Is the Big Five Everything? Balancing Conservation and Tourism Goals in South African National Parks

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1 Is the Big Five Everything? Balancing Conservation and Tourism Goals in South African National Parks Andrew T. Knight, PhD Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology Stellenbosch University and ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, The University of Queensland 1

2 The Conservation Context Nature conservation has significant history in South Africa Legal requirement to protect species protected areas (PAs) Protected areas are expensive to manage effectively SANParks policy: reserves to be financially self-sustaining Tourism can, and does, provide substantial revenue A tension exists between conservation goals (e.g., maintaining natural ecosystems) versus funding conservation (i.e., providing tourists their desired experience ) 2

3 Making the Trade-off Between. Natural Ecosystems? Satisfied Tourists? Legal requirement Conservation ideal Source of revenue 3

4 Background to Research Little tourism research conducted in SANParks PAs Anecdotal evidence suggests PAs are increasingly stocking The Big Five buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, rhinoceros Are SANParks PAs becoming increasingly homogenised? SANParks managers have significant autonomy over species stocked in reserves Response to perceived tourist expectations? Homogeneity trend counters national policy on complementarity a representative national PA network 4

5 Why this is a problem. Tourist preferences may not match ecosystem management best practice Homogenisation of the PA network may not actually be tourists preferred state Homogeneity trend counters national policy on complementarity a representative national PA network Evidence is not being used for making management decisions Absence of tourism information hinders sustainable and adaptive management 5

6 Research Questions What are the drivers of the homogenisation of the faunal communities of SANParks PAs? SANParks policy? Manager preferences? Tourists preferences? What are the impacts? On PA manager satisfaction and management practices? On tourist motivations and satisfaction? 6

7 Managers and Tourists SANParks Managers Tourists 7

8 Example Tourism in Oudtshoorn Municipal Tourism Planners Local and International Tourists Landscapes Ostriches The light Caves 8 Cowling, unpublished data

9 Hypotheses 1. PA managers preferences for fauna species stocked in their PAs are primarily driven by a desire to meet tourist expectations 2. PA managers have a precise and accurate understanding of the expectations that drive tourist satisfaction 3. A complementary PA network is preferred by tourists over a homogeneous PA network 4. Tourist expectations and satisfaction is defined by knowledge of natural ecosystem states 9

10 Methods Environmental Volunteer Functions Inventory (EVFI) Examine the motivations and satisfactions of managers and tourists: Recreational / nature based goals Values Personal development Social Tourism organization 10 Wright et al., submitted

11 Methods Evaluation: Literature review Document analysis Focus groups with tourists and managers 12 item questionnaire Logic model Understand how PA management relates to tourists and vice versa 75 item interview survey: 5 sections: Introductory (10 items) Motivations & Satisfaction (27 items) Ambassador potential (10 items) Burnout (13 items) Demographic questions Tests of internal consistency Factor analysis Correspondence analysis Simple summary stats 11

12 Potential Outcomes and Implications A basis for establishing feasible tourism goals A PA network-wide framework for evaluating the effectiveness of tourism initiatives and for monitoring progress towards goals Data on tourists motivations and satisfaction Data on accuracy and precision of managers understanding of their market Evidence-based conservation Basis for adaptive management 12

13 Acknowledgements Duan Biggs and Stephanie Freitag-Ronaldson for the invitation Stephanie Freitag-Ronaldson for initial ideas and discussions Dale Wright, Matte Keene and Les Underhill for collaboration Stellenbosch University for funding ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, The University of Queensland, for support Contact Andrew at: Feedback, queries, suggestions? 13

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