Key environmental management factors in protected areas an eco–tourist perspective
De Witt, Leonie
Van der Merwe, Peet
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Ecotourism in South African National Parks is growing. Increased tourist numbers means increased environmental impacts and more pressure on non-renewable resources. Tourists are important stakeholders and have the potential of contributing to the success of environmental management in national parks. Understanding tourists‟ perceptions regarding environmental management factors can assist national park managers in identifying environmental management issues to be addressed and to provide sustainable ecotourism experiences in national parks. The purpose of this paper is therefore to determine eco-tourists‟ perceptions regarding environmental management practices in South African National Parks. This study followed a quantitative research approach in which a web survey was conducted with 993 responses. Three factors were identified from the exploratory factor analysis: eco-efficient practices, Eco-tourist conduct, and park management aspects. Tourists‟ responses to an open-ended question regarding specific environmental issues in South African National Parks were further analysed in order to elicit more depth regarding visitors‟ perceptions.