Sustaining the physical and social dimensions of wilderness tourism: the perceptual approach to wilderness management in New Zealand
Higham, James E S
The dynamics of the tourism industry are well illustrated by the case of New Zealand’s tourism development over the last decade. The number of international tourists visiting New Zealand has doubled in the last ten years to approximately 1.5 million annual visitors. Associated with this growth has been a significant shift in patterns of tourist demand. No longer do most tourists simply comply with established tourist routes linking the high profile scenic attractions. Rather tourists have demonstrated a preference for more independent and dispersed patterns of travel, including an increase in demand for settings that offer subjective qualities of wilderness experience. This poses a complex but intriguing management challenge. If wilderness recreation involves pristine natural settings in the complete absence of facility development and visitor management, then these resources are more prone to degradation so than any other natural tourism resources. This paper suggests that an understanding of tourist perceptions of wilderness is crucial to the management of wilderness tourism, and considers the application of the perceptual approach to wilderness tourism as a means of sustaining wilderness values while promoting the satisfaction of visitor expectations.
Research Type: Journal Article
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