Caves are among the most visited geological features in the world, attracting over 70 million people every year in more than 1,200 caves worldwide, and amounting up to 800 million Euros in entrance fees alone. The global business of show caves employs roughly 25,000 people directly (management, guides), and at least 100 times more people if we consider the connected tourist activities (souvenir shops, local transport, travel agencies, restaurants, and bars). It is estimated that the whole show cave business has a global commercial value of roughly 2 billion Euros, a number that is increasing constantly. Show caves are generally fragile ecosystems, and care should be taken in their management to safeguard their value for future generations. The international scientific (speleological) community has issued international guidelines for the sustainable development and management of show caves eight years ago, but their application is still far from being applied globally, especially in developing and least developed countries. Cave tourism is expected to increase, especially in countries where caves are abundant but not yet considered as tourist attractions, and where economic and political instability slow down the development of tourism. There are still a lot of possibilities for the opening of new show caves, especially in countries with low Gross Domestic Income (GDI), but their management needs to be sustainable, so that caves become a means of sustaining local economies, educating people on these fragile geo- and ecosystems, and protecting contemporarily their scientific and cultural heritage for future generations.

A Global Perspective on Sustainable Show Cave Tourism

Chiarini, Veronica
;
De Waele, Jo
2022

Abstract

Caves are among the most visited geological features in the world, attracting over 70 million people every year in more than 1,200 caves worldwide, and amounting up to 800 million Euros in entrance fees alone. The global business of show caves employs roughly 25,000 people directly (management, guides), and at least 100 times more people if we consider the connected tourist activities (souvenir shops, local transport, travel agencies, restaurants, and bars). It is estimated that the whole show cave business has a global commercial value of roughly 2 billion Euros, a number that is increasing constantly. Show caves are generally fragile ecosystems, and care should be taken in their management to safeguard their value for future generations. The international scientific (speleological) community has issued international guidelines for the sustainable development and management of show caves eight years ago, but their application is still far from being applied globally, especially in developing and least developed countries. Cave tourism is expected to increase, especially in countries where caves are abundant but not yet considered as tourist attractions, and where economic and political instability slow down the development of tourism. There are still a lot of possibilities for the opening of new show caves, especially in countries with low Gross Domestic Income (GDI), but their management needs to be sustainable, so that caves become a means of sustaining local economies, educating people on these fragile geo- and ecosystems, and protecting contemporarily their scientific and cultural heritage for future generations.
Chiarini, Veronica; Duckeck, Jochen; De Waele, Jo
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/889695
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