Geo-based technologies, tourists and bushfires in northern Australia
Australian & New Zealand Communication Association Inc
Place of Publication
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Arts and Humanities
This paper analyses how the use of geo-based technologies can play a role in the safety of tourism operations and tourist travel — especially in the case of bushfires. The study uses data from 42 qualitative interviews with tourists, tourism operators and other stakeholders in the remote Kununurra area of Western Australia carried out in 2012 and 2013. We contend that the spatiotemporal nature of tourism has stimulated considerable development in a range of geo - based technologies. The paper argues that geo-based technologies are an integral part of fire suppression and mitigation practices, and that tourists’ familiarity with geo-based technologies makes these technologies an effective mode of fi re safety information for independent tourists, especially those travelling in remote an d regional areas of Australia. A key finding, from a thematic analysis of the data, is the importance and relevance of real - time fire warning information for tourist operators and independent tourists, along with an observation that tourists and tourism operators are particularly interested in using the new user - friendly MyFireWatch website. This finding draws a parallel with the high use of geospatial technologies in the tourism industry by both tourism operators and tourists themselves. Further, this paper also calls attention to outback tourism and the importance of a ‘loci of responsibility’ between emergency services, tourism operators and the independent tourist in times of bushfire and other emergencies in remote Australia.
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