The problems concerning the development of show caves are here considered by taking into account different aspects of the problem. A procedure to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been established in the last decade and it is now currently applied. Such an assessment starts with a pre-operational phase to obtain sufficient information on the undisturbed status of a cave to be developed into a show cave. Successively a programme for its development is established with the scope to optimise the intervention on the cave at the condition that its basic environmental parameters are not irreversibly modified. The last phase of the assessment is focussed to assure a feedback through a monitoring network in order to detect any unforeseen difference or anomaly between the project and the effective situation achieved after the cave development. Some data on some of the most important show caves in the world are reported and a tentative evaluation of the economy in connection with the show caves business is eventually made.



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