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Environmental performance of a conservation attraction: the potential impact of visitor learning and behaviour change

Environmental performance of a conservation attraction: the potential impact of visitor learning and behaviour change
Environmental performance of a conservation attraction: the potential impact of visitor learning and behaviour change
Nature based visitor attractions desire to be a positive influence on the people who visit, whether they are day visitors, members or organised school groups. Much work has been done to evaluate learning in visitors with mixed results, and demonstrating actual change in behaviour as a result of any learning has only been possible in a few, narrowly focussed studies. Using a combination of GPS visitor tracking and surveys, never before tried on this scale in this type of attraction, variations in spatial behaviour were found with group type, with learning and with intention to change behaviour. Further public surveys, analysis of schoolchildren's drawings of animals, focus groups discussions and responses on Facebook were combined with the tracking analysis to give a unique insight into the influence of an attraction on visitor learning and behaviour change resulting from repeated contact.

Conservation organisations and attractions strive to have a positive environmental impact, but operating a visitor attraction has negative environmental and social impacts, often in direct conflict with the aims of the organisation. The negative impacts could potentially, however, be alleviated, or compensated for, if enough visitors could be inspired to modify their behaviour in their lives away from the attraction. Visitors and schoolchildren to Marwell Zoo were confirmed to be learning during their visit, and visitors were open to calls to action to prevent biodiversity loss. A small proportion reported an intention to change behaviour following their visit, and some repeat visitors gave examples of behaviours they had already changed as a result of visiting Marwell Zoo. Recommendations are made to increase the proportion of visitors changing behaviour, and a mechanism is suggested to incorporate visitor behaviour change into overall environmental reporting.
University of Southampton
East, Duncan
930e7fa3-ac03-4a98-b697-395ed8651785
East, Duncan
930e7fa3-ac03-4a98-b697-395ed8651785
Osborne, Patrick
c4d4261d-557c-4179-a24e-cdd7a98fb2b8

East, Duncan (2017) Environmental performance of a conservation attraction: the potential impact of visitor learning and behaviour change. Doctoral Thesis, 276pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Nature based visitor attractions desire to be a positive influence on the people who visit, whether they are day visitors, members or organised school groups. Much work has been done to evaluate learning in visitors with mixed results, and demonstrating actual change in behaviour as a result of any learning has only been possible in a few, narrowly focussed studies. Using a combination of GPS visitor tracking and surveys, never before tried on this scale in this type of attraction, variations in spatial behaviour were found with group type, with learning and with intention to change behaviour. Further public surveys, analysis of schoolchildren's drawings of animals, focus groups discussions and responses on Facebook were combined with the tracking analysis to give a unique insight into the influence of an attraction on visitor learning and behaviour change resulting from repeated contact.

Conservation organisations and attractions strive to have a positive environmental impact, but operating a visitor attraction has negative environmental and social impacts, often in direct conflict with the aims of the organisation. The negative impacts could potentially, however, be alleviated, or compensated for, if enough visitors could be inspired to modify their behaviour in their lives away from the attraction. Visitors and schoolchildren to Marwell Zoo were confirmed to be learning during their visit, and visitors were open to calls to action to prevent biodiversity loss. A small proportion reported an intention to change behaviour following their visit, and some repeat visitors gave examples of behaviours they had already changed as a result of visiting Marwell Zoo. Recommendations are made to increase the proportion of visitors changing behaviour, and a mechanism is suggested to incorporate visitor behaviour change into overall environmental reporting.

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Final Thesis - Duncan East 223362162 - Version of Record
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
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Published date: July 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 420754
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/420754
PURE UUID: 3f420d2b-624c-4132-9f6a-08fadc93e749
ORCID for Patrick Osborne: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8919-5710

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 15 May 2018 16:30
Last modified: 16 Apr 2020 00:29

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