The Recreational Potential Index Influences Behaviors

METPRET assesses areas for tourist and recreational potential
Outdoor activities post pandemic
by Siggy Nowak
Global (Vax Before Travel)

Since the recent pandemic limited a person's mobility and social life, people's recreational behavior made them seek more contact with nature closer to home.

As a result, locating recreational spaces in the vicinity of cities gained importance.

A new Scientific Reports study proposed a methodology for assessing the tourist and recreational potential of areas (METPRET) in the vicinity of cities with the potential to meet the needs for tourism and recreation.

This methodology is essential as recreational activities bring health benefits to humans, stimulate social interactions and ensure efficient use of time. 

Published in the peer-review journal Nature on November 27, 2022, METPRET addresses the need to search for new recreation and health restoration areas in limited mobility and social distancing conditions.

The features that should characterize areas suitable for tourism and recreation in pandemic conditions were determined using the original Recreational Potential Index (RPI).

The RPI proposed set of four evaluation criteria refers to the most critical assets from a pandemic point of view, when the primary concern of users was to recreate outdoors, close to nature, in a clean environment, relatively near to home but far from other people.

  • K1—landscape values and socio-economic conditions,
  • K2—environmental protection,
  • K3—air quality and,
  • K4—transportation accessibility.

The advantage of the RPI is that it can be adapted to the specificity of the area to be assessed because evaluation parameters are set according to the region's conditions.

In the example presented, these are related to the environmental and socio-economic conditions of the Mazovia Voivodeship.

Areas characterized by high and very high RPI values are those covered by various forms of nature protection, with attractive landscapes (presence of forests, surface waters), no favorable conditions for the development of large-scale agriculture, clean air, and good transport accessibility (maximum travel time up to 60 min).

The proposed methodology may be applied by local authorities when preparing planning documents for rural and suburban areas.

In turn, a recreational activity matrix will help decide what kind of recreational base to build, including activities divided by the dynamics of movement and season concerning land use.

This work was supported by IDUB grant no. 504/04496/1060 /45.01002, Warsaw University of Technology. No industry conflicts of interest were disclosed. 

Previously, the Recovery and Growth Insights Dashboard was developed in collaboration with Tourism Economics and supported by more than 20 data sources.

The highlights as of October 27, 2022, are as follows:

  1. Travel spending improved considerably in September 2022 and is now at its highest mark at 6% above 2019 levels.
  2. 32% of American travelers indicate leisure travel will be a high-budget priority in the next three months—down from 34% in July. 
  3. Group room nights contracted exceeded 2019 levels for the first time since April.
  4. Overseas travel remained stalled in September—down 34% from pre-pandemic levels, and just slightly improved on a YOY basis from July and August.

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Article by
Donald Hackett