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Title: Sustainable rural tourism : the ecological attitudes of visitors and farm-based tourism in Dumfries and Galloway, south-west Scotland
Author: Gillespie, Steven Alexander
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis reports the findings of empirical research investigating the ecological attitudes of visitors and farm-based tourism in the rural region of Dumfries & Galloway, south-west Scotland. As the concept of sustainable rural tourism gathers momentum as an appropriate philosophy for addressing rural restructuring and agricultural decline, stakeholders in Dumfries & Galloway aim to position the region as an ecotourism or environmentally friendly destination. A review of literature reveals that ecotourism is a concept or activity seldom discussed in a Scottish or UK context, and this thesis queries the appropriateness and potential of ecotourism as a model for development in Dumfries & Galloway. This research questions whether visitors to Dumfries & Galloway can be differentiated by ecological attitude using the New Ecological Paradigm scale, concluding that all visitors hold pro ecological attitudes to a greater or lesser degree. Although all visitors were found to be similar in terms of demographics, those visiting the region for nature-focused activities hold significantly higher pro-ecological attitudes. Since attitudes are theorized as a precursor to behaviour, a major conclusion is that visitors who are most likely to react to the region's sought after status as an ecotourism destination are unlikely to consciously jeopardize the region's 'natural' assets. Farm-based tourism is a relatively under-researched form of rural tourism in Scotland. This thesis critiques farm-based accommodation as a sustainable form of rural tourism revealing that just 4.4% of main agricultural holdings in Dumfries & Galloway have adopted this signifier of the post-productivist transition. As a structural diversification for farmers its economic contribution is typically small but fundamental for farm survival and continuance of agricultural identity. Farm accommodation delivers important consumer experiences that few other forms of rural accommodation can achieve however the product is under-developed in both its networking potential and brand identity. The research reveals that the adoption of tourism on farms can reduce provider isolation and empower spouses, and is compatible with the concept of ecotourism through its environmental attributes, social and economic benefits. It is concluded that before Dumfries & Galloway can claim to be an ecotourism and environmentally friendly destination, a number of issues such as high private transport use and lack of environmentally accredited supply services need to be addressed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral