First VIMOMA workshop

5. 10. 2022

The first workshop of the VIMOMA project was helded between 8-9th of September in Cracow. It was organized by Jagiellonian University, Institute of Geography and Spatial Management. All representatives of the consortium partners participated in the meeting (Matej Bel University, Slovakia; Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic; University of Novi Sad, Serbia; Ceeweb for Biodiversity, Hungary and Jagiellonian University, Poland). The representatives of protected areas were also invited and participated in the workshop (Tatra National Park, Pieniny National Park, Mala Fatra National Park, Őrségi National Park, Duna-Ipoly National Park, Sutjeska National Park, Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic and The Moravian Karst House of Nature). The general goal of the I workshop was to train PA managers and raise their awareness on visitor surveying as an essential tool for identifying visitors’ motivations and perceptions of natural and recreational area.

The meeting was officially opened by prof. dr hab. Anita Bokwa, the Head of the Institute of Geography and Spatial Management, JU, who welcomed all participants. Afterwards, Joanna Hibner (Jagiellonian University) and Bernadetta Zawilińska (Economic University in Cracow) presented theoretical background on visitors survey and its importance regarding management of visitors. It was emphasized that the knowledge on visitors’ needs, motivations and behaviour is essential for good communication between tourists and PA managers, as well for proper management of tourism movement. Several research tools were presented during the workshop, related with e.g. motivations, visitors crowding perception, visitors opinions on PA services or ecological awareness. Furthermore Bernadetta Zawilińska showed the methods of conducting survey in study areas (e.g. sampling size, type of questions, data collection, data analysis etc.) as well as the examples from some research campaigns.

The following sessions were of a discussion nature. Participants presented their protected areas as well as local problems related to tourism movement. Participants admitted that visitor monitoring and visitor surveying are conducted in their protected areas however occasionally. Hence, it was noticed that there is lack of regular research. Protected areas representatives told about challenges related to visitors movement and what knowledge about visitors in their areas is lacking now. All participants admitted that it would be difficult to develop a single research questionnaire template that could be used in every protected area, due to various local problems. However, it is possible to develop some common elements that would be complemented by questions related to more local issues. Thus during the last session a discussion on the possibility of creating a common methodological framework for conducting surveys in various protected areas was initiated.

The second day of the workshop participants went to Krościenko nad Dunajcem, where the meeting with representative of Pieniny NP was held. Andrzej Kowalski from Pieniny NP told about national park as well as on problems related with visitors. Participants had also the opportunity to visit the nature exhibition of the Pieniny National Park. After the meeting, together with Ewelina Zając (Pieniny NP), participants went on a field trip on Trzy Korony (Three Crowns – a peak in Pieniny mountains), one of the frequently visited places in the Pieniny NP.

The next meeting will be held in Brno, Czech Republic.

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