Faculty of Tourism and Hotels, Tourism Studies Department, Alexandria University, Egypt
Faculty of Tourism and Hotels, Alexandria University, Egypt
Faculty of Tourism and Hotels, Alexandria University, Egypt
The need to preserve the world’s inherent assets for future generation is becoming a principle goal, not only for tourism but also, for all other industries that used the earth’s natural resources. However, tourism, as one of the world’s fastest growing industries, has a multitude of impacts, positive and negative, on the environment. Environmental degradation and natural resources depletion associated with tourism activities have sometimes serious problems in natural areas. The management of natural resources and protected area are thus one of the most difficult challenges for governments at different levels.
On the other hand, applications of the principles of sustainability are essential keys especially for the, protected areas include inhabited lands where the tourists go to enjoy the beauty and services available. If not carefully managed, these human activities can have a negative impact on the state of health of, plant, ecosystems and animal species. And thus, protected areas are the ideal places to apply the principles of ISO14001. This paper provides a framework for applying ISO 14001 on protected areas and discusses the results of a practical case study in “Saluga and Ghazal “protected area wherein ISO 14001 was used as a benchmark for evaluating and improving the management plan. The results indicate that the some requirements of an ISO 14001 had not been incorporated into the management plan for the “Saluga and Ghazal “protected area, many of these needed improvements in order fully meet theISO14001 standard.
Key words: Tourism, Protected areas, Sustainability, ISO14001 standard.
Tourism is one of the fastest-growing and biggest sectors of the global economy and has significant economic, social, cultural and environmental effects, both positive and negative (Narendar and Brahmaiah, 2015, p.296). For example, the positive effects of tourism on a country’s economy include the development and growth of various industries directly linked to the tourism industry, such as accommodation, transportation, entertainment and arts (Bethapudi, 2015,p.262).While tourism provides considerable economic benefits for many regions, communities and countries, its rapid expansion can also be responsible for adverse environmental (and socio-cultural) impacts (Yazdi, 2012,p:50).
On the other hand, tourism affects the environment of an area either directly or indirectly. Both tourism and environment have a very complex and interdependent relationship (Thullen,1996).It involves many activities that can have adverse environmental effects. Currently, the quality of the environment, both natural and man-made, is essential to tourism, nevertheless, if unplanned and unregulated, tourism can be extremely harmful to the environment(GhulamRabbany et al., 2013,p.117).Furthermore, there is no single “recipe” for achieving sustainable development, the methods and actions are many to be followed, and these methods can contribute to stimulating awareness and understanding of new ways of dealing with production activities and processes so as to reduce to minimum negative environmental transformations: these include the use of the ISO 14001(Naviglio,2001,p.1). Meanwhile, ISO 14001 certification is a powerful tool for producers wishing to enhance the environmental performance and demonstrate sound environmental performance and sustainability.
Application of the principles of sustainability is important in any type of region. Moreover, it is important when environmental assets are especially significant. This is the case with protected natural areas such as reserves, oases, national parks and regional parks (Naviglio,2001,p.1).Therefore, protected areas are established so as to protect and safeguard especially significant natural, and cultural and historical assets(Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity,2008). For the most part,
Protected areas in Egypt have suffered from many shapes of deterioration and phenomena that threaten its safety. Yet, at the same time, it can represent major problems due to the increased numbers of visitors. Additionally, the environmental legislation and environmental management have not fully tackled the issue of conservation of protected areas. (Mozammel,2015) .Therefore, it is important to find tools and standards for managing protected areas especially international standards integrated with the management of all protected areas such as ISO14001. This will ensure that there is a continuous and regular system for improving protected areas management and the overall protection of protected areas environment. The ISO 14001standard in protected areas is as a generic management system standard, this standard includes a collection of items and requirements. Moreover, the application of the ISO 14001 standard in protected areas can provide a flexible and adaptive management system which can be integrated with existing practices as a standardized quality management process designed for the continuous improvement of protected areas management (Thompson et al., 2008).
This study will be an attempt to shed light on the concept of ISO 14001 on the protected areas to study its benefits. Furthermore, it will focus on the requirements of the ISO14001 standard for implementing in protected area.
The research aims to focus on the application and requirements of the ISO14001 on the protected areas. The theoretical part reviews the benefits of ISO 14001 standards in protected areas and understanding its requirements to improve environmental performance in these areas. The practical study follows the descriptive analytical method as a strategy. The descriptive analytical method is used to obtain information concerning the current status of the phenomena and to describe "what exists" with respect to variables or conditions in a situation. There are three main types of descriptive methods: observational methods, case-study methods and survey methods (Jackson, 2009, p. 89). This research will use the observational and survey methods (interviews).
This paper focused on “Saluga and Ghazal “protected area as study area. “Saluga and Ghazal” Protected Area, two small islands in the Nile at Aswan, support a luxuriant natural vegetation cover including some of the only remnants of natural Nilotic vegetation existing in the Nile Valley before cultivation by man. The Protected Area plays an important role in preserving an exceptionally beautiful natural landscape of the Nile River at Aswan, which has long been one of the city’s primary tourist attractions (Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency,2006) .
The researcher depended on secondary data sources such as books, reports, journals and case studies, in addition to field visits and interviews held with the manager and employees of “Saluga and Ghazal” Protected Area and the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency. The questions in the interviews have been characterized as specific and divided into five axes to cover the ISO14001 requirements, so as to get the most amount of information about the current status of the “Saluga and Ghazal" protected area for all the responsible parties in order to determine the availability of ISO14001 requirements in the reserve.
3 STUDY AREA
3.1 Saluga and Ghazal Protected Area
Cataract Island (Saluga and Ghazal) is a very small protectorate (0.5 km2) located 3 Km north Aswan Dam on the southern edge of the city of Aswan. It was declared by the decision of prime minister no 928 in 1986. (Hasseb et al., 2004).
The beauty of this protectorate lies between its landscape and location in the middle of the Nile at Aswan. In spite of, the small area of this protectorate it contains incredible vegetation; the recorded flora is 120 species. In addition, to 135 species of birds were recorded; they vary between resident migrants and visitors. All of that makes “Saluga and Ghazal” Protected Area one of the most important regions in Egypt for bird monitoring, and the dense vegetation made diversity for reptiles and insects, like bean sink, Egyptian gecko, Nubian spitting cobra, many species of butter flies and dragonflies (Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, undated) .
3.2 Reasons for choosing “Saluga and Ghazal protected area
In the beginning, the city of Aswan was selected because it contains many elements of the natural and human attractions. In spite of, this diversity of tourist attractions, it suffers from the unilateral of the tourism product, that more than 98% of the total tourist arrivals to Aswan in order to visit monuments and entertainment.
Aswan city contains a lot of the stunning landscapes that can be exploited for the development of Ecotourism through the development of protected areas, such as the protected areas of “Wadi El Alaqi” and “Saluga and Ghazal” and hence, this protected area was chosen as one of the most important natural tourist reserves in Aswan.
The importance of "Saluga and Ghazal" shows through the elements of tourist attractions, that it contains unique environmental diversity along the Nile River and for this it is called the "golden egg”. It has many types of plants and natural trees, which represents the remainder of the plants of Nile Valley. It is also a destination for many rare birds which are qualified it to be a popular destination,
Develop new tourism destinations such as "Saluga and Ghazal" protected area to become one of the new potential tourist sites especially for the environmental tourism.
4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
The results of this study as can be seen in table 1. Shows that the gap analysis of ISO14001 requirements where the current proposed management system for the “Saluga and Ghazal” Protected area meets, does not meet, or needs improvement to meet the ISO 14001 standard.
Table 1. The gap analysis of ISO14001 requirements where the current proposed management system for the “Saluga and Ghazal” Protected area .