The Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) has been used in a multitude of recreation planning and management applications, and has led the way for the development of the Water Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (WROS) – its water based counterpart. More recently the Tourism Opportunity Spectrum (TOS) has been identified as a valuable tool for assessing nature-based tourism viability and host community-visitor relationships (Butler and Waldbrook, 2003). This tool relies on important tourism conditions of site access, compatibility of other uses, regimentation, tourism impacts, onsite management, and social perceptions of visitors and hosts.

This tool however, has its merits for application, but sometimes suffers from limited practical use in the field. This is in part because there is no field inventory process or measurement protocol like those that have been developed for both ROS and WROS

This paper will describe the process of creating a similar field-ready, inventory protocol for TOS, and present the statistical results of the field testing of the instrument. The scale was based off of the components that have been established in the TOS literature, and uses the layout of the WROS inventories as a design guide. After development of the TOS protocol was established, the instrument was then field-tested along the New River in Southwestern Virginia. A series of 10 Separate TOS inventories were conducted by individuals at the same sites during the same time, and results were analyzed for inter-correlations to test for inter-rater reliability.

Results of the correlation analysis across raters at various sites indicate that this newly-developed TOS field inventory is correctly capturing the elements of TOS, suggesting a new planning and management tool for nature-based tourism may be emerging.


Tourism Opportunity Spectrum, Tourism Planning, Scale Development