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Open AccessArticle

Protected Areas as a Center of Attraction for Visits from World Heritage Cities: Extremadura (Spain)

1
Faculty of Business, Finances and Tourism, University of Extremadura, 10071 Cáceres, Spain
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Faculty of Letters, University of Extremadura, 10071 Cáceres, Spain
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Faculty of Economy, University of Extremadura, 6071 Badajoz, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 December 2019 / Revised: 22 January 2020 / Accepted: 7 February 2020 / Published: 9 February 2020
Conservation of the environment has become a key factor in tourist development, as is shown by the increase in visitors to natural parks and other places with rich ecosystems. Protected areas have become polarised centers for tourists of very varied characteriztics, not only for those who make them their main destination, but also for those who travel to nearby areas. This situation can be observed in Extremadura, where numerous tourists make the best use of their stay in the main centers of tourist attractions of the region to make local trips and thus get to know the most significant natural areas. These movements are being detected in varied aspects of demand, sometimes with little connection between the main and secondary motivation for the trip. We therefore consider a variable percentage of tourists visiting the main cultural destinations of Extremadura who use part of their stay to get to know protected areas. With the aim of structuring the research, we made a systematic study of tourists who spent the night in the cities of Cáceres and Mérida, which are World Heritage sites. During their stay, they visited prestigious natural places such as Monfragüe National Park, the Villuercas–Ibores–Jara Geopark, the Tajo Internacional Nature Reserve, and the Garganta de los Infiernos Nature Reserve. This information was obtained by carrying out surveys, which allowed us to determine the attraction capacity of each protected area by applying a network analysis. The results reflect a heterogeneous type of visitor who travels to the most appreciated areas following guidelines marked by the time of the year, his/her preferences, and the duration of his/her trip. View Full-Text
Keywords: protected natural spaces; extremadura; tourist attraction; geographic information system; network analysis protected natural spaces; extremadura; tourist attraction; geographic information system; network analysis
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Sánchez-Martín, J.-M.; Rengifo-Gallego, J.-I.; Sánchez-Rivero, M. Protected Areas as a Center of Attraction for Visits from World Heritage Cities: Extremadura (Spain). Land 2020, 9, 47.

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