An evaluation of the efficacy of interpretation within Dartmoor National Park in achieving sustainable tourism goals: audience analysis

Hewson, Anna (2007) An evaluation of the efficacy of interpretation within Dartmoor National Park in achieving sustainable tourism goals: audience analysis. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Our restless population, faced with an increasingly complex society and an industrially driven empire, is turning more than ever towards natural areas for a relaxing alternative to the daily grind of the cities. Subsequently, in response to pressures placed on the natural environment by increased tourism, many interpreters in conservation areas attempt to inform their visitors. But how successful is interpretation, and what does interpretation contribute to sustainable tourism development? Astonishingly, little empirical research exists on the efficacy of interpretation, from the audience's perspective, thus far. Previous projects have tended to concentrate on producing the interpretive image and image aesthetics relating to visitor satisfaction, rather than the success of the cognitive process itself. This project therefore attempts to address empirical gaps in the literature, by considering the value of interpretation in achieving sustainable tourism development, within National Parks and protected areas, based on measuring parameters of audience response. In particular, the knowledge gain, attitude changes and behavioural responses of the audience, contribute to a theory-driven assessment of interpretation effectiveness at the High Moorland Visitor Centre in Dartmoor National Park, UK. In addition, an analysis of visitor motivations and values for parks is indicative of the capability of interpretation, to promote agency objectives at the centre. An extensive two hundred and twenty-nine participants were interviewed in this investigation, (the majority being middle aged to elderly, well-educated females). The combination of qualitative and quantitative data obtained through questionnaires taken at pre- and post-visit stages, along with subsequent observation procedures, corroborated the opinion that knowledge was not significantly increased during visits to the centre. However, the theme of creating empathy was successful in changing attitudes, and resultantly indicators for behaviour change overall, were very bright. Thus, there is a central place for interpretation in achieving sustainable tourism development. However, promotion of agency goals requires greater attention in increasing overall knowledge.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Department of Geography
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:47
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:13

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