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Can a Niche-Market Captive-Wildlife Facility Place a Low-Profile Region on the Tourism Map? An Example from Western Australia

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Rural areas often present special problems in terms of tourism development owing to a lack of product, market access and infrastructure. This paper presents the findings of a case study focusing on the central southern wheat belt of Western Australia, in an area known as Dryandra Country. This area embarked on a tourism development initiative centred on a woodland and its wildlife tourism product. The aim was to develop the woodland as an internationally significant nature-based destination. This was attempted partly through constructing a captive-wildlife tourism facility, Barna Mia, housing some rare local fauna. Research during 2003 found that, while Barna Mia provided a highly satisfying experience for its visitors, there was little indication that it was progressing toward the international tourism icon status as intended. Further efforts to develop a co-ordinated regional product also appeared to be slow owing to factors relating to management of Barna Mia and tourism development in the wider region. This paper explores the issues as they were in 2003 and identifies key factors influencing the progress of tourism development in a low-profile region.
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Keywords: Captive-wildlife tourism; Western Australia; government-community relations; regional tourism product

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Curtin Sustainable Tourism Center, Curtin University, Perth, Australia 2: School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Australia

Publication date: 2005-09-01

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