Fun, animal welfare or community development? Understanding young tourists’ preferences for a wildlife tourism package
This paper explores the impact of young travellers’ value orientations on their choice for a wildlife tourism package. On the basis of existing literature, four different packages were designed: one mirroring the traditional offer of wildlife tourism as a hedonic experience; one enhancing the animal welfare aspect and intended to appeal to biospheric values; one enhancing the cultural and community development aspect and intended to appeal to altruistic values; and one combining both cultural and animal welfare aspects. Data were gathered on location in South Africa – one of world’s main wildlife tourism destinations.
Results suggest that the altruistic and biospheric value orientations have a strong influence on the choice for a wildlife package tour. Respondents with an above average altruistic value orientation opt for the tour that focuses on community development (third package) or that combines this aspect with animal welfare (fourth package); while respondents with an above average biospheric value orientation are attracted to the fourth package. Overall, the majority of respondents opt for one of the packages that include sustainability components. These outcomes combined with results from previous research bring us to the conclusion that young tourists are open to a sustainable tourism offer in general and wildlife tourism in particular.
Keywords: Youth tourism experience; values; wildlife tourism; sustainable tourism