2021 Volume 8 Pages 26-49
Tourism sites under increasing pressures is expected to apply the concept of “Tourism Carrying Capacity (TCC)” for planning and management. In the context of natural protected areas, it is said that considering various managerial dimensions and tourists’ experiential dimensions with resource dimensions to determine the extent of changes that are acceptable is more realistic, as ecosystem changes are dynamic and cannot be easily identified over short periods. This approach is known as the “Limits of Acceptable Change” (LAC)”, but the LAC approach and its methodologies are still evolving. This study therefore aimed to develop a framework for measuring the experiential dimension of the LAC approach, focusing on the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon (RISL) in Palau. We used six indicators defined through the preliminary research, and did experimental surveys with the structured questionnaire, the line census and the noise investigation for collecting both subjective and objective data. Results indicated that tourists’ experiential satisfaction was remarkably high which could outweigh concerns about congestion.
On the other hand, the analysis of the relation among indicators illustrated a candidate threshold of the number of visitors at a time, although we cannot be decisive with only one-time research. From the perspective of the evaluation of the methods, we found that subjective data was not effective in some cases as they could be too affected by personal background to reproduce an actual condition at the site. Further research including surveys on the resource dimension are needed for obtaining more reliable results for developing the LAC approach.