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Beyond Ecotourism: The Environmentally Responsible Tourist in the General Travel Experience

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Ashift of attention from the dominant product orientation in environmentally sustainable tourism to a demand orientation has been suggested as a way of minimizing the effects of the inherent trade-offs the tourism industry faces between maximization of profits and investment in environmental sustainability. The success of such an approach depends on the existence of a class of tourists who are not only motivated to take care of the natural surroundings of the host destination, whether they are traveling in an ecotourism or general tourism context, but also represent an economically attractive market segment. The aim of this study is to investigate whether there is empirical evidence for the existence of such a segment among the wider tourism population and, if so, how can it be characterized and thus marketed to. Willingness to pay is used as a criterion to define this segment, as it implicitly accounts for the trade-off that suggests environmental protection comes at a price. Results from the empirical survey study conducted in Australia indicate that environmentally responsible tourists who are willing to pay for environmental initiatives taken on by their tour operator can be characterized by a distinct profile with respect to travel information seeking, destination preferences, travel behavior, and willingness to pay—indicating that targeting such a segment of tourists in the general tourism context represents an attractive supplementary strategy to traditional supply-sided measures of sustainable destination management.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-12-01

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  • The aim of Tourism Analysis is to promote a forum for practitioners and academicians in the fields of Leisure, Recreation, Tourism, and Hospitality (LRTH). As a interdisciplinary journal, it is an appropriate outlet for articles, research notes, and computer software packages designed to be of interest, concern, and of applied value to its audience of professionals, scholars, and students of LRTH programs the world over.
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