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What does a Visitor Management officer do?

visitor management officer

The Visitor Management Officer, along with the Biology Specialist and the responsible for community relations will identify themes and “stories” for rangers and other employees of the park, which will be sent to the visitors. The “stories” must be based on facts identified by the Protected Area personnel. It is recommended to be updated periodically (ideally once every 6 months) with new information. The visitor vetting and management systems visitor tracker is responsible to ensure it is all ok.

Non-personal Interpretation

The situation in which communication is not transmitted directly by aperson, such as:

  • thematic routes;
  • information panels in the protected area;
  • publications – brochures, flyers, maps and newsletters related to a specific place that can meet many requirements, such as:promoting the site, explaining the touristic offer, where to go and how to make it the maxim of the visit, a route marked with signs – guiding visitors on a planned route adding information to the designated stopping places, in addition to the direct visitor experiences. Providing background information as well as stimulating visitors and explaining the things that they see – a souvenir and at the same time a guide. You can read all about it here.

message-deliveryIn order to make communication with visitors more effective, an information plan should be developed by the interpretation, including the messages, methods and channels (infrastructure) to be used.

The information and interpretation plans should be integrated into the educational programs for visitors in the visitor management plan and in the tourism development plan for the whole region.

Here is a useful reference:

Educate using the right messages

find-the-wayIdentify, for each area, the themes of interpretation of the methods that will beused and the necessary infrastructure. The educational programs for visitors must be integrated into the general education program of theprotected area. The latter includes a part of the community involvement program, working withadults and students and schools from the surrounding area of ​​the protected area using a variety of methods (visits to schools, inclusion of specific elements related to the protected area in formal education programs, the initiation of voluntary school-related activities, etc.).

Educational programs for visitors have a dual role: on the one hand they provide tools that are supplementary safeguards to ensure value protection along with the rules of their visitors and the efforts made by the area’s management, and on the other hand they increase the quality of recreational experiences.The quality of recreational activities can be enriched if an outdoor holiday succeeds to become oneexperience that involves the learning process that involves the transfer of knowledge from the protected areato visitors and to stimulate emotions and feelings. If the protected area manages to offerthe visitors a high quality educational experience, the chances are that visitors will become the ambassador of the areain the long run.

There are different tools available to develop such learning experiences, such as: trails, thematic tours, sightseeing tours or reading online information about the protected area.

An educational program must lead the audience through an extended process to reach and finally influence visitor attitudes or even influence visitor behavior in the sense of avoiding /reducing the impact on the protected area. One such program is based on one or more messages that can be used. Go here for more info.

The steps to follow

  • Exposure: the visitor is exposed to an educational message;
  • Attention: the visitor processes the message;
  • Understanding: the message is understood;
  • Acceptance: the visitor accepts the message and changes his / her attitude;
  • Acquirement: the visitor appropriates his message and attitude;
  • Behavior: the visitor behaves according to the new attitude;
  • Impact avoidance / mitigation: The impacts on resources or experiences are avoided or reduced.

Taking into account such a process that starts with the transmission of a message and ends up in the end to change attitudes and behavior of visitors, it is worth stressing that we need to invest a lot in:

  • acceptance: the visitor accepts the message and changes his / her attitude;
  • acquirement: the visitor appropriates his message and attitude;
  • behavior: the visitor behaves according to the new attitude;
  • Impact avoidance / mitigation: The impacts on resources or experiences are avoided or reduced.

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