Title: Are travellers' perceptions sufficient in evaluating ecotour operator ethics? A case study of Tambopata Reserve, Peru

Authors: Agnes M.K. Nowaczek, Bryan Smale

Addresses: Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave. West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada. ' Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave. West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada

Abstract: Most travellers assume Ecotourism operators embrace ethical practices because they rely on ecological integrity. However, pressures to maintain economic viability raise questions regarding the adherence to ethical behaviour. A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to travellers (n = 228) participating in ecotours to Tambopata Reserve, Peru, who were asked to rate the operators on six dimensions of ethical behaviour. Overall, travellers| perceptions were favourable and strongly related to satisfaction with received service. However, travellers were rarely in a situation nor on-site long enough to observe any questionable practices. The question arises whether the perceptions of travellers are effective indicators of operators| ethical behaviour.

Keywords: ecotourism; ethics; evaluation; tour operators; traveller perceptions; Peru; ecotours; ethical behaviour.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTP.2009.023274

International Journal of Tourism Policy, 2009 Vol.2 No.1/2, pp.72 - 88

Published online: 16 Feb 2009 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article