Wildlife Tourism in Great Britain: Making the most of a bio-diverse countryside

This source preferred by Susanna Curtin

Authors: Curtin, S.

Start date: 23 January 2013

Wildlife tourism is a growing sector of the tourist economy not just in terms of the numbers of tourists, but also the tourism businesses and NGOs who provide access to wildlife watching opportunities. Whilst there is wealth of literature on wildlife watching and its subsequent impacts and management in Africa, America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, there have been very few studies on the type of tourism demand and management of wildlife experiences in the United Kingdom where culturally there is a long tradition of animal sensibilities, wildlife watching and public access to the countryside.

This paper presents research on emerging wildlife tourist typologies and the increased media coverage of British wildlife. It discusses the subsequent independent wildlife tourism market that combine an interest in wildlife watching with other traditional holiday pursuits such as walking and sightseeing. It particularly focuses on the importance of nature reserves as these provide wildlife attractions for visitors as well as the necessary infrastructure such as hides, walkways and interpretation which allows visitors a better appreciation and experience of British fauna and flora. The discussion highlights the need for a strategic approach to wildlife destination marketing, product development and visitor management in order to reap the potential economic benefits whilst maintaining biodiversity and preventing disturbance to focal species and/or habitats. In examining the potential barriers to economic success it also considers the wider positive implications of active countryside tourism, particularly nature appreciation and support for conservation.

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