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Visitor satisfaction,loyalty and protected areas: a review and the future

Rodger, K., Moore, S.A. and Taplin, R. (2012) Visitor satisfaction,loyalty and protected areas: a review and the future. School of Environmental Science, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia.

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Abstract

Managers of protected areas have the difficult task of protecting and conserving natural areas whilst facilitating tourism and the associated benefits for visitors. Understanding visitors, and the quality of their experiences, is becoming increasingly important. Visitors are an important source of revenue for protected area management as well as providing much‐needed societal support for such areas and their management agencies. Visitor satisfaction has been widely used as a measure of performance by managers.

Although satisfaction provides important insights into visitors’ experiences, it provides little information regarding visitor’s intentions post‐visit. It is the behaviours predicted by these intentions that are important for managers: will visitors return, will they recommend the park (or park system) to others, will they volunteer their time, are they willing to pay (increased) park fees? This is the information needed by managers in times of declining budgets, fiscal uncertainties and increasing accountability requirements.

The aim of this review is to assist protected area managers to move beyond satisfaction to measuring and understanding the intended behaviours of visitors and hence their loyalty. Moving beyond satisfaction requires: (1) an understanding of visitor satisfaction and service quality and their influences on loyalty; (2) definitions and measurement of visitor loyalty; and (3) research and performance reporting on loyalty.

Publication Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Series Name: Report prepared for the WA Department of Environment and Conservation, Parks Victoria and the Parks Forum. Technical Report.
Publisher: School of Environmental Science, Murdoch University
Notes: Technical Report
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/16887
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