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International Standardization For Protected Areas


In order to address the challenge of tourism in protected areas, ISO is providing an international standard, ISO 18065 for Natural Protected Areas Authorities (NPAA) - responsible for ensuring the efficient, sustainable planning and development of tourist services conforming to legal requirements. Risk assessments promote the safety of the visitor and quality assessment of services mitigates impacts upon NPA’s wildlife, flora, fauna and communities. Public use, tourism and recreation can be part of the objectives of a NPA. Tourists visit them for their own enjoyment and, in doing so, benefit from an understanding and an appreciation of the values on which the area was established. Through public use management processes, NPAA hold responsibility for ensuring that whilst visitors have opportunities to participate in their desired activities, they are aware of and uphold the NPA values. That is the objective of ISO standard 18065, to be launched soon.

Problem, challenge or context: 

Tourism to NPAs has grown and is now a significant element in the culture of modern society. Protected areas are very attractive settings for the growing demand for outdoor, appreciative activities in natural environments. This growing interest contributes - in developing countries - to conserve and maintain local communities and create richness through employment, acting as an economic engine. And in developed countries, tourism promotes environmental education and conserves the resources. But tourism in natural protected areas is also a big challenge.

Specific elements of components: 

The future ISO 18065 will help to manage tourist activities in NPAs appropriately, allowing visitors to experience the natural environment and to learn about the importance of nature conservation at the same time.

This standard establishes the requirements for tourist services provided directly by NPAA in order to satisfy visitors whilst giving priority to the NPA conservation objectives, excluding the marine protected areas.
NOTE: These NPAs can be publicly or privately managed, managed by the community or by NGO or by a mixture of some or all of these possibilities.

1 Scope
2 Terms and definitions
3 Approaches for public use
4 Services provision
4.1 Access and reception
4.2 Information
4.2.1 General
4.2.2 Signposting
4.3 Environmental education and interpretation
4.4 Reservations
4.5 Complaints handling
5 Facilities
5.1 Visitor centre
5.2 Trails
5.3 Observation point
5.4 Recreational area
5.5 Camping area
5.6 Refuge
5.7 Nature workshops
6 Outsourcing
7 Safety
8 Waste management, cleaning and maintenance
Annex A (informative) ACCESSIBILITY
Annex B (informative) CONSUMERS' RIGHTS

Key lessons learned: 

The standardization process to develop ISO 18065 began in 2008. This standard will be published soon.

Impacts and outcomes: 

The expected impacts and outcomes of the standardization of the specifications of the services offered to tourists by natural protected areas will provide tourism buyers, providers and consumers with criteria for making informed decisions.

Contact details: 
Clelia Lopez, ISO TC 228/ WG 6 Convenor, Asociación de Administradores Gubernamentales – Argentina
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