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Responsible nature-based tourism: Rotorua Canopy Tours in the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve in New Zealand; a critical review

The overall objective is to examine whether the Rotorua Canopy Tours (RCTs) in the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve (DRSR) follows the rules of sustainability. Tourism is primarily based on the natural environment because it plays a vital role for attracting tourists to various destinations. Consequently, massive tourist demand creates a huge stress on the natural environment. This has resulted in creating different concepts from time to time such as sustainable tourism, responsible tourism, ecotourism and ethical tourism in order to salvage the environment from tourism’s often predatory practices. New Zealand is popular as a clean and green country which has led to dramatic tourist flows to its unspoiled natural environments. This enormous demand emphasises the necessity for responsible nature-based tourism. My research seeks to discover whether any efforts are being made to render attractions more environmentally friendly. Such actions should ensure that commodification of the environment does not jeopardize its long-term sustainability. This research uses a case study, RCTs, as an activity in the nature-based tourism sector to determine whether it offers a sustainable form of tourism. The research site in the DRSR was selected because it is known as the only native forest zipline canopy tour in New Zealand and brands itself as nature-friendly. This research focuses on how its owners conduct their activities and how they direct tourists to behave responsibly when on tour, in order to determine whether they fulfil the requirements of responsible nature-based tourism. The study scrutinizes how they discourse about the activities they have set up and their environmental consequences. It also examines how the conservation programme run by the Department of Conservation that they collaborate with addresses responsible tourism. A qualitative research methodology was used for this research because my interest was in obtaining social perspectives and attitudes of the people involved in the commodification of nature. I was particularly interested about how they conceive responsible nature tourism and how they believe it can be implemented. Such issues are difficult to understand when using statistical or other quantitative methods and analysis. Critical discourse analysis was applied for data analysis. Both pros and cons have been identified in the various perceptions of key stakeholders on implementing sustainability principles to nature-based tourism. Even though the operators are making efforts to conserve the native birds, they need to have support of other stakeholders to make it effective and productive.
Type of thesis
Senarathna, D. R. (2017). Responsible nature-based tourism: Rotorua Canopy Tours in the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve in New Zealand; a critical review (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11124
University of Waikato
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