By communicating information, interpretation strategies in tourist attractions have the potential to influence the attitudes and behavior of visitors. Interpretation can thus contribute to the sustainable use of natural tourism resources by fostering eco-friendly behavior. Previous studies focus on interpretation strategies such as signage and tour guides. Various limitations are highlighted. Signage can experience difficulties in capturing the attention of visitors and conveying the intended in its entirety. Meanwhile, tour guides are ill-suited for transmitting information to large numbers of visitors. This study examines a novel interpretation strategy with potential to overcome these limitations. Through a case study on Daisetsuzan National Park in northern Japan, we examine the effectiveness of an “arrival briefing” as form of a priori interpretation. This 3-min oral explanation provides basic park information to visitors ascending the mountain by cable car. We use multiple methods combining field observations, written questionnaires (n = 238) and interviews with park managers. The arrival briefing's effectiveness is measured from three perspectives suggested in literature: (i) visitor participation rates and holding times, (ii) visitor's memory retention of content, (iii) visitor perceptions about the attractiveness and usefulness of this information. Results show that around 80% of visitors participated in the arrival briefing. A high retention rate was observed for the information conveyed and most participants positively evaluated the usefulness of explanations. Furthermore, interviews revealed that the arrival briefing has contributed to a decrease of negative impacts to the park's natural environment. Given these results, arrival briefings might provide an important interpretive strategy to promote desirable behaviors in other natural tourism destinations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management