The Influence of an Ecological Worldview on Tourist Consumers' Behaviour and Choices: What's Love Got to do with it?
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At this point in human history our ongoing destruction of the natural environment and degradation of the planet’s living systems, is reaching catastrophic proportions, and there seems little doubt that much of this degradation has been at the hands of humankind. Coupled with a growing recognition of the significant threats to the natural environment, there has been a “greening” of the market and also of the consumer, most likely in response to changes in social norms and the imperatives of climate change. Ecotourism, marketed as environmentally sensitive tourism, is considered to be one of the fastest growing sectors of a global tourism industry that generates billions of dollars annually (Fennell, 2003; Page & Dowling, 2002; Weaver, 2001a; Wight, 2001). In spite of the proliferation of eco-tours and nature based tourism offerings, little is known about the intrinsic psychological motivations of the consumers of these experiences (Fennel, 2003; Holden & Sparrowhawk, 2002; Wight, 2001), and some propose that there is little evidence for differentiation between the so-called “ecotourist”, as a more environmentally sensitive and aware consumer, and the mainstream or mass tourist (Sharpley, 2006). Moreover, there is a paucity of crossdisciplinary research incorporating theoretical models from environmental psychology and philosophy. This represents a substantial gap in the literature which impedes the development of theoretical and conceptual models of the psychology of these consumers and their motivations, both within the tourism setting and in their daily lives. This study sought to address this gap in the literature and makes a significant contribution to the ecotourism literature by linking models and concepts within the extant environmental psychology and environmental philosophy literature in developing a psychological profile of the consumer who prefers ecotourism type experiences over more mainstream tourism activities. Furthermore, this research also extends the environmental psychology literature by incorporating a new construct of love and care for nature into established models of pro-environmental altruism and environmentally relevant consumer choice.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Griffith Business School
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The request for restricted paper and digital access for a period of 24 months has been approved, with effect from 14 June 2009.