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A Spatial Analysis of Commercial Ecotourism Businesses in New Zealand: A c 1999 Benchmarking Exercise Using GIS

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New Zealand is renowned for ecotourism and nature tourism experiences, but, despite its importance, very little is known about the spatial development of ecotourism. Comprehensive benchmark information relating to commercial ecotourism operators in New Zealand does not currently exist. For the purposes of this research a New Zealand ecotourism operator database was analysed using the ArcGIS Geographical Information Systems computer software program to create maps and to perform spatial analyses. Results revealed the major ecotourism regions to be Otago, Canterbury, Waikato and Auckland. In addition, Southern Lakes, Dunedin, Kaikoura and Coromandel were identified as key ecotourism districts. The research also highlighted the growing significance of ecotourism business development in coastal and marine environments. The findings provide insights into the New Zealand ecotourism industry which could aid in the development of strategies, policies and systems for implementing and managing ecotourism. They also offer a benchmark for future comparative and trend analyses.
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Keywords: New Zealand; benchmark; ecotourism; marine; regions; spatial

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Tourism, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Publication date: 2005-09-01

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