Ryan, C. & Saward, J. (2004). The zoo as ecotourism attraction – visitor reactions, perceptions and management implications: the case of Hamilton Zoo, New Zealand. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 12(3), 245-266.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/8172
This paper reports results from a survey of 359 visitors to Hamilton Zoo, New Zealand. The questionnaire comprised items relating to motives for visiting the zoo, and evaluations of attributes, thereby permitting an importance-evaluation approach. The construction of the questionnaire was prompted by zoo management wishing to learn more about what motivated visits, and whether there were perceived deficiencies in visitors' experiences of the zoo. Like other studies (e.g. Turley, 2001) it was concluded that zoos represent an opportunity for family-based trips. However, while some opportunities exist for learning, on the whole visitors were not generally interested in acquiring detailed information about wildlife. Indeed, more importance was attached to the viewing of animals than to the recognition that possibly animals might require 'private places'. These findings prompt a discussion about the extent to which zoos might be able to replace or supplement trips to natural habitats as a means of viewing animals, and concludes that for this to happen significant changes in zoo layout would be required. Additionally, possible implications for zoo management are discussed.
© 2004 C. Ryan
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