Determinants of Spending of Whale Shark Tour Participants
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Whale shark tourism is an icon industry in Western Australia. In 2006, Whale shark tour participants spent $6.0 million in the Ningaloo Coast region of Western Australia and added between $2.4 million and $4.6 million to the regional economy in direct expenditure (Catlin, Jones, Norman, & Wood, forthcoming). Most whale shark tours take place before the peak tourist season in the region, reducing the effects of seasonality in a remote regional location that is becoming increasingly reliant on tourism. However, no research to date has been conducted on the determinants of whale shark tour participants’ (henceforth, participants) expenditure. Such research can be used to increase the spending of participants and in marketing. In order to identify the determinants of expenditure amongst tour participants, we carried out two sets of regression analysis, one for daily spend and another for total expenditure in the region. The data analysed here was collected through a survey distributed to participants between April and June, 2006. The results here are preliminary and will be augmented with further analysis.
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