Analyzing the deeper motivations for nature-based tourism facility demand: A hybrid choice model of preferences for a reindeer visitor center
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionScandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism. 2018, 19 (2), 157-174. 10.1080/15022250.2018.1482565
Wildlife interpretive centers may increase the attractiveness of natural areas for visitors, provide local employment and income, and channel visitors to reduce wildlife disturbance. However, interpretive center success depends on understanding visitor preferences. This is facilitated by integrated analysis of individual characteristics, such as attitudes and demographic factors, and situational characteristics, such as interpretive center features. The current study integrates these characteristics via a hybrid choice model estimated with multi-level structural equation modeling in the context of prospective visits to a wild reindeer center in Norway. Results indicate that interpretive preferences vary, with foreigners prioritizing guided options more highly than do Norwegians. Neither sample prioritized technologically-intense media options. Both samples prioritized avoiding negative effects on wildlife habitat, with foreigners prioritizing it more highly. Connectedness to nature predicted preferences for visiting the interpretive center over not visiting. Consistent with the value-attitude hierarchy, intrinsic values predicted these preferences only indirectly, via connectedness. Comparison of the hybrid choice model with a basic multinomial logit model highlights the benefits of including latent variables to understand the “deeper structure” of preferences.