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Wildlife Tourism and Natural Sciences Knowledge: Challenges and Critical Factors

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This paper investigates the challenges and critical factors for the development and management of a form of wildlife tourism that is based on an active and practice-near role of natural sciences knowledge, and that, ultimately, can contribute to sustainability. Based on the study of a specific firm located in northern Norway which has developed a scientific form of wildlife tourism, the main challenges are identified in the limited access to competent and dedicated human capital and the difficulties related to networking, especially in the local area. The case study suggests that the factors that contribute positively to the attractiveness of wildlife tourism are also the ones that tend to affect its development negatively. The peripheral location makes the tourist product exotic, but at the same time it makes the recruitment of qualified co-workers particularly challenging. Similarly, the peculiarities of the individual firm contribute to the uniqueness of the tourist product, but they can isolate the individual firm from the other actors of the local context. Based on the findings, policy implications and directions for further research are identified.
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Keywords: Wildlife tourism; interpretation; science; sustainability

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Engineering and Safety, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway

Publication date: 2011-04-01

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