'Last chance tourism' at the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, Westland Tai Poutini National Park: A survey of visitor experience
This visitor survey represents Stage 2 of a project investigating Last Chance Tourism at the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, Westland Tai Poutini National Park. Visitor data was collected from 500 visitors during two data collection phases: late December 2013 to early January 2014, and February 2014. The rapid and significant biophysical changes occurring at both Franz Josef and Fox Glacier challenge the data already, as significant access issues have arisen at Fox Glacier in the short time since fieldwork was completed, potentially changing the visitor experience. While our data do not capture these latest changes, this survey provides baseline data on the current visitor experience of the glaciers. For visitors, most of whom are in the glacier region for the first time, the concept of ‘last chance tourism’ may not be immediately relevant as they accept the conditions they encounter, rather than plan in advance for what they might be able to do. However, when asked to indicate the importance of a variety of reasons for visiting, the highest scoring of the non-glacier reasons were to be close to nature, to experience a sense of discovery and to experience places I have read about. In this respect, having accurate information on the glaciers and activities available is of utmost importance and presents significant challenges given the rapid changes in glacier access that have occurred in recent years. From the tourism destination perspective, the ability to continue to attract visitors is vital to destination survival. Managing visitor expectations is difficult when conditions are changing rapidly and those responsible for supplying the glacier tourism experience face significant challenges associated with maintain appropriate access, visitor safety and operational costs. These business and management challenges, along with responses and adaptations to glacier change, were explored via a series of stakeholder interviews conducted in Stage 1 of this ‘Last Chance Tourism’ and Westland Tai Poutini National Park project.... [Show full abstract]
Fields of Research1506 Tourism
TypeReport (Technical Report)
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