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Wildlife Tourism

The encounter between the visitor and the wildlife comprises the core of a wildlife tourism experience. This experience is a result of the interaction of elements relating to the natural resource base (wildlife and associated habitat), the visitor, the operator and host community, the economy and any management set in place. The consequences for the natural environment and for host communities can be positive, neutral or negative and all these elements depend, in turn, on the wider context in which the experience occurs. Read more
The encounter between the visitor and the wildlife comprises the core of a wildlife tourism experience. This experience is a result of the interaction of elements relating to the natural resource base (wildlife and associated habitat), the visitor, the operator and host community, the economy and any management set in place. The consequences for the natural environment and for host communities can be positive, neutral or negative and all these elements depend, in turn, on the wider context in which the experience occurs. There will often be interdependencies between and within these elements. To explain the various outcomes of wildlife tourism, and to manage it sustainably, we need to consider all these elements in an integrated way.

 

“Wildlife tourism is defined as: tourism undertaken to view and/or encounter wildlife. It can take place in a range of settings, from captive, semi-captive, to in the wild, and it encompasses a variety of interactions from passive observation to feeding and/or touching the species viewed” - Wildlife Tourism.

 

The following audiences will find wildlife tourism research especially beneficial:

  • tourism operators who are wishing to improve their wildlife based business, or seek new business opportunities
  • local or regional host communities considering an expansion of a wildlife tourism resource
  • environmental, state and national park government agencies
  • tourism industry associations and members of the travel trade
  • state and government tourism agencies
  • non-government wildlife and conservation organisations, associations and membership based groups
  • academic and education institutions and students

Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (STCRC) has completed a major research program to identify and realise opportunities for wildlife tourism in Australia and to facilitate enhancement of its sustainability. The program involved more than 40 researchers and 11 universities.

 

The Wildlife Tourism program represents the first attempt to systematically conduct research to inform sustainable development of wildlife tourism in Australia. Such research requires investigation of each of the components involved and of their interactions and thus requires an innovative and interdisciplinary approach bringing together biological, social, and economic perspectives on the visitors, host communities, tourism operators and the wildlife itself.


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