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Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 325; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020325

“Because We Don’t Want to Run in Smog”: Problems with the Sustainable Management of Sport Event Tourism in Protected Areas (A Case Study of National Parks in Poland and Slovakia)

1
Faculty of Tourism and Recreation, Eugeniusz Piasecki University of Physical Education, 61-871 Poznan, Poland
2
Sociology Department, Masaryk University, 60177 Brno, Czech Republic
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 November 2018 / Revised: 4 January 2019 / Accepted: 7 January 2019 / Published: 10 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sport and Sustainability)
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Abstract

The practice of active and qualified tourism in national parks in Poland and Slovakia has longstanding traditions. Primarily, these parks have been a place of individual recreational activity, as well as a place to educate and convene with nature. Recently, sport tourism, which is characterized by the participation of tourists in mass organized sporting events mainly of a competitive nature, has been gaining more popularity. Even though this activity takes place in protected areas, sports are the main priority, rather than educational goals. Natural values have the primary function of enriching emotional experiences, and exploring wildlife is not an end in itself. Running events are now at the head of the list as the most popular sporting events in Poland and in Slovakia. The authors of the article focused on protected areas in Poland and Slovakia, largely because these countries were considering organizing one of the world’s biggest sports events together: The Winter Olympic Games (2022). The purpose of the study was to recognize the attitude of Polish and Slovak national park authorities toward the organization of mass sports events in protected areas. A diagnostic survey was conducted using the method of interviews with the directors of Polish and Slovak national parks. The research results shed light on the current state of development of sports event tourism in protected areas in the two countries. The article examines the response of Polish and Slovak park authorities to the changes of the current era of shifting societal needs regarding physical development, in particular with regard to the sustainability of protected areas. Currently, there is a lack of a strategic approach toward the development of sports tourism in national parks in Poland and Slovakia. The answers given in the interviews create an image that indicates a differentiated approach to the issue of permitting the organization of sports events in the areas of national parks. It turns out that the practice in these areas is different in individual parks. The diagnosis presented in the article indicates that it is necessary to undertake interdisciplinary and international research among environmentalists, economists, sociologists, anthropologists, and physical culture specialists in order to develop methods for measuring the impact of sporting events organized in natural areas in this part of Europe. View Full-Text
Keywords: sports ecomobility; sports tourism; national parks; sustainable development; running events; Winter Olympic Games sports ecomobility; sports tourism; national parks; sustainable development; running events; Winter Olympic Games
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Malchrowicz-Mośko, E.; Botiková, Z.; Poczta, J. “Because We Don’t Want to Run in Smog”: Problems with the Sustainable Management of Sport Event Tourism in Protected Areas (A Case Study of National Parks in Poland and Slovakia). Sustainability 2019, 11, 325.

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