Trends in Wildlife Tourism

It has been identified that general public is forever interested in conservation and environmental matters. 85% of industrialised world citizens believe that the environment is the most important public issue (Carson and Moulden, 1991). As a result there has been a rising demand for ecotourism. Ecotourism is nature-based tourism that involves ecologically sustainable management of natural areas and an interaction with or observance of either flora or fauna. This is precisely what wildlife tourism provides.

There has also been a trend towards experiential tourism; that is active, rather than passive travel. People increasingly want to feel that they are participating in and influencing the area they travel to. Wildlife tourism caters for this trend in that tourists often feed or otherwise interact with the wildlife they visit.

The major world tourism markets, Europe and North America, are affected by an increase in the proportion of older people in the population. In addition, changes in working practises have meant that people have more flexibility to get longer periods of time off work. The days when gap years were restricted to students are gone. More mature people than before are taking sabbaticals from work or travelling after retirement. Wildlife tourism caters well for these grown up gappers as a longer time frame will allow remote geographical areas to be accessed and increase the chances of a successful wildlife encounter.