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Sense of place, protected areas and tourism: Two Tasmanian case studies

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Lin, CC (2012) Sense of place, protected areas and tourism: Two Tasmanian case studies. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The focus of the research was to explore the meaning of ‘sense of place’ and develop a better understanding of the concept in the context of protected areas. The nature and magnitude of changes in sense of place arising from tourism developments were also investigated. In this context, I sought to elucidate the usefulness of sense of place in two endeavours: (a) guiding the governance and management of protected areas, and (b) making empirical contributions to the resolution of issues associated with recreation and tourism. Through an analysis of the literature, I identified limitations in previous research concerning sense of place for natural areas, and developed a conceptual model that explained the factors associated with formation of people’s senses of place, and the relationships between sense of place, tourism impacts and tourism developments. This model was used to illustrate how the consideration of sense of place can contribute to protected area governance and management, particularly in relation to recreation and tourism. I examined the validity of the model, and explored the meaning and utility of sense of place in the context of protected areas and tourism, by collecting data on each of the component concepts and variables. This empirical work involved the deployment of both qualitative and quantitative methods in case studies involving two Tasmanian natural areas: Tasman National Park and Recherche Bay. In-person interviews as well as questionnaire surveys were conducted with stakeholders to examine people-place relationships, perceptions of existing and potential tourism impacts, and attitudes to current and proposed tourism developments. The results demonstrate that sense of place is an overarching idea that encompasses a variety of dimensions, including place attachment. People’s senses of place for my study sites can also be classified into non-exclusive and exclusive forms. Non-exclusive senses of place, which are not restricted to my study sites, but can be evoked wherever similar place features and qualities exist, include place atmosphere, functional attachment and intellectual attachment. Exclusive senses of place are constituted by feelings of belongingness or identification that are restricted to associations with particular sites. They are emotion-driven and are aroused by past experiences people have had in a particular place. My analysis also determined factors that can influence the intensity of attachments to the study sites. These factors include ownership of property at that place, the place where respondents had resided the longest, frequency of visitation to the study sites, frequency of visitation in the past year, types of recreational activities, purpose of visitation, and time of visitation. These findings were used to develop guidance on contemporary protected area governance practices in terms of using sense of place as an additional dimension when including stakeholders in decision-making procedures. Understandings concerning the meanings people bestow on the environment helped identify place characteristics that are fundamental to developing appropriate management objectives and strategies. I also show how protected area authorities can incorporate understandings of sense of place into recommendations for sustainable tourism planning and management. An understanding of how users perceive, choose and interact with various settings provides a basis for managers to identify the services, facilities and range of recreation opportunities that they are to maintain. The extent to which findings from the two Tasmanian case examples might apply to other protected areas, particularly in regions experiencing rapid expansion of tourism developments, is also considered. I conclude with suggestions for further research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: sense of place, protected areas, recreation, tourism, stakeholders, Tasmania
Additional Information: Copyright the Author
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2012 05:54
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:29
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/12938
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