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Valuing the wild, remote and beautiful: Using Public Participation GIS to inform tourism planning in the Kimberley Coast, Western Australia

Strickland-Munro, J., Kobryn, H.ORCID: 0000-0003-1004-7593, Moore, S.A. and Brown, G. (2016) Valuing the wild, remote and beautiful: Using Public Participation GIS to inform tourism planning in the Kimberley Coast, Western Australia. In: 7th International conference on Sustainable Tourism, 18 - 20 May, Valencia, Spain

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The remote Kimberley region in Western Australia presents a unique nature based tourism destination. One of the world’s last wildernesses, the Kimberley is one of the least-impacted marine environments in the world. Tourism in the region is growing rapidly, driven by stunning natural landscapes, unparalleled nature-based experiences and a vibrant Indigenous culture. Despite this, there has been virtually no research into how stakeholders value the Kimberley and spatially explicit investigations are lacking. State marine protected area planning, currently in a formative stage in the region, requires such spatially explicit social data to complement existing biophysical information. This paper reports on findings from a Public Participation GIS survey with 206 stakeholders undertaken in 2015 as part of a broader research project into socio-cultural values and management preferences for the Kimberley coast. Stakeholders’ spatially linked values were collected via an internet-based mapping survey for the purpose of supporting future planning and management in the region. Stakeholders mapped over 4,100 value locations, with values relating to scenery/aesthetics, recreational fishing, Aboriginal culture and nature-based tourism being most prominent. Analysis identified a clear spatial clustering of values across the region with a number of value ‘hotspots’ evident. Tourism planners and managers can analyse these hotspots to identify areas of potential congruence and conflict, thus assisting in retaining the qualities of the region that support ongoing tourism. By generating spatially explicit information on stakeholder values and areas of importance, this research makes an important contribution to tourism planning and management in the Kimberley.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
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