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The role of a national park in classifying mountain tourism destinations: An exploratory study of the Italian Western Alps

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Together with the main aim of preserving nature, national parks are also expected to play an important role for the local communities, driving economic activities toward the lens of sustainable development. This contribution aims to present an exploratory study on the relationship between the presence of a protected mountain area, the Gran Paradiso National Park (GPNP), in the North West of the Italian Alps, and the classification of tourism destinations, according to Weaver model of destination management. Starting from the model, the authors provide a quantitative analysis using a set of variables and indicators to comprehensively assess the differing patterns assumed by the municipalities within the borders of the GPNP and those that are not. The provisional results illustrate that the municipalities within the border of a protected area are more likely to be grouped alongside the sustainable mountain destinations. Meanwhile, research outcomes confirm that a protected area does not necessarily contrast the tourism industry but instead may boost local development by driving it within the borders of the sustainable development, switching from the area’s only preservation function to a flywheel for the local communities.

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This research is carried out thanks to the participation to the Research Project, EMERITUS — Eco-ManagemEnt of agRI-Tourism in moUntain areaS — funded by Compagnia di San Paolo di Torino. Heartfelt thanks are due to Mr. Francesco Bozzato, Mayor of the Municipality of Valprato Soana for his suggestions.

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Correspondence to Stefano Duglio.

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Duglio, S., Letey, M. The role of a national park in classifying mountain tourism destinations: An exploratory study of the Italian Western Alps. J. Mt. Sci. 16, 1675–1690 (2019).

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