MEASURING PLACE ATTACHMENT TO CĂLIMANI NATIONAL PARK (ROMANIA) AMONG LOCAL RESIDENTS AND TOURISTS. PRELIMINARY FINDINGS
IZABELA AMALIA MIHALCA1, M. B. IOVU2
1PhD candidate, Babeş-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca, Faculty of Geography, Romania, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2Assist. prof., PhD, Babeş-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Romania, e-mail: email@example.com.
ABSTRACT. – Measuring Place Attachment to Călimani National Park (Romania) among Local Residents and Tourists. Preliminary Findings. Understanding the attachments that people develop for certain places is an interesting area of study, but with little attention in Romanian empirical research. This study introduces the concepts of place identity and place dependence in relation to a specific area within the local culture of the Land of Dorna. Starting from previous studies carried on western samples, a research instrument measuring the degree and content of place attachment was translated and adapted. 86 respondents (52 residents and 34 tourists) filled in the questionnaire. Comparing the degree of attachment, there was no significant difference among the two samples. However, local residents tended to display higher levels of place identity, while tourists displayed more emotional functionality to the study area. Place attachment is deeply embodied in the local culture. Due to the research design the generalization of the results is limited. However, this study may act as a starting point in researching other geographical mental spaces. The lands of Romania are unique social and cultural spaces with specific attachment patterns. Future studies should consider larger and representative samples in order to find additional patterns of attachment among residents and other individuals (e.g. tourists, visitors, new residents, other communities etc.).
Keywords: place attachment, place identity, place dependence, local culture, Land of Dorna, tourists.