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The Azores archipelago is distinguished by its unique natural beauty and marine setting. Thanks to its volcanic origin, the region has a very rich and remarkable geodiversity that includes a diversity of landscapes with innumerable craters, volcanic lakes, fumaroles, hot springs, volcanic caves, marine fossil deposits and thermal water springs. The recognition of this valuable geological heritage came with the recent integration of the Azores Geopark into the European and Global Geopark Networks. The pressure that the increasing development of tourism have been exerting on these geological sites for the last years, and the need to create alternative forms of tourism, which contribute towards the socio-economic development in rural areas, have highlighted the importance of geotourism as a tool to promote and preserve the geological heritage of the Azores. Geotourism has turned to be an important instrument of environmental awareness through the local and foreign people.
This paper summarizes theoretical knowledge related to an issue of assessment of tourism impacts on a tourism destination. This paper pays special attention to stakeholders’ perception of tourism impacts as a popular approach to tourism impacts assessment in recent decades. Its aim is to map the key research focused on classification and assessment of tourism impacts in relation to regional stakeholders, using a summary and comparison of various research approaches over the past decades. The paper uses an integrative literature review of 28 papers published in top-rated journals which can be considered as a relevant sample of the research effort from the beginnings of 1990s. It compares commonly used approaches to the classification and assessment of tourism impacts through a comparative content analysis and points out their common characteristics and differences. The secondary aim is to define research implications as a theoretical and methodical basis for future research aimed at this topic.
Complex systems are characterised by a huge amount of components, which are highly linked with each other. Tourism is one of the examples of complex systems collecting various activities leading to the enrichment of travellers in the view of receiving new experiences and increasing economic prosperity of specific destinations. The complex systems can be investigated with various bottom-up and top-down approaches. The multi-agent-based modelling is the bottom-up approach that is focused on the representation of individual entities for the exploration of possible interactions among them and their effects on surrounding environments. These systems are able to integrate knowledge of socio-cultural, economic, physical, biological or environmental systems for in-silico models development, which can be used for experimentation with a system. The main aim of the presented text is to introduce links between tourism, complexity and to advocate usefulness of the multi-agent-based systems for the exploration of tourism and its sustainability. The evaluation of suitability of the multi-agent systems in tourism is based on the investigation of fundamental characteristics of these two systems and on the review of specific applications of the multi-agent systems in sustainable tourism.
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