Melting the ice: arctic tourists’ epiphanies and connections to wildlife
A key outcome for ecotourism is providing conservation benefits. These benefits are of particular concern when experiences include wildlife. One mechanism for delivering conservation benefits is tourists’ participation in pro-conservation behaviors (PCB). Conservation psychology provides a framework to understand how ecotourism experiences facilitate PCB. Environmental epiphanies (EE) and conservation caring are two constructs that can model the relationship between experiences and PCB. The purpose of this study was to explore (1) if arctic tourism is capable of stimulating an EE; (2) conservation caring levels, and (3) the relationship between EE and conservation caring. Data were obtained from 72 tourists aboard an arctic cruise. Thirty-nine percent experienced an EE during the trip. Tourists who experienced an EE had significantly higher conservation caring scores than those who did not experience an EE (p <.01). Results support ecotourism experiences can connect people to nature, which in turn is a strong PCB predictor.
Journal of Ecotourism
Warmouth, Jennie M.; Skibins, Jeffrey C.; Storie, Melinda; and Schuler, Gwyneth, "Melting the ice: arctic tourists’ epiphanies and connections to wildlife" (2021). Geography & Environmental Studies Faculty Publications. 5.