Title

Re-presenting the Great Barrier Reef to tourists: implications for tourist experience and evaluation of coral reef environments

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Fenton, DM, Young, M & Johnson, VY 1998, 'Re-presenting the Great Barrier Reef to tourists: implications for tourist experience and evaluation of coral reef environments', Leisure Sciences, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 177-192.

The publisher version of this article is available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01490409809512279

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

This study sought to determine whether reef visitors’ ideal images of the Great Barrier Reef were used in the development of visitor expectancies of the reef experience and evaluative judgments of coral reef quality. Using 20 photographs of coral reef environments, a sample of 103 reef tourists judged how similar each photograph was to their ideal, their expectations, the reef they had visited, and a healthy coral reef. It was found that as the majority of reef visitors had limited direct experience of coral reef environments, idealized representations were used in the development of expectancies and as a comparative standard in evaluating the quality of coral reef environments. The findings are discussed in relation to identifying acceptable reef conditions for tourism use and how the creation of an idealized representation may influence tourists’ experience of the reef. It is argued that as reef managers play an important role in communicating these idealized images, they need to reassess the manner in which they represent the Great Barrier Reef to visitors.