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An analysis of visitor movement patterns using travel networks in a large marine park, north-western Australia

Smallwood, C.B., Beckley, L.E. and Moore, S.A. (2012) An analysis of visitor movement patterns using travel networks in a large marine park, north-western Australia. Tourism Management, 33 (3). pp. 517-528.

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Good management of tourist destinations can be enhanced by understanding the movement patterns of visitors. Different itinerary types and the concept of distance decay have been explored but there has been little application to within-destination movements or, more broadly, to protected areas. Coastal marine parks offer a challenging location for such research given the connectivity between the water and adjacent land components. The aim of the study was to describe, and quantify, within-destination movement patterns of visitors travelling for recreation throughout Ningaloo Marine Park, in north-western Australia, using various modes of travel. Data were collected using 1208 site-based interviews over a 12-month period. Results revealed visitors were highly dependent on the road network and, once at their accommodation, more than a third did not travel any further to participate in recreation. Conversely, some sites had such a strong attraction that respondents, especially first time and international visitors, travelled long distances for recreation at these sites. These findings contribute to a small, but growing, body of research on within-destination patterns. Such information is essential for protected area planning and to help managers efficiently allocate their often-limited resources.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
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