Visitor management practices and operational sustainability: Expedition cruising in the Kimberley, Australia
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Natural Sciences / Centre for Ecosystem Management
The expedition cruise industry along the remote 3000 km Kimberley coast in Australia’s northwest draws on the area’s environmental and cultural assets for its tourism product and provides the main means of access for visitors. Cruises involve frequent on-shore excursions to attractions including rock pools, rock art and historic sites. This study used visitor observations and stakeholder interviews to examine potential impacts on environmental and cultural site assets, and visitor safety and experience. Visitor management practices varied strongly between operators, with vast room for improvement by some operations. Inconsistent visitor management practices contributed to a high level of avoidable risks in terms of visitor safety and negative cultural and environmental impacts. Findings from this study highlight the central role of tour guides and operational procedures for improving visitor management practices.