Original paper

Tourism and show caves

Cigna, Arrigo A.

Abstract

Natural caves started to be opened to tourism over 400 years ago and now probably all the Countries of the world hosts at least one, but often dozens, of show caves. Some 500 major show caves with over 50.000 visitor/year exist in the world and over 250 million visitors pay yearly a ticket to visit them. It is therefore evident that show caves are presently one of the most important geotouristic targets all over the world and they represent an important economic resource for many of the still developing Countries. But caves have also an exceptional scientific value due to the fact that they represent one of the best archive for all the Quaternary and allow for extremely accurate paleo-environmental and paleo-climatic reconstructions. It is possible to maintain the aesthetic and scientific values of a cave when transforming it into a show cave; but to reach this goal it is important to follow strict rules before, during and after their tourist development. Guidelines aiming to supply a recommendation to be endorsed for the development of show caves were drafted in the last years and received strong recommendations from the UIS Department of Protection and Management at both the 14 th International Congress of Speleology held in Kalamos, Greece, in August 2005 and the 15 th International Congress of Speleology held in Kerrville, Texas, in July 2009. At the 7 th International Congress of ISCA at Jenolan Caves, Australia, in November 2014 a final text was agreed upon with the title "Recommended International Guidelines for the Development and Management of Show Caves".

Keywords

show cavestourismenvironmentparks