Reading, learning and enacting: interpretation at visitor sites in the Wet Tropics rainforest of Australia

McNamara, Karen, and Prideaux, Bruce (2010) Reading, learning and enacting: interpretation at visitor sites in the Wet Tropics rainforest of Australia. Environmental Education Research, 16 (2). pp. 173-188.

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The northern Wet Tropics rainforest of Australia was declared a world heritage site in 1988 and now supports an extensive tourism industry that attracts an estimated 2.5 million local and international visits annually. As part of the visitor experience, many sites include both environmental and cultural interpretation experiences, which range from static displays to one-on-one guided tours. This paper identifies visitor demand and level of satisfaction with the static signage and displays used at rainforest sites throughout the Wet Tropics. The research involves visitor surveys conducted in 2007 and 2008 and observations at a number of rainforest sites. The results indicate that visitors consider the level of interpretation to be adequate, but appear to use it poorly. While higher at commercial sites, visitor interest in reading the interpretation is very low at public sites. Overall, this article seeks to address whether the aims of nature-based interpretation, including education and the influencing of attitudes and site behaviour, are being achieved.

Item ID: 16290
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-5871
Keywords: nature; observation; surveys; sustainability; tourism
Date Deposited: 03 May 2011 04:29
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 > 900302 Socio-Cultural Issues in Tourism @ 100%
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