Summary: In 2020, through joint cooperation between Vidzeme University College and the Nature Conservation Agency (NCA), the resources of both institutions were concentrated in order to establish a comprehensive inventory of visitors to specially protected nature territories (SPNTs) - laying the foundations for long-term monitoring. In order to obtain as accurate data as possible, the data available to other organizations were included, data on tourist accommodation or visits at SPNTs, where visitors are registered, were collected. When developing an in-depth monitoring methodology, locations were identified where stationary automatic visitor counters would be installed and where it would be possible to place temporary - portable automatic visitor counters.
Thus, it would be possible to generalize the results more precisely to all existing tourist attractions in the Latvian SPNTs. For this purpose, it is necessary to purchase five new automatic visitor counters, which are planned to be placed temporarily, covering a much wider number of SPNTs throughout the territory of Latvia. They would be operated as portable counters, including in places where there is no NCA infrastructure for visitors, but there is a flow of visitors. In addition, one creative solution is needed to record water tourists in rivers, which has so far been out of sight of census data (traditional counters and cameras do not work in such a large area). In general, it would provide new knowledge on visitor flow dynamics, anthropogenic load, return on public investment, and data for solutions on planning the workload, sustainable tourism solutions, environmental education potential, etc. The obtained data will be applicable to the situation in Latvia as a whole, in order to use them for making informed decisions on the daily management and protection of the territory and to find solutions for more efficient management of the flow of visitors to SPNTs. The monitoring methodology envisages that the data could be comparable and accumulated sequentially every year. In turn, an already established geospatial data collection platform and filters would allow easy selection of the required period, area, or an SPNT category.
Funding/ programme: Latvian Environmental Protection Fund
HESPI role: Project implementer
Cooperation partners: Nature Conservation Agency
Project funding: 16538,89 EUR
Project scientific manager (e-mail): HESPI Lead Researcher Andris Klepers (email@example.com)
Involved staff: HESPI research staff Agita Līviņa