Encounters with wildlife in Cairns, Australia: where, what, who...?
The management of wildlife resources, including encounters that occur between tourists and wildlife, has emerged as a major issue for the tourism industry and management agencies. This paper explores the preferences for wildlife encounters of visitors in Cairns, Australia. Based on a survey of 287 international tourists the research found that 73.5% of respondents were interested in some form of wildlife encounters whilst in the region. Most respondents said they would like to experience wildlife in a controlled setting either in a zoo or in a wildlife park (64%), while wildlife tours wore the least popular form of wildlife encounter (32%). When asked about their specific wildlife experiences in Cairns, 25% of respondents reported visiting a zoo or wildlife park, 36% reported wildlife experiences in national parks and only 3% participated in a commercial tour. The preference for encounters in a controlled setting is an important factor in determining strategies that should be adopted by the Cairns tourism industry as it seeks to retain unique wildlife assets in an era of climate change and increasing urbanisation. This paper will explore these issues in the Cairns region.
Journal of Ecotourism
Tourism Resource Appraisal