What is a Nature Tourist?
What are nature tourists? According to Ted Eubanks of Fermata, Inc., "nature tourists are mostly from the city and are tired of stress and traffic and just want to get away." A variety of studies presents a picture of the nature tourist: Nature tourists involved in wildlife appreciation are almost evenly divided between men and women.
Using average values reported in a 1999 survey of visitors to The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, we see that the typical person traveling the central coast section of the trail was 60 years old, white, college-educated, traveling with a spouse or friend, still working, earning more than $60,000 a year (household income), with more than 17 years of formal education. The typical visitor had 2.07 people at home and was an active birder and wildlife watcher with over 20 years experience. 9
- To Experience Natural Phenomena
- To Learn About Nature
- To Be Physically Active
- To Meet People with Similar Interests
A 1992 Clemson University survey of nature tourists showed:
- At least six dimensions of nature-based tourists exist:
- Education and history travelers
- Social travelers
- Relaxation travelers
- Nature travelers
- Economic and weekend travelers
- Camping travelers
- Nature tourists want to be involved in the tourism experience. They're not just passive observers.
- Nature tourists are attracted to mountains and oceansides, wilderness and undisturbed areas, birds, trees and wildflowers, lakes and streams, wildlife, parks and rural areas.
Texas Department of Economic Development in 1994 surveyed non-Texans, asking them to identify top vacation attributes. The survey showed that two of the top ten attributes --pretty scenery and beautiful beaches --are nature-based. Other nature-related activities that scored high are state parks, lakes and boating, fresh and saltwater fishing, campgrounds and hiking trails.
A number studies from Nebraska to Texas have shown that the top motivators of nature travelers are related to the outdoor recreational experience; i.e., to be outdoors and to enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of nature.