A combined ANP-delphi approach to evaluate sustainable tourism

Environmental Impact Assessment Review

The evaluation of sustainable tourism strategies promoted by National Parks (NP) related stakeholders is a key concern for NP managers. To help them in their strategic evaluation procedures, in this paper we propose a methodology based on the Analytic Network Process and a Delphi-type judgment-ensuring procedure. The approach aims at involving stakeholders in a participatory and consensus-building process.The methodology was applied to Los Roques NP in Venezuela. The problem included three sustainable tourism strategies defined by the stakeholders: eco-efficient resorts, eco-friendly leisure activities and ecological transportation systems. Representatives of eight stakeholders participated in the methodology. 13 sustainability criteria were selected.Results provide some important insights into the overall philosophy and underlying participants§ conception of what sustainable development of Los Roques NP means. This conception is broadly shared by stakeholders as they coincided in the weights of most of the criteria, which were assigned individually through the questionnaire. It is particularly noteworthy that tourists and environmentalists almost fully match in their assessments of criteria but not of the alternatives.Moreover, there is a great agreement in the final assessment. This suggests that the regular contact among the different stakeholders, i.e. tourists with inhabitants, authorities with environmentalists, tour operators with representatives of the ministry, etc. has led to a common understanding of the opportunities and threats for the NP.They all agreed that the procedure enhances participation and transparency and it is a necessary source of information and support for their decisions. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.