Perception of Visitors’ Environmental Impacts of Ecotourism: A case study in the Valley of Butterflies protected area, Rhodes Island, Greece


1 Department of Biology, Division of Plant Biology, University of Patras, GR-26504, Patras, Greece

2 Ministry of Regional Development, 119 Mesogion Ave., GR-10192, Athens, Greece


Visitor management is considered important for the sustainable development of protected areas
as the presence of visitors may cause negative impacts on wildlife and vegetation. Within this framework, visitor impacts and perceptions are considered critical for decision-making and planning of future management regimes. This paper resumes opinions of visitors of the Valley of Butterflies in Rhodes Island, Greece, a very popular tourist destination in both national and international level, with more than 300,000 visitors per year. These opinions record perceptions on the environmental impacts of eco-tourism in the Valley and are necessary for the formulation and implementation of a visitor management strategy in the area. Descriptive statistics are estimated, as well as a probit model exploring factors affecting visitors’ satisfaction. Results call for more
information and education of the visitors about the Valley’s conservation and ecological value, better facilities and services provided, site hardening and a better policy of prices.