School of Transportation Sciences
Prof. dr. Elke Hermans
Every year, the NPHK attracts around 1 million recreational visitors. Amongst them are visitors of tourist attractions on the edge of the park, and cyclists, horsemen and hikers using the available recreational networks throughout the park. Besides guided hiking tours for groups accompanied by park rangers, approximately 200.000 individual hikers per year visit the park, usually for a few hours hiking trip, in a small group or alone. Currently, there are about 220 km recreational hiking paths in the park.
There is a lack of insight in current travel flows of hikers within the NPHK. Which hiking paths are the most popular ones? Do hikers stay on the paths? How much time is spent in the park? Where do hikers stop and pause? Furthermore, there might be a possible threat of a high (or too high) impact of hikers on the environment. The park management needs to develop and implement appropriate measures, taking into account the increasing number of hikers in the park. Visitor management in the NPHK includes monitoring visitor patterns and routes, the identification of issues at aggregated and disaggregated level, and defining actions to optimize and manage the current and future visitor patterns.