The third criterion of ecotourism: are ecotourists more concerned about sustainability than other tourists?

Beaumont, Narelle (2011) The third criterion of ecotourism: are ecotourists more concerned about sustainability than other tourists? Journal of Ecotourism, 10 (2). pp. 135-148. ISSN 1472-4049

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Abstract

Ecotourism can be defined by three core criteria: nature, learning and sustainability. The ecotourist market has been segmented by the nature and learning criteria only. It has been assumed that ecotourists are environmentally concerned and therefore sustainability is a factor in their decision-making. However, little empirical research has confirmed this assumption. This study surveyed 243 respondents participating in an ecotourism experience in Australia. It identified ecotourists according to the nature and learning criteria as per previous segmentation studies. Pro-environmental attitudes were measured as an indication of their support for sustainability. Results revealed no significant differences in pro-environmental attitudes between those identified as ecotourists and those considered non-ecotourists. While demand exists for nature and learning experiences, compliance with the sustainability criterion seems to be no more a factor in ecotourist decision-making than for mainstream tourists. Implications are that market segmentation research should consider all relevant criteria when segmenting a market for a particular product to ensure supply matches demand. However, demand for certain products can be created by innovative marketing practices. This would enable the ecotourism industry to respond to the market’s demand for nature and learning, but also influence the behaviour and structure of the market with regard to sustainability.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Accepted Version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Depositing User: Dr Narelle Beaumont
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business and Law - School of Management and Marketing
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2011 02:19
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 00:45
Uncontrolled Keywords: core criteria of ecotourism; product differentiation; market segmentation; ecotourist market; pro-environmental attitudes; sustainability
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1506 Tourism > 150603 Tourism Management
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1506 Tourism > 150604 Tourism Marketing
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO2008): B Economic Development > 90 Commercial Services and Tourism > 9003 Tourism > 900302 Socio-Cultural Issues in Tourism
Identification Number or DOI: doi: 10.1080/14724049.2011.555554
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/19547

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