The irony of tourism: visitor reflections of their impacts on Australia's World Heritage rainforest

Prideaux, Bruce, McNamara, Karen Elizabeth, and Thompson, Michelle (2012) The irony of tourism: visitor reflections of their impacts on Australia's World Heritage rainforest. Journal of Ecotourism, 11 (2). pp. 102-117.

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Tropical rainforests face a number of pressures ranging from urban settlement to climate change to outright clearing for timber. In many areas where rainforests have been protected under national law, or in some cases international covenants such as World Heritage, tourism has emerged as a new business sector. Australia's largest remaining tropical rainforest, situated in Australia's tropical north, is one such example. Cleared extensively in the past (particularly in the lowlands), tourism has now become a significant industry, largely as a result of the physical attractiveness of the resource. In Cairns, the main gateway city to the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics rainforest, approximately 2.5 million people visit annually and, as such, it may be expected that elements of the rainforest's ecosystem are likely to suffer stress. This article is concerned with identifying the perceived level of threat that tourism is having on the rainforest, based on a survey of international and domestic rainforest visitors (n = 616). Results indicate that tourists responding to the survey consider the tourism industry to pose a moderate threat to the ecological integrity and sustainability of the rainforest, highlighting the irony of their decision to visit the rainforest and contribute to the problem.

Item ID: 26171
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1747-7638
Keywords: Cairns; interpretation; sustainability; threat; tourism; Wet Tropics rainforest
Funders: Australian Government’s Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2013 00:11
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150603 Tourism Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900399 Tourism not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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