Active hydrothermal features as tourist attractions

Erfurt-Cooper, Patricia (2018) Active hydrothermal features as tourist attractions. In: Fearnley, Carina J., Bird, Deanne K., Haynes, Katharine, McGuire, William J., and Jolly, Gill, (eds.) Observing the Volcano World: volcano crisis communication. Advances in Volcanology . Springer, pp. 85-105.

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Tourists are looking increasingly for adventurous experiences by exploring unusual and interesting landscapes. Active volcanic and hydrothermal landscapes and their remarkable manifestations of geysers, fumaroles and boiling mud ponds are some of the surface features that fascinate visitors of National Parks, Geoparks and World Heritage areas worldwide. The uniqueness of hydrothermal activity based on volcanism has provided popular tourist attractions in many countries for several thousand years. The Romans for example have used hydrothermal springs on the Italian island Ischia and visited the Campi Flegrei for recreational purposes. In Iceland the original Geysir already attracted international visitors over 150 years ago, who came to observe this spectacular hydrothermal phenomenon. In Greece and Turkey volcanic hot springs have historically provided attractive destinations, as well as in New Zealand, Japan and the Americas. The fact that locations with hydrothermal activity based on active volcanism have acquired various forms of protected site status, adds a further dimension to their attraction and demonstrates a significant contribution to sustainable and nature based tourism. Countries such as Iceland, New Zealand and Japan have a long tradition of using hydrothermal activity in its various forms to offer tourists a unique natural experience. These environments however are also known for their unpredictable and potentially hostile nature, as the use of hydrothermal features as a natural resource for tourism does harbour certain risks with the potential to affect human health and safety. Hydrothermal systems have erupted in the past, thereby causing the destruction of their immediate environment. Depending on the level of magnitude explosions of super heated water and steam mixed with fractured rocks and hot mud can be violent enough to create craters varying in size from a few metres to several hundred metres in diameter. Apart from unexpected eruptions of hydrothermal vents with the potential to cause thermal burns, further risk factors include seismic activity such as earthquakes, lethal gas emissions of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) as well as ground instability through hydrothermal alteration. While it is essential to prevent injuries to tourists the management of hydrothermal hazards remains problematic. Precursory signs are not well understood by the general public and the communication of imminent danger is frequently unachievable. As a consequence serious thought needs to be given to the risk factors and the potential danger of areas in the proximity of active hydrothermal manifestations such as extreme hot springs and geysers. To improve the safety standards in hydrothermal landscapes that are used as main features in tourism, strategic guidelines for best practice management must cover ALL active volcanic and hydrothermal areas. This chapter looks at management issues at hydrothermal destinations with special consideration of areas where these unique features are integrated as tourist attractions. Examples from destinations traditionally based on active volcanic and hydrothermal phenomena are presented as case studies to highlight the risk management processes in individual countries. Potential hazards in volcanic and hydrothermal areas are assessed with a focus on the prevention of accidents and injuries to tourists.

Item ID: 43942
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-3-319-44095-8
ISSN: 2364-3277
Keywords: Hydrothermal activity, Protected site status, Risk management, Sustainable tourism, Volcanic environments
Copyright Information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2017 This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits use, duplication, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2019 03:36
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3707 Hydrology > 370799 Hydrology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 100%
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