Sustainable recreational trail design from the recreational opportunity spectrum and trail user perception: a case study of the Seven Hanging Valleys

Lukoseviciute, G., Pereira, L. N., Panagopoulos, T. (2021)


Recreational trails represent corridors of benefits to human health and well-being, learning and education through an understanding of other cultures or countries, raising environmental awareness, local economic development, limiting the dispersion of the visitors, linking key attractions of a given area or diversifying tourism markets. However, trail development and design require to keep up sustainability principles and understand trail user perceptions. This paper aims to identify trail management priorities to improve sustainable design and visitor experience. The most popular hiking trail of Portugal located in the Algarve region was used as a study case to describe recreation opportunities of the trail’s management, development stage, preferred trail attributes and determinants of trail visitor loyalty. This study applied the recreation opportunity spectrum framework and the logistic regression model. Planners and managers might utilise these results to identify strategies for nature conservation and sustainable trail development, simultaneously maximising trail-related experiences among loyal trail users.

Keywords: Recreational trail; ssustainable design; visitor perception; loyalty determinants; nature-based tourism; ‘Seven Hanging valleys’ trail

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