The maximum number of visitors/participants that a site/event can satisfy at one time.

perceptual carrying capacity

the maximum number of visitors a place can satisfy before specific group of visitors considers the level of impact, such as noise, to be excessive).

environmental carrying capacity

the maximum number of visitors a place can satisfy before the local environment becomes damaged


the concept of carrying capacity

The concept of tourism carrying capacity arises from a perception that tourism cannot grow forever in a place without causing irreversible damage to the local system. Tourist attractions are assets which cannot be reproduced. 

A maximum number of users visiting tourist attractions lead to their saturation and, in turn, results in a poorer quality of tourist experience. The negative effects of saturation can also be felt in the neighbouring, unsaturated areas, the attraction of which is diminished by unattractive environments and the associated lower quality of tourist demand in the immediate vicinity. In other words, the greater the intensity of tourist use, the more limited the appeal of the tourist attraction becomes.

The high level of tourist activity in a certain region inevitably results in economic, environmental and social impacts. Some destinations are heavily dependent upon tourism in particular, because of the lack of other economic activities through which they would be able to sustain a standard of living. 




>>> Write a paragraph summarising the information above


case study: rideralp, valais, switzerland


strategies to maximise capacity

  • Promotions for families allowing children under 9 to ski for free

strategies to avoid environmental damage

  • Protected areas off-limits to skiing
  • Waste and recycling stations in mountain villages
  • Waste removed from stations using special cable cars for bins
  • Signs show people where to walk/cycle etc so damage is limited to certain areas

strategies to minimise conflict between local residents and visitors

  • Laws prohibiting foreigners from buying properties in the Alps
  • Local involvement in and ownership of the tourism sector
  • Banning of cars in Riederalp village
  • Zoning for different leisure activities e.g paths for MTB and walking

What could we add to the two lists above?



Discuss the strategies designed to manage tourism in one named rural area. [10 marks]



There are a wide range of suitable answers which should be judged on a case-by-case basis. Answers are expected to examine the success or failure of attempts to manage urban tourism. Strategies to promote tourism should be considered as only a small part of the management spectrum.

Answers that simply describe management strategies rather than discussing elements of success or failure should be limited to band D. Those that describe tourism problems without discussing strategies should be limited to band C.

Answers that do not refer to an appropriate example (but discuss a rural location or strategies that relate to sport or leisure rather than tourism) should be limited to band D.

To access bands E and F, answers should refer to an appropriate example.