NEWHOUSE, HARRIET,LILY (2017) Which features of protected areas make them attractive to wildlife-based tourists? Masters thesis, Durham University.
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Wildlife-based tourism (WBT), defined as any form of tourism that is based on visitors encountering wildlife (Higginbottom & Tribe 2005), is capable of generating substantial revenue for both local economies and conservation (Dharmaratne et al. 2000; Lindsey et al. 2007; Bayliss et al. 2014). It is largely based in protected areas (PAs) and provides important justification for their continued existence, as they come under increasing pressure for land to be put to alternative, not conservation uses, such as agriculture and mining (Balmford et al. 2015). Yet, the principal factors that drive wildlife-based (WB) tourists to visit specific PAs remain poorly understood. In this thesis, I explored the (1) species traits and (2) features of PAs that make them attractive to WB-tourists. In Chapter Two, I built a modelling framework to predict terrestrial mammal (TM) species attractiveness, based on a range of species traits and characteristics. The model predicted that large, increasingly threatened TM species are more attractive to WB-tourists than smaller, more common TM species. In Chapter Three, I built a modelling framework to predict PA attractiveness, based on a range of socioeconomic and biogeographical variables. The model predicted that larger, less remote PAs, with higher wildlife attractiveness values, are more attractive to WB-tourists than smaller, more remote PAs, with lower wildlife attractiveness values. I used the model to highlight PAs with high WBT potential that are currently underexploited. The model highlighted PAs in upper Amazonia and sub-Saharan Africa. New WBT operations in these regions could have significant socioeconomic benefits for local communities, could help generate substantial revenue for conservation and help prevent the over-utilisation of ‘popular’ WBT sites that have already been heavily exploited. However, tour operators must strike a balance between satisfying tourist demand and minimising the stress and disturbance caused to the environment by WB-tourists, to ensure WBT has a net positive impact on PA biota (Lindsey et al. 2007; Bayliss et al. 2014).
|Item Type:||Thesis (Masters)|
|Award:||Master of Science|
|Faculty and Department:||Faculty of Science > Biological and Biomedical Sciences, School of|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||16 May 2017 13:52|