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Sustainable Wildlife Tourism in New Zealand: An Analysis of Visitor Experiences

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Visitors to wildlife tourism attractions can provide valuable insights into the sustainability of the businesses that they visit. Qualitative data collection employing participant observations and visitor interviews was conducted at 12 ecotourism operations that offer wildlife tourism experiences in New Zealand. The objective was to develop insights into the visitor experience and to understand the viewpoints of visitors regarding the sustainability of those experiences. Although other dimensions of the wildlife tourism experience exist, important social and ecological dimensions of the visitor experience emerged from this research. Four prominent themes, which were identified within these dimensions, are presented and discussed. The results provide insights into sustainable wildlife tourism development in New Zealand, with implications for the design of interpretation programs, visitor management, and the delivery of several defining aspects of sustainable wildlife tourism experiences.

Keywords: experiences; sustainable; tourism; visitor; wildlife

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10871200390180127

Affiliations: University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Publication date: June 1, 2003

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