Environmental Values And Behaviours Of Adventure Tourism .

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African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Vol. 5 (4) - (2016)ISSN: 2223-814X Copyright: 2014 AJHTL - Open Access- Online @ http//: www.ajhtl.comEnvironmental Values and Behaviours of Adventure TourismOperators: The case of the Tsitsikamma, South AfricaJulia Kathryn GiddyUniversity of Johannesburgjuliag@uj.ac.zaAbstractAdventure tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the tourism industry. As a unique form ofnature-based tourism, in that it involves active engagement with nature, the relationship between theadventure tourism industry and the environment has yet to be adequately explored. The vital role of theenvironment in adventure tourism has been mentioned throughout literature, but the environmentalperspectives of adventure tourism operators are largely unknown. This study examines the attitudes andpractices of adventure tourism operators through data collected from five companies in the Tsitsikamma,South Africa, a hot-spot for adventure tourism in a unique environment. It first demonstrates the widespectrum of initiatives taken by different adventure tourism companies that operate within this unique andfragile environment. The results also show that this group of adventure guides do have some sense ofenvironmental awareness, though environmental values were, generally, relatively low when comparedwith other similar studies. However, this group of adventure guides do demonstrate a number ofbehaviours taken to minimize the environmental impact of these activities.Keywords: adventure tourism, New Environmental Paradigm, South Africa, environmental values,environmental management, adventure guidesIntroductionIn recent years adventure tourism has become a global phenomenon. Once relatively limited,the increase in commercial adventure tourism has led to it becoming one of the most significanttourism sectors (Adventure Travel Trade Association, 2015). It is defined as ‘guided commercialtours where the principal attraction is an outdoor activity that relies on features of the naturalterrain, generally requires specialized sporting or similar equipment, and is exciting for tourclients’ (Buckley, 2006, p.1). Its growth has become particularly apparent in the developingworld, due to the vast natural resources available and the relatively low capital needed todevelop many types of adventure tourism (Rogerson, 2004). South Africa, in particular, hasseen a recent growth in adventure tourism, and in 2016 was ranked the top adventuredestination (Belles & Winternberg, 2015). It has also been featured in the United Nations WorldTourism Organisation’s report on the state of adventure tourism (Beckmann, Martin, Petrak, &Sproule, 2014). There are many reasons why South Africa is suited for adventure tourism, butone of the most notable is the striking and unique landscapes which provide ideal settings for arange of activities considered adventure tourism (McKay, 2016). Although the environment,undoubtedly, plays an important role in adventure tourism (Buckley, 2006; Pomfret, 2006;Swarbrooke, Beard, Leckie, & Pomfret, 2003), there has been little research on the perceptionsof adventure tourism operators towards the environment. A fair amount of research hasinvestigated the physical environmental impacts of adventure tourism activities on theenvironment (Giddy, 2015). The negative impacts mentioned are considered a critical issuefacing the industry as a whole, as these environments are not only a primary draw for adventuretourists, but also often critical for the activity to take place (Williams & Soutar, 2005). The study1

African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Vol. 5 (4) - (2016)ISSN: 2223-814X Copyright: 2014 AJHTL - Open Access- Online @ http//: www.ajhtl.comat hand, therefore, seeks to fill a gap by investigating the perceptions of adventure tourismoperators towards the environment generally, their environmental behaviour while at work andthe measures taken by operators to minimize the damage to the environment caused by theactivity. This information has important implications and should be used in the effectivedevelopment of environmental management strategies for the nature-based and adventuretourism industries.Adventure Tourism in South AfricaAlthough adventure tourism is rapidly growing South Africa, research on the subject in thisregion is relatively limited. A few studies have examined issues and challenges facing theadventure tourism industry as a whole. Rogerson (2007) noted some of the challenges facingthe development of adventure tourism in South Africa. One was the lack of marketing,particularly marketing South Africa as an ‘adventure destination.’ In addition, the relatively smallsize of companies, which are typically run by enthusiasts creates issues for effective businessmanagement. Finally, Rogerson (2007) found that one of the primary issues facing the growth ofthe industry is the need for qualified staff with specific skills. McKay (2013a), in a review ofmanagement issues facing the adventure tourism industry in the Southern African DevelopmentCommunity (SADC) also cited issues of marketing and skilled labour as problematic in thedevelopment and sustainability of adventure tourism in South Africa. However, McKay (2013a)noted a number of additional obstacles to effective development and management of theindustry in this region including the development of standardization, particularly with regards tosafety, and risk management strategies, ensuring that the industry increase the ability for thelocal economy to benefit from development, and the environmental management implicationsassociated with adventure tourism. In a more recent study, McKay (2016) found that thegeographic distribution of adventure tourism operations is uneven, with the majority found in theWestern Cape and KwaZulu Natal. She argues that there is great potential for increaseddevelopment of adventure tourism in the remaining provinces. Specific activities consideredadventure tourism have also been the topic of some research in South Africa. McKay (2014a)found that the South African bungee jumping industry is globally competitive, with iconic bungeejumping sites, most notably the Bloukrans Bungee, one of the highest in the world. In addition, afew studies have examined the white water tourism industry. McKay (2014b) analyzed thecharacteristics of white water adventure tourism along the Ash River, KwaZulu Natal, comparingrafting and kayaking. She found very different profiles between the two industries, with raftingmuch more commercialized than kayaking. Greffrath and Roux (2012) sought to demonstratethe significance of white water rafting along the Vaal River in the Vredefort World Heritage Site.They found that not only were participants exceedingly satisfied with their rafting experiences, itwas also the most important reason for visiting the area for the majority of tourists. Thisdemonstrates the significance of adventure tourism activities for the sustainability and growth ofspecific tourism destinations, especially in South Africa.A few studies have examined the role of the environment in adventure tourism, with a focus onSouth Africa. McKay (2013b) addressed issues of land use conflict between the localgovernment and the tourism industry along the Ash River in South Africa. The government hasproposed the development of a hydroelectric plant which would essentially destroy tourism onthe river. This would have significant consequences for the local economy, which is depend ontourism. Giddy and Webb (2016b) found that the environment is playing an increasinglyimportant role in the motivations of adventure tourists, particularly in the context of specificactivities. In another study, Giddy and Webb (2016a) found that the natural environment is2

African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Vol. 5 (4) - (2016)ISSN: 2223-814X Copyright: 2014 AJHTL - Open Access- Online @ http//: www.ajhtl.comsignificant in several aspects of adventure tourism participation. According to their findings,participants in commercial adventure tourism not only seek out interactions with theenvironment, but also the primary reason for destination selection was due to the naturalfeatures of the environment. This supports authors such as Bell and Lyall (2002) who argue thatin the current commercialized context of adventure tourism, participants seek to engage withnew and unique environments. They assert that the experience is only valid if it occurs in aunique setting. The fact that South Africa is seen to provide the necessarily unique environmentin which to participate in adventure tourism has positive implications for successful developmentin the future.Environmental Impacts of Adventure TourismA number of studies have investigated the physical environmental impacts caused by adventuretourism. The majority of these studies have been activity-specific and therefore a wide range ofenvironmental impacts have been linked directly to adventure tourism. For example, researchhas found a number of impacts linked to hiking, a common adventure tourism activityconsidered relatively low impact, one of the most significant of which is trampling. Trampling cancause a number of environmental issues such as vegetation loss, loss of biodiversity,introduction of alien species, and disruption of wildlife (Cole, 2004; Dodds, 2009). In addition,scuba diving has been shown to have a number of environmental impacts including destructionof already fragile reef systems (Doiron & Weissenberger, 2014; Gossling, Linden, Helmersson,Liljenberg, & Quarm, 2008; Lucrezi, Saayman, & van der Merwe, 2013). Another adventuretourism activity, which has been the discussion of much research, is mountaineering andtrekking (Nepal, 2003; Zurick, 1992). In the case of trekking and mountaineering in Nepal, anumber of environmental impacts have been found, mostly notably the large quantity of wastethat has been deposited in these fragile environments (Nepal, 2003). Other impacts include theuse of limited resources, including forest destruction, as wood provides heat to tourists in theextreme environments of Nepal.Aside from activity-specific impacts, a few authors have investigated the contribution ofadventure tourism to global climate change (Becken & Simmons, 2002; Buckley, 2010;Simmons & Becken, 2004). Simmons and Becken (2004) found that niche tourism, such asadventure and ecotourism, have exceptionally high carbon emissions when compared withtraditional mass tourism, such as resort tourism. This is due to the “cost of getting there,” asmany of these activities are found in remote and often fragile environments. It is clear from thisbody of work that there are a number of environmental concerns associated with adventuretourism, however far fewer have investigated means of mitigating these impacts. Operators arecrucial to the implementation of environmental management strategies and therefore the firststep to minimizing environmental impacts is to understand their perceptions of the environmentin the context of their operations.Environmental Values and Behaviours in the Tourism ContextThe environmental values and behaviours of tourists is important, particularly in the rapidlygrowing nature-based tourism sector. Environmental values are seen to influence environmentalbehaviour, which has implications for the often fragile natural environment in which the majorityof nature-based tourism occurs (Johnson, Bowker, & Cordell, 2004). The most common tool forassessing general environmental values is the New Environmental Paradigm (NEP). First3

African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Vol. 5 (4) - (2016)ISSN: 2223-814X Copyright: 2014 AJHTL - Open Access- Online @ http//: www.ajhtl.comdeveloped by Dunlap and Liere (1978), and later revised (Dunlap, Van Liere, Mertig, & Jones,2000), the NEP sought to quantify individuals environmental attitudes. This allows for the abilityto compare perceptions between different populations and also to determine the influence ofenvironmental attitudes in other behaviours of individuals. A few studies have investigated theinfluence of environmental values, using the NEP, on tourist behaviour (Kim, Borges, & Chon,2006; Lück, 2003; Luo & Deng, 2007; Uysal, Jurowski, Noe, & McDonald, 1994). The resultshave varied significantly. Some have argued that the NEP does influence consumer behaviour.In the case of nature-based tourists to a Chinese national park, Luo and Deng (2007) found thatvisitors with higher environmental values were more likely to be motivated by environmentalfactors. However, Kim, Borges, and Chon (2006) did not find that overall environmental valuesinfluenced the motivations of attendees of an ecotourism film festival in Brazil. Is thereforenecessary to continue research efforts in this area to determine the ways in whichenvironmental values influence behaviour in the tourism context.The majority of research which has addressed environmental attitudes and behaviours withinthe tourism context has focused on the clients, or tourists (Chiu, Lee, & Chen, 2014; Serenari,Leung, Attarian, & Franck, 2012). Only a handful of studies have examined the perceptions andbehaviours of other tourism stakeholders towards the environment and most have been withinthe ecotourism context and focused on western perceptions (Imran, Alam, & Beaumont, 2014;Littlefair & Buckley, 2008; Peake, Innes, & Dyer, 2009; Weiler & Davis, 1993). Although thevalues, and particularly the behaviours of tourists are important in environmental managementstrategies, tourism operators, and more specifically adventure tourism guides, have significantinfluence over the impacts caused by the activity. Furthermore, studies which have examinedthe perceptions and behaviours of guides towards the environment have found that tour guides’behaviour not only has implications for overall environmental management but has the ability toinfluence the behaviour of the tourists as well (Peake et al., 2009; Weiler & Davis, 1993). It is,therefore, important to understand the beliefs and behaviours of guides to ensure effectenvironmental management techniques be implemented in the context of nature-based tourism.In the South African context, a few studies have examined the efforts taken by tourismoperators to mitigate environmental impacts. The majority of this research has focused on theimplementation of environmental mitigation strategies in the hotel industry. J. Rogerson (2012)conducted an investigation of the greening of urban hotels in Gauteng, situating the discussionin the global context. The results show that the greening of individual hotels is relatively limitedwhen compared with international efforts, primarily due to a lack of government incentive,regulation and standardization. In addition, the consumer market does not appear to beinfluenced by the increase in greening efforts made by hotels. However, a more recent study byIsmail and Rogerson (2016) found that some efforts are being made by major hotel chains toupgrade structures to include some environmentally friendly components. The most commonwere the use of LED lightbulbs and implanting recycling programs. This demonstrates that someefforts are being made to mitigate environmental impacts caused by the hotel industry. A greatdeal of additional research, however, is needed to determine environmental awareness andmitigation efforts made in other tourism sectors.MethodologyThe theoretical framework that guides this research is that of human-environment interaction(Dann, 1977). As part of a larger study on the influence of human-environment interaction onadventure tourism behaviour, this study seeks to address the ways in which operators perceivethe environment, their behaviour towards the environment and the measure implemented byadventure tourism operators to mitigate environmental impacts caused by the activity.4

African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Vol. 5 (4) - (2016)ISSN: 2223-814X Copyright: 2014 AJHTL - Open Access- Online @ http//: www.ajhtl.comThe empirical results included in this study used a mixed-method approach to research,implementing both quantitative and qualitative strategies. Qualitative techniques were includeddue to the exploratory nature of the study, and to be able to extract the range of initiates takenby the various operations to minimize environmental impacts caused by the activity. Thisallowed for the ability to delve into the perceptions of operators as to their responsibility to theenvironment. Quantitative techniques were also used, to assess the environmental values andbehaviours of adventure tourism guides. This was found to be appropriate to allow comparisonwith previous studies as well as the ability to examine trends across the data set and to directlycompare the findings between different types of activities included in this study.Qualitative techniques included in-depth interviews with the top staff members of the adventureactivity operators such as the founders, owners or general managers. This was done to obtainmore detailed information about the structure of the company in terms of its relationship with theenvironment. Environmental practices and marketing were also examined in this section of theresearch. Understanding the role of the environment in terms of organization of the operationand establishment are significant aspects assess in the interviews. One key purpose of theinterviews is information on the operations efforts to minimize environmental damage and therole the natural environment plays in the viability of the operation. Semi-structured interviewquestions were developed before the interview process and were generally consistent betweencompanies (Miles and Huberman, 1994). This allowed for some standardization with room forchanges, response questions, and additional information.Quantitative data was obtained using a questionnaire. Both simple fixed-response questionsand those using Likert scales were included. The first section covered the environmental valuesof guides. This was done using a revised version of the New Environmental Paradigm Scale,one of the most widely used assessments of environmental values (Dunlap et al., 2000). Thisscale uses a list of statements with 5-point Likert scale responses to determine a person’senvironmental values. The statements are designed to show a pro- environment (NEP) stanceor pro-social dominance (DSP) based on level of agreement with a given statement, the latterindicating a ‘man over nature’ perspective . There are fifteen statements in all, eight of which arepro-NEP and seven of which are pro-DSP (Dunlap et al., 2000). Pro-DSP statements arereverse scored in order to calculate a mean NEP score which is used to determine anindividual’s overall environmental values. The NEP includes five different categories to assessdifferent aspects of environmental values. They are: reality of limits to growth, antianthropocentrism, fragility of nature’s balance, rejection of exceptionalism, and the possibility ofan eco-crisis (Dunlap et al., 2000, p. 432). Each of the 15 statements used in the scale fits intoone of these categories. Therefore, in addition to the discussion and calculation of overallenvironmental values, using mean NEP scores, NEP results are also discussed with respect tospecific types of environmental awareness.The questionnaire also included items to elicit environmental behaviours practiced by guideswhile at work using fixed-response questions. This was done by listing a number of standardpractices that indicate pro-environment behaviours and initiatives that individuals are able totake that help protect the environment or minimise environmental damage in the context of atourism operation (Imran et al., 2014). The guides were asked to indicate all the initiatives thatthey take to conserve the environment. The items used in this section of the questionnaire weredetermined through part

Although adventure tourism is rapidly growing South Africa, research on the subject in this region is relatively limited. A few studies have examined issues and challenges facing the adventure tourism industry as a whole. Rogerson (2007) noted some of the challenges facing the development of adventure tourism in South Africa. One was the lack of marketing, particularly marketing South Africa .

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