Sustainable tourism management plans rely on relevant and consistent information about factors that can influence the decision to visit a protected area. This paper uses the choice experiment method to investigate tourists’ preferences with regard to recreational trip characteristics in national and natural parks in Romania. An on-site survey questionnaire was administered to visitors. The multinomial logit model was employed to investigate the preference orderings of the identified groups of recreational users. Overall, results indicate that tourists gain benefits after visiting the parks. Main preference differences were found for information sources and location of campsites. Visitors who stated that the park was the main trip destination were willing to have access to more information sources, the marks on trails being insufficient. Camping is preferred only in organized places, expressing the concern for environmental protection. The results of this study have management implications, highlighting the importance of assessing tourists’ preferences as a foundation for developing sustainable tourism strategies.

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Published in Sustainability, v. 9, issue 9, 1596, p. 1-15.

© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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Funding Information 

Financial support for this work was provided by CNCSIS—UEFISCSU, Romania, project number PNII–RU type PD code 271/2010.