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Responsibility and preparedness for risk in national parks: Results of a visitor survey

Gstaettner, A.M., Lee, D. and Weiler, B. (2020) Responsibility and preparedness for risk in national parks: Results of a visitor survey. Tourism Recreation Research . pp. 1-15.

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In light of incident occurrence in recreational protected areas, there is a need to consider larger questions of risk and responsibility for visitor safety. Whether visitors in national parks think that their safety lies in the hands of themselves or others has important implications for the prevention of accidents. This paper sought to explore the visitor perspective of responsibility in Western Australian national parks. A visitor survey was administered over an eight-month period in 2017–2018 in four parks identified as high in visitor risk. Using data from 1059 questionnaires, a cluster analysis revealed four visitor groups who differ in their views on who is responsible for safety: the Shared Responsibility, the Individual Responsibility, the Management Responsibility, and the Indifference to Responsibility group. Further analysis revealed that visitors’ sense of responsibility was found to relate to risk perceptions, risk propensity and preparedness in parks. The results of this paper have important implications for management agencies, indicating that visitors vary in their expectations on how risks should be managed in parks. Avenues for further research are discussed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): College of Arts, Business, Law and Social Sciences
Publisher: Centre for Tourism Research
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