The term tourisic facilities is better than that of “tourism base”, because the latter includes the elements of the infrastructure as well. Touristic features (attractive factors) are natural, economic, and social factors of the environment that are attractive to the tourists. Although new resources can appear through human activity, the tourism phenomenon always starts from the existing one.
According to their origin, they can be divided into two groups:
- features of the natural landscape;
- characteristics of human origin (attractive factors).
Features of the natural landscape
They are very diverse based on their origin, character, and size. These make the elements of the geographical environment (topography, waters, rock formations, vegetation) and their properties (mainly climatic features) attractive factors for tourism. The natural landscape fulfills two roles at the same time: the framework of tourism activity and also a spiritual motive with its beauty.
The use of the natural landscape in tourism can take very diverse forms according to the different needs of tourists. Tourists coming from the urban environment love the original, exotic nature. In
order to be able to get close to nature and admire it safely, a modern transport network is needed, which requires a large-scale transformation of the natural landscape.
There are such elements of the natural landscape that are inaccessible to tourists. Their utilization requires structural transformation, for example: the creation of caves and gorges. In such cases, it is necessary to act so as not to modify the basic properties of the landscape (or at least minimally), to ensure a dynamic balance that protects the environment. Human influence always results in a backlash. The disturbing effect must be offset by control and protection of the environment.
The most important features of the natural landscape are the following: rock structures, topography, climate, hydrography, vegetation, fauna, cosmic factors.
The importance of landforms in tourism
These are the most diverse and richest attractors on Earth. It provides the backbone of a landscape and gives it its individuality. The topography also determines the characteristics of other natural elements, for example: its hydrography or its wildlife. But this is a mutual effect, because topography factors are enriched by the latter. The topography plays an important role in tourism with its diverse forms. Among the most important landforms, we mention: ravines, ridges, passes, crevices, gorges, canyons, cones and craters, valleys, beaches, sand dunes, caves. The karst and volcanic glacial forms are particularly attractive.
b).The ridges and peaks are points and lines where slopes meet. These are characteristic of the mountains and increase the beauty of the landscape. The attractive effect of some evidence of erosion is known, which can be found on the eroded plateaus of Europe and North America (they were often used by man to build fortifications and monasteries – Salzburg, San Marino), where it is not the difference in level, but the steepness of the form and the view that is enchanting.
Some spines are impressive in their dimensions (length, height). The topography of the Himalayas, the Andes and the Cordilleras abounds in ridges hundreds of kilometers long and 4,000-7,000 m high.
Glaciation played a major role in the formation of the ridges of the high mountains. As a result, tourists can admire the circus valleys, moraines, “U” shaped glaciers, etc.
Ridges and peaks become separate tourist objects if they are surrounded by a relatively straight topography. On the other hand, they are pushed into the background within the mountains, or together they become an attractive factor.
From the point of view of economic use, those that attract attention with their uniqueness are in an advantageous position. These result in the flow of tourists, which requires the development of
infrastructure. Peaks and ridges encourage shorter or longer hikes, depending on how far they are from the city or tourist areas.
c). Passes play an important role in managing the tourist flow. Their importance is ensured not only by their attractive effect, but also by facilitating traffic. That is why the railways and roads were built here. Many tunnels were built, for example, the Frejus in the Alps. The passes of the Alps are significant for European tourism: St. Bernard at 2478 m; St. Gotthard, Frejus. In the Pyrenees: Pas de la Casa – 2406 m. Due to their location and the view, well-used tourist centers have been established around the passes (hotels, motels, campsites, etc.).
d). Gorges and canyon valleys together form the group of the most important natural features. Each valley form has many original attractions for the tourist: caves, waterfalls, springs, interesting plant and animal species.
Canyons are the most developed types of valleys. They are formed where the flow of water has cut through rocks of different hardness. The most beautiful example of this is the Colorado River, which created an approx. 450 km long and 2.5 km deep stepped valley.
The walls of the valley are rich in different forms. The attractive effect of the gorges and canyons is enhanced by the interesting rock formations, plant and animal species found here. The blind and dry valleys in the karst region also contribute to the expansion of the tourist base. Blind valleys attract tourists with the sudden disappearance of water.
e). The sinkholes are characteristic karst forms. Gaps, sinkholes, and hollows can appear in various forms, through which the surface water courses penetrate below the surface, creating caves. The sinkholes are therefore the vestibules of the caves.
Rainwater grooves are a negative evidence of human activity. Although they lead to a significant deterioration of the natural landscape, they can also be important for tourism. Rainwater furrows are the result of slope runoff.
The erosion process manifests itself in space and depth, transporting the dusty layers. The result of this is the formation of a highly segmented topography (precipices, towers, valleys). The remains of harder rock are very interesting.
f). Volcanic craters and cones only occur where there was or is such a phenomenon. The originality of the craters and cones is ensured by their shape and the phenomena taking place there. The reputation of some volcanoes is based on its history (its impact on human settlements). The eruption of Vesuvius in 79 buried the city of Pompeii, preserving it for posterity. Etna attracts many tourists with its spectacular eruptions, while Fuji has become a sacred mountain for the Japanese. Kilimanjaro and Kenya volcanoes are of great importance in Africa, and Mauna Kea and Kilauea on the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean. The volcanoes in the North American Cordillera, Indonesia (the eruption of the Krakatoa volcano became a legend) and Kamchatka are also significant. The magic of volcanoes is also enhanced by the strength of the eruptions, although this can also pose a special danger. Therefore, when using such special places for tourism, safety must also be taken into account.
g). Atolls are the characteristic coral formations of the convert seas. Here, in the shallow, warm coastal waters, the corals build characteristic ring-shaped formations that contain a lagoon. The beauty of the atolls attracts tourists. Such a region is the coast of Florida, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, Oceania. The Great Barrier Reef in the east – Australia, where no islands have formed, but the reefs hide wonderful aquatic life, is worth mentioning.
h). Sand dunes are typical for the deserts. Like atolls and volcanoes, dunes are the result of accumulation, not destruction. An accumulation that takes various forms (sand waves, barcans, parabolic dunes) combines to create dune fields over hundreds of square kilometers in the Sahara, the Arabian Peninsula, Australia. In temperate climates, they occur mainly on beaches where sand accumulates and winds blow in one direction. Sand dunes add starkness to the desert landscape and are in constant motion. They are not considered an independent tourist source, but they are the characteristics of deserts. Due to climatic conditions, deserts do not become tourist areas.
i). The caves are not simple landforms, but a unique subsurface morphogenetic system. A cave is not just a simple underground “cavity”, but the result of a development system different from the surface. Its originality lies in its three-dimensional dimensions, length, width, height, which is even more interesting in depth.
In addition, the detailed forms that make up the subsurface morpho-dynamic system have no surface counterpart. These forms only occur in endokarst: many minerals in special shapes and colors are only characteristic of endokarst. In addition to their original shape, the caves also attract tourists by their “atmosphere”. One of the atmospheric elements is the darkness that reigns there. Jean Baures comments on this: “a night of deep, mysterious, magical sleep that attracts the brave and repels the cowardly, an ensnaring and deceptive dream that makes one of the most beautiful human adventures sublime”.
The precipitation forms are very interesting. Hanging stalactites, standing stalactites (stalagmites), stalactite columns are often larger than a human creation. Hanging stalactites, petrified icicles. They are usually cylindrical or cone-shaped, and their length varies from a few centimeters to 1-2 m. They can very rarely reach a length of 5-7 m.
Stalagmite flows are nothing more than lime precipitated from infiltrating water. In special cases, they can also take the shape of a parachute, torpedo, or bell. In addition to all this, the subsurface ice also has a great attractive effect. Famous ice caves in Europe are Demanovka in Slovakia, Eisriesenwelt in Austria.