eCite Digital Repository

Engaging more effectively with visitors to coastal regions for improved management outcomes: insights from the Ningaloo Coast, Australia


Cvitanovic, C and van Putten, EI and Kelly, R and Feldman, HR and van Steveninck, TJ and Mackay, M and Badullovich, N and Gourlay, T, Engaging more effectively with visitors to coastal regions for improved management outcomes: insights from the Ningaloo Coast, Australia, Frontiers in Marine Science, 7, (JULY) Article 583. ISSN 2296-7745 (2020) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 Cvitanovic, van Putten, Kelly, Feldman, van Steveninck, Mackay, Badullovich and Gourlay. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).

DOI: doi:10.3389/fmars.2020.00583


A key component of successful coastal management efforts is an effective communication and engagement strategy focused on raising awareness of a region to different stakeholders to encourage more pro-environmental behaviors. Accordingly, in recent times there has been a proliferation of research focused on improving engagement and communication with different users of the coastal environment. Despite this effort, a paucity of evidence is available to guide better communication and engagement with visitors (i.e., tourists). Addressing this knowledge gap is critical given the adverse impacts of current global coastal tourism on ecosystem health, and projected future increases in coastal tourism. Using a case study of the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area (WHA) in Australia, we contribute toward filling this gap by identifying visitors’ perception of the region and their self-reported and intended pro-environmental behaviors. We also identify the types of information they access and trust, and explore whether different message framings on the value of the WHA influence visitors’ intended pro-environmental behavior. We determine that although visitors to the Ningaloo Coast WHA are optimistic about the future sustainability of the region, they have low understanding of the rules and regulations in place to support its management. Further, we find that visitors consider tourism to be a serious threat to the future of the region. However, most participants in our study considered the quality of their own environmental behavior to be high, and thus not contributing to these threats, although this did differ by gender. Finally, we highlight that visitors to the Ningaloo Coast WHA, for the most part, obtain their knowledge of the region during their visit, primarily through local signage and visitors centers. We discuss the implications of these results, and highlight future considerations for coastal managers when developing visitor-focused communication and engagement strategies.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:communication, message framing, trust, World Heritage Area, coral reef, tourism
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Natural resource management
Objective Division:Commercial Services and Tourism
Objective Group:Environmentally sustainable commercial services and tourism
Objective Field:Environmentally sustainable commercial services and tourism not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Cvitanovic, C (Dr Christopher Cvitanovic)
UTAS Author:van Putten, EI (Dr Ingrid Van Putten)
UTAS Author:Kelly, R (Dr Rachel Kelly)
UTAS Author:Mackay, M (Ms Mary Mackay)
ID Code:143648
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2021-03-29
Last Modified:2021-04-09
Downloads:11 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page