Tour Interpretation

Tourist use of the natural environment has continued to increase rapidly. This has resulted in many authors expressing concern over the impact of this increasing use. This paper briefly reviews these concerns and outlines the general types of management responses to increasing tourist pressure on the natural environment. One type of management response lies in educating tourists and this paper argues that this can be an effective means of reducing negative impacts. A number of important educational techniques which can be used in an interpretation programme for 'ecotourists' is outlined and their use and assessment is advocated.

From the outset, proponents of sustainable tourism have, consciously or not, set great store by interpretation, and gradually the linkages between sustainable tourism and interpretation have begun to be developed. This discussion examines the potential benefits of linking interpretation and sustainable tourism and assesses a number of the pitfalls or difficulties which are involved. The potential benefits include improved visitor management, local economic and environmental gains and fuller community involvement. Among the several pitfalls of linking interpretation and sustainable tourism which are considered are the dangers of over-interpretation, intrusion, creating ‘quaint' tourist landscapes, and those of elitism.

Project Aims

Assist in the conservation of the environment

Develop guided village based tours along the Coral Coast for visitors to understand the importance of the natural and cultural environment

Gain economic benefits for local villages and Coral Coast Hotels through the retention of the tourist dollar to the Nadroga region.

Increase employment opportunities for people in local villages

Develop a consistently high level of both product (tour) and customer services.

Develop a more structured, stable and consistent product (tour)

Benefits to villages

Increased community pride,

Valuation and documentation of knowledge of elders before it is lost,

Provide employment for village youths,

Enhanced tourism experience by visitor,

Create a more unified community spirit,

Less pressure on destructive harvest of biodiversity

Increased interpretation skills that could be transferred across Fiji

Greater understanding of tourism importance and the need to respect tourists.

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