یکی از فاکتورهای بسیار تاثیرگذار بر رضایت گردشگران، کیفیت تجربهی گردشگری است. ازدحام بیش از حد در زمان اوج تقاضا در برخی از سایتهای گردشگری کشور منجر به عبور از آستانههای ظرفیت تحمل اجتماعی شده و نهایتاً به افت کیفیت تجربهی گردشگران میانجامد. با اینحال، برطبق مطالعات دیدارکنندگان در واکنش به ازدحام ادراکشده، برخی سازوکارهای مقابلهای را بهکار میگیرند تا همچنان رضایت خود را در سطح بالایی نگه دارند.
هدف از مطالعهی حاضر، تعیین ظرفیت تحمل اجتماعی دیدارکنندگان و واکنشهای رفتاری آنان به ازدحام در آبشار مارگون بوده است. جامعهی آماری این تحقیق را گردشگران درونحوزهای دیدارکننده از آبشار مارگون تشکیل میدادند. دادههای موردنیاز در تعطیلات نوروز 1390، به روش میدانی و از طریق پرسشنامه جمعآوری گردید. ازدحام ادراک شده به عنوان یک سازه روانشناختی از طریق فنون خوداظهاری و براساس مقیاس وسک و هبرلین سنجیده شد. برای تعیین ظرفیت تحمل اجتماعی از رویکرد هنجاری و روش تصویری استفاده گردید. نتایج حاصل از تجزیه و تحلیل 273 پرسشنامه، نشان داد که تراکم سایت از آستانههای اجتماعی مطلوب دیدارکنندگان فراتر رفتهاست. یافتهها مؤید این موضوع بود که شاخص رضایت به تنهایی برای تعیین سطح ظرفیت تحمل اجتماعی کافی نیست. بعلاوه، جایگزینی زمان و بطور مشخص کاهش طول مدت دیدار غالبترین واکنش رفتاری بود.
Visitors’ Social Carrying Capacity andtheir Coping Behavior against Crowding at Natural Recreational Sites
Sustainable management of nature reserves requires that the conservation of naturalresources and recreation be balanced. Increased recreational use within these resources endangers this balance, as it may lead both to a decline in the quality of the recreational experience and to the degradation of the ecosystem. Tourism carrying capacity (TCC) is one of the tools used to realize sustainable management.TCC has various dimensions. Social carrying capacity (SCC) is one of its dimensions which includesboth the degree of tolerance of host population and the quality of visitors’ experience. Moreover this notion is closely associated with the concept of crowding. As applied to tourists, SCC can be determined as the maximum level of use and types of activities that can be absorbed by an area without an unacceptable decline in the quality of visitors’ experience. Beside,crowding is often seen as the most direct social influence of recreation that can cause the visitors’ quality of experience to degrade and as a result, resource utility to decline. However, previous research has suggested that despitehigh level of density, visitors may explain their experience as satisfactory. Recreationists who feel crowded may adopt some coping mechanisms that are generally defined as stress-reducing. Displacement is one the coping strategies visitorsapply to reduce stress. Applying displacement may cause some problems for site management, especially for those which are ecologically sensitive. Crowding may lead visitors to displace site with other places, which may be visited less frequently. The greater dispersal of visitor use in time and space can cause undisturbed zones to damage. Despite the large demand for visiting natural areas in Iran, few researches have studied visitors’ social carrying capacity. Furthermore, no research has addressed coping mechanisms they employ in response to crowding. So, thegoal of this study was to determine recreationists’ social carrying capacity and the coping behaviors they employ.
Materials and methods
A field study was carried out on-site at the Margoon Waterfall during 2011 NorouzHollidays. To select sample, incidental sampling method was applied. Visitor exit questionnaires were distributed among domestic tourists visiting the Waterfallwho were 18 or more years old. As a Psychological construct, perceived crowding was measured through self-report techniques using Vaske and Heberlein 9-point scale. Besides, social carrying capacity was determined employing visual normative approach.Using descriptive statistics, finally 273 questionnaires were analyzed.
Discussion and results
The results of descriptive data analysis indicated that almost all of the respondents (99/6%) reported a score of 3 or greater regarding the 9-point perceived crowding scale. According to the crowding evaluative standards proposed by Shelby et al. (1989), if 80-100% respondents reported a rating of 3 or greater, the use levels would be interpreted as “more than capacity”. Applying visual normative approach, respondents indicated average densityas ideal, high use levels as acceptable and very high use levels as intolerable.Although perceived crowding had violated social carrying capacity thresholds, respondents described their recreational experience as satisfactory. In other words, 90/7% respondents suggested that they had been satisfied with their experience. When it comes to coping mechanisms, nearly 62% of respondents chose temporal displacement as their most preferred strategy, among them approximately 24% suggested that they would reduce duration their visit in order to cope with the site crowding.
Asthe findings demonstrated, use levels of the site exceeded its social carrying capacity. Moreover, the results supported the previous research that satisfaction alone is not a useful tool in estimating social carrying capacity.The results also revealed that temporal displacement, in general and reducing duration of the visit, specifically, would be the most employed coping behavior in Margoon Waterfall. Therefore, environmental planners and destination managers should pay great attention to the crowding and its behavioral implications so that, by applying appropriate solutions, they can provide a balance between qualityof visitors’ experience andnatural setting ecosystem.