Successful interpretation in Great Barrier Reef tourism: dive in or keep out of it?

Coghlan, Alexandra, Fox, K. Ruth, Prideaux, Bruce, and Luck, Michael (2009) Successful interpretation in Great Barrier Reef tourism: dive in or keep out of it? In: Proceedings of the CMT 2009, the 6th International Congress on Coastal and Marine Tourism. From: CMT 2009, the 6th International Congress on Coastal and Marine Tourism, 23 - 26 June 2009, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

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Abstract

Marine wildlife tourism has become one of the fastest growing tourism sectors. In the context of the Great Barrier Reef, it focuses on five types of activities: (i) “swim-with” programs, (ii) surface watching activities (whales and dolphins); (iii) diving (corals, sharks, etc), (iv) reef snorkeling trips and (v) glass bottom boat tours. It is proposed that management, product design and experience, and outcome will be different for each of these and not all findings within marine wildlife tourism are transferable between tourism types.

This paper looks at patterns of activities on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), using visitors surveys (N=3407) collected in a four year study of GBR tourism. Results suggest that the most popular activity is snorkeling (75.5%), followed by swimming (46.2%) and glass bottom boat tours (43.6%). Divers made up a total of 25% of the sample. There were significant differences in the travel experiences and reef tour satisfaction ratings between respondents participating in different types of activities. Non-divers were less likely to have been to other reefs before, less motivated to visit the region to see the GBR, staff had a greater influence on their satisfaction, and they were more likely to say that interpretation during their experience changed their appreciation of the reef and their behaviour. Interpretation had the greatest influence on the behaviour and attitudes of respondents who had participated in a combination of activities, and these respondents also rated their satisfaction with the tour higher than other groups. The implications of the findings are discussed.

Item ID: 9506
Item Type: Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
Keywords: marine; tourism; interpretation; Great Barrier Reef; activities
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ISBN: 978-620-44213-8
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2010 23:17
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150606 Tourist Behaviour and Visitor Experience @ 100%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900399 Tourism not elsewhere classified @ 100%
Citation Count from Scopus Scopus 1
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