferences of the visitors to a protected natural area by means of the application of a “Visitor Satisfaction” model, in order to provide the managing institution and the local stakeholders with a method for the evaluation of the services offered, and in particular those services that directly concern the recreational function. The model has been implemented in the Riserva Naturale Orientata “Foce del Fiume Belice e dune limitrofe”, which is part of the provinces of Agrigento and Trapani in the Region of Sicilia (Sicily, South Italy). Our hope is that it can be extended to other protected areas.
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