Shifts in tourists' sentiments and climate risk perceptions following mass coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef

Curnock, Matthew I., Marshall, Nadine, Thiault, Lauric, Heron, Scott F., Hoey, Jessica, Williams, Genevieve, Taylor, Bruce, Pert, Petina L., and Goldberg, Jeremy (2019) Shifts in tourists' sentiments and climate risk perceptions following mass coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef. Nature Climate Change, 9 (7). pp. 535-541.

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Abstract

Iconic places, including World Heritage areas, are symbolic and synonymous with national and cultural identities. Recognition of an existential threat to an icon may therefore arouse public concern and protective sentiment. Here we test this assumption by comparing sentiments, threat perceptions and values associated with the Great Barrier Reef and climate change attitudes among 4,681 Australian and international tourists visiting the Great Barrier Reef region before and after mass coral bleaching in 2016 and 2017. There was an increase in grief-related responses and decline in self-efficacy, which could inhibit individual action. However, there was also an increase in protective sentiments, ratings of place values and the proportion of respondents who viewed climate change as an immediate threat. These results suggest that imperilled icons have potential to mobilize public support around addressing the wider threat of climate change but that achieving and sustaining engagement will require a strategic approach to overcome self-efficacy barriers.

Item ID: 59211
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1758-6798
Copyright Information: © 2019, Crown.
Funders: Australian and Queensland Governments, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Projects and Grants: Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program (2017–2019), Australian Government’s National Environmental Research Program, Tropical Ecosystems Hub (2011–2015), NOAA NA14NES4320003 (Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites)
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2020 23:21
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160802 Environmental Sociology @ 50%
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