International Handbook on Ecotourism
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International Handbook on Ecotourism

Edited by Roy Ballantyne and Jan Packer

This Handbook brings together contributions from over forty international experts in the field of ecotourism. It provides a critical review and discussion of current issues and concepts – it challenges readers to consider the boundaries of what ecotourism is, and could be. The Handbook provides practical information regarding the business of ecotourism; insights into ecotourist behaviour and visitor experiences; and reflections on the practice of ecotourism in a range of different contexts.
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Chapter 12: Generational cohorts and ecotourism

Pierre Benckendorff and Gianna Moscardo


The future of ecotourism will depend to some extent on how well the tourism industry understands the social and demographic trends influencing traveller behaviour. The ecotourism market can be understood by dividing participants using multiple criteria and characteristics, including gender, age, cultural background, attitudes, motives and activity preferences. Some authors have argued that generational cohort theory provides another framework for investigating consumer behaviour (Stevens, Lathrop & Bradish, 2005). Generational cohort theory posits that each generation is characterized by somewhat predictable traits directly attributable to events in their formative years. Insights gained through generational theory have the potential to inform our understanding of attitudes, intentions and visitor behaviour trends in ecotourism. A generational cohort approach can be useful for not only analysing trends in ecotourism consumption but also production (Pendergast, 2010). From a production perspective, the contemporary tourism industry is experiencing a generational shift, with Baby Boomers likely to retire from leadership roles in the workforce, Generation X taking over the reins and Generation Y entering the workforce.

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