Case Study: Visitor Perceptions of Captive Wildlife Tourism in a Western Australian Natural Setting
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M. Hughes et al. (2005) Case Study: Visitor Perceptions of Captive Wildlife Tourism in a Western Australian Natural Setting JOURNAL OF ECOTOURISM Vol. 4, No. 2 pp. 73-91
Wildlife tourism involves a broad sweep of experiences that includes all of the aspects of the tourism genre with the distinguishing feature of animals as the primary attraction. The uniqueness of Australian wildlife in combination with factors such as remoteness and rarity appear to have provided the ideal context for successful wildlife tourism operations. Barna Mia, located in a large remnant woodland in the central southern wheatbelt of Western Australia, is approximately 165 km southeast of the state's capital, Perth. Dryandra Woodland, the location of Barna Mia, consists of a closely grouped and connected cluster of native remnant vegetation blocks. The enclosure is surrounded by electrified, vermin proof fencing to keep feral predators out and the captive fauna in. The results of the visitor survey at Barna Mia suggested the experience provided a great sense of satisfaction amongst respondents. This was both in terms of the overall satisfaction as well as satisfaction with specific parts of the experience. The feeling of being "in the wild" may have been enhanced by the lack of barriers between visitors and the animals and the absence of constraints on animal movement through the enclosure. Improving the operation of Barna Mia as an attraction in itself and as part of the Dryandra Woodland product may serve to improve its success as an attraction. However, an innately attractive tourism experience cannot work without appropriate integration within the specific wildlife tourism product of Dryandra Woodland, while coordination with tourism on a regional scale is also important.
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