Interpretation in Wildlife Tourism: Assessing the effectiveness of signage on visitor behaviour at a seal watching site in Iceland
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
The effectiveness of signage as a means of modifying visitor behaviour with the aim of reducing negative impacts on wildlife was assessed at a seal watching site on Vatnsnes peninsula in North West Iceland. From July to September 2014, the actions of 2440 visitors were observed and their behaviour recorded. To test whether this type of interpretive information influences human behaviour, signs with either deontological (instructions without explanation) or teleological (instructions with explanation) information were positioned along the path to the site. A control group, where no signs were provided, was also observed. Our results show that the majority of visitor behaviour was influenced when signs were present and that under some conditions teleological signs were more effective than deontological. The type of group visiting the was found to significantly influence behaviour, with families having the most intrusive behaviour compared to singles, couples or other groups. These findings contribute to a better understanding of how interpretative signage can modify tourist behaviour to facilitate sustainable wildlife tourism. The use of teleological signs for managing wildlife tourism activities is recommended because they are at least as effective as deontological signs. In addition, signage and other management strategies should address the different needs and responses relevant to the nature of the tourist group visiting the site. Special focus should be placed on families when signs are designed because this group type showed the highest probability of causing disturbance at the site.
Interpretation, Wildlife, Disturbance, Behaviour, Teleological, Deontological
Research subject Animal Ecology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-134797OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-134797DiVA: diva2:1038542