What fosters awe-inspiring experiences in nature-based tourism destinations?
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Awe, an intense, and usually positive emotion often experienced by individuals visiting nature-based tourism destinations, has the potential to nurture strong connections between individuals and their environment. Despite this, awe research has been neglected in the tourism literature, especially in relation to the aspects or features that foster awe-inspiring experiences. This study sought to rectify this by focusing on such experiences in the remote, unique Kimberley region in north-western Australia. A total of 49 tourist interviews were conducted to ascertain their responses to the question “what has been your most awe-inspiring experience and why?” Responses highlighted five distinct facets contributing to respondents’ awe-inspiring experiences: marine fauna, aesthetics, ecological phenomena, vast geological landscapes and reflective/perspective moments. Future research should focus on exploring the applicability of these facets to other nature-based tourism destinations.
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