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Visitors' memories of wildlife tourism: Implications for the design of powerful interpretive experiences

By Roy Ballantyne, Jan Packer, Lucy A. Sutherland

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One of the aims of wildlife tourism is to educate visitors about the threats facing wildlife in general, and the actions needed to protect the environment and maintain biodiversity. To identify effective strategies to achieve this aim, this paper examines participants’ memories of their wildlife tourism experiences and explores processes through which such experiences can lead to long-term changes in conservation behaviour. Findings are based on 240 visitors’ extended open-ended responses to a follow-up web survey administered approximately four months after a visit to one of four marinebased wildlife tourism venues in South-East Queensland. Qualitative analysis revealed four levels of visitor response to the experience, implying a process involving what visitors actually saw and heard (Sensory Impressions), what they felt (Emotional Affinity), thought (Reflective Response), and finally what they did about it (Behavioural Response). Recommendations are provided for ways tourism managers and wildlife interpreters can maintain and strengthen these dimensions of memorable experiences in order to enhance visitor satisfaction and encourage visitors’ long-term adoption of environmentally sustainable practices.


Mason N McLary

HABRI Central

Date 2011
Publication Title Tourism Management
Volume 32
Issue 4
Pages 770-779
ISBN/ISSN 0261-5177
Publisher Elsevier
Location of Publication Exeter, UK
DOI 10.1016/j.tourman.2010.06.012
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Emotions
  2. Environmental behavior
  3. Physical environment
  4. Tourism and travel
  5. visitors
  6. wildlife