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Wesleyan University

Publication Date

Fall 2009

Program Name

Australia: Natural and Cultural Ecology


This study assessed the attitudes, practices, and needs of tour operators in the Wet Tropics World Heritage area with respect to the recruitment and training of tour guides. The results will be used to help determine the need and demand for an official Wet Tropics guide accreditation system, as well as the form that system should take. The study also served to add more contacts to the Wet Tropics Management Authority’s growing network of tour operators, tour groups, and research scientists. Tour operators’ guide training practices varied with their business type and resources; many of the smallest operators provided a few days of on-the-job training and no formal certification, yet still delivered a high level of interpretation. Interviews revealed tour operators’ key concerns to be the need for the accreditation system to recognize the value of field experience and prior learning, as well as supplement online work with in-the-workplace assessment. Overall, demand does exist for the guide training tools that an accreditation system would provide. Even those operators that did not overtly support accreditation had attitudes of ownership towards the Wet Tropics and would be likely to support an accreditation scheme if it were established that the scheme would enhance people’s appreciation of the area.


Forest Sciences | Tourism


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