Vinsamlegast notið þetta auðkenni þegar þið vitnið til verksins eða tengið í það: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/27783
Nature-based tourism is among the fastest growing sectors of the tourism industry, in particular in countries with unique nature, such as Iceland. With rising visitor numbers, demand for more and improved accessibility to formerly remote nature destinations increases. Thus, many areas that are protected due to scenic landscapes and/or sensitive ecosystems are facing increasing environmental pressure. This study aims to investigate how accessibility affects visitor composition in terms of attitudes, preferences, length of stay, activities, and environmental behavior. It also investigates the effects of accessibility on environmental impacts of tourism and visitor satisfaction, as well as the connection between the amount of infrastructure and the perceived environmental impacts of tourism. Two study areas containing sites with different levels of accessibility in Iceland and Thailand were chosen for this research. In Iceland, an on-site visitor survey was conducted in Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon, located in the northern part of Vatnajökull National Park, where three sites with different accessibility were selected: Dettifoss Waterfall with high accessibility, Ásbyrgi with medium accessibility, and Vesturdalur with low accessibility. A total of 842 respondents from these three sites participated in the survey. In Thailand, a total of 634 visitors were surveyed at Erawan Waterfall in Erawan National Park, which was selected because of its easy access and high number of visitors. The results show that accessibility affects visitor composition. At easily accessible sites visitors stay for a shorter time, and the proportion of visitors hiking and camping is lower. Moreover, perceived negative environmental impacts of tourism and perceived crowding are higher, and visitor satisfaction is lower at the sites with easier access. The results further show that high accessibility increases the demand for infrastructure, which in turn reduces the environmental impacts of visitors, but at the same time changes visitors’ experience and subsequently tourists’ composition.