If nature matters - How do we measure tourist motivations and who cares?
If Nature Matters - How Do We Measure Tourist Motivations and Experiences and Who Cares? Helen Roobottom Eco-tourism is widely regarded as the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry, however there is limited research on the psychological motivations that underpin tourist choices in this area of tourism. Some researchers have reported that 'eco-tourists' may hold stronger pro-environmental values and positive psychological orientation towards nature when compared to 'mainstream' tourists, but there is little empirical research to support these notions, or to determine if these characteristics can explain their leisure choices or behavior. There is also limited research on the impact that eco-tourism experiences might have on tourists in terms of increasing their sense of care towards the environment. What has been lacking is the availability of a psychometric scale designed to measure an environmental ethic of care, the affective or emotional component of a pro-environmental value orientation (Naess, 1989; Fien, 2003). This paper describes the initial stages in development of such a scale. A large set of items seeking to tap the construct of an environmental ethic of care was generated and distributed to an expert reference group for the purpose of seeking feedback in terms of individual item clarity and relevance to the construct of interest. A revised item set was tested on a small group of respondents who actually completed the questionnaire. These respondents were interviewed in terms of their cognitions while completing items, and this information was used in further refinement of the scale. To date there has been no simple psychometrically sound measure of an environmental ethic of care, and usefulness of such a scale would be most apparent to managers of environmental parks and ecotourism providers in evaluating the effectiveness of the educational aspects of these experiences, as well as providing better quality information on the motivations and needs of visitors to these venues for marketing and service provision purposes. Fien, J. (2003). Learning to Care: Education and compassion.Unpublished manuscript, Nathan, Qld. Naess, A. (1989). Ecology, Community and Lifestyle. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Leisure Matters - 8th World Leisure Congress