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Outcome-focused national park experience management: transforming participants, promoting social well-being, and fostering place attachment

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Understanding visitor experiences is essential if park managers are to facilitate beneficial outcomes for both individuals and society. We investigated visitor experiences in a special model of thematically connected guided walking, biking, and 4WD tours in Australian national parks. Outcomes attained by first-time and repeat participants were assessed by questionnaires with more detailed insights from semi-structured interviews with repeat participants. Participants developed strong social ties with community members and experienced significant improvements in health, well-being, and competence, gaining a sense of achievement from mastering a challenge with positive implications for their lives beyond the tours. The tour series performed well in achieving visitor satisfaction, repeat participation, and word-of-mouth recommendation. The experience increased participants’ attachment to national parks, reinforcing their sense of environmental stewardship. The findings are especially relevant to efforts in parks and elsewhere to better integrate senior citizens into the community and provide opportunities to increase their physical, mental, and social well-being. Such opportunities become limited, for example, when people retire from work or suffer health impairment. The tour series proved an effective tool for outcome-focused park management, providing significant personal benefits to participants with positive implications for larger societal benefits, plus political and financial advantages for park managements.

UOW Authors


  •   Wolf, Isabelle
  •   Stricker, Heidi (external author)
  •   Hagenloh, Gerald (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2015

Citation


  • Wolf, I. D., Stricker, H. K. & Hagenloh, G. (2015). Outcome-focused national park experience management: transforming participants, promoting social well-being, and fostering place attachment. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 23 (3), 358-381.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84922505820

Number Of Pages


  • 23

Start Page


  • 358

End Page


  • 381

Volume


  • 23

Issue


  • 3

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom

Abstract


  • Understanding visitor experiences is essential if park managers are to facilitate beneficial outcomes for both individuals and society. We investigated visitor experiences in a special model of thematically connected guided walking, biking, and 4WD tours in Australian national parks. Outcomes attained by first-time and repeat participants were assessed by questionnaires with more detailed insights from semi-structured interviews with repeat participants. Participants developed strong social ties with community members and experienced significant improvements in health, well-being, and competence, gaining a sense of achievement from mastering a challenge with positive implications for their lives beyond the tours. The tour series performed well in achieving visitor satisfaction, repeat participation, and word-of-mouth recommendation. The experience increased participants’ attachment to national parks, reinforcing their sense of environmental stewardship. The findings are especially relevant to efforts in parks and elsewhere to better integrate senior citizens into the community and provide opportunities to increase their physical, mental, and social well-being. Such opportunities become limited, for example, when people retire from work or suffer health impairment. The tour series proved an effective tool for outcome-focused park management, providing significant personal benefits to participants with positive implications for larger societal benefits, plus political and financial advantages for park managements.

UOW Authors


  •   Wolf, Isabelle
  •   Stricker, Heidi (external author)
  •   Hagenloh, Gerald (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2015

Citation


  • Wolf, I. D., Stricker, H. K. & Hagenloh, G. (2015). Outcome-focused national park experience management: transforming participants, promoting social well-being, and fostering place attachment. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 23 (3), 358-381.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84922505820

Number Of Pages


  • 23

Start Page


  • 358

End Page


  • 381

Volume


  • 23

Issue


  • 3

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom