Competing with Nearby Attractions? The Impact of Perceived Accessibility on National Park Visits

Competing with Nearby Attractions? The Impact of Perceived Accessibility on National Park Visits


N Klassen, University of Applied Sciences Muenchen, DE


This paper compares the results of a survey on national parks with objective accessibility measures leading to recommendations for transport supply and additional marketing activities.


The national parks and the surrounding area are attractive tourist destinations. National parks are often placed in remote areas. Sometimes balancing the requirements between nature conservation and visitors are difficult to handle. Besides visitor management, zoning, information and education transport to and within national parks plays an important role. Peak times on weekends and during holidays produce traffic jams and parking problems within parks, while during off season times capacities are not used.

In addition the remote location often far away from big conurbations lead to less day trips and the dependency on overnight tourists staying at least some days in the region. As this provides also some advantages it limits the possibilities to fill the available capacity on weekdays or off season weekends. Citizens of big cities will spend a day off at nearer destinations with less travel time needed. The national parks have to compete with nearby lakes, rivers, hills, sites or other sometimes artificial attractions or resorts.

This paper compares the results of a survey in Munich, Germany, with objective accessibility measures. The survey consists of 560 personal interviews with citizens in the greater Munich area. Interviewees were asked about aided and unaided awareness of national parks, previous visits to national parks and motivational factors and obstacles to visit national parks. One obstacle mentioned was "distance from Munich" which prevents Munichians to visit the two nearest national parks more often. There are also many other attractive sites for leisure day trips nearby.

The accessibility of sites within the national parks is calculated and compared using the directness and travel time measure based on the German RIN guidelines. This provides independently from the mode of transport a measure to compare the Level of Service.

The comparison between accessibility and perceptions from the survey data provides insights of decision criteria and will lead to recommendations for transport supply to national parks and additional marketing activities for national parks. The Munich situation will also be discussed in the light of survey data about national park visits in Germany and the US.


Association for European Transport