Environmental attitudes and fuel saving behaviour by KEA campers customers: final report of a survey (June - November 2008)
The environmental concern of campervan tourists in New Zealand was analysed in two surveys, 2007 and 2008. The 2008 also investigated tourists’ responses to increasing fuel prices and changes they make to their travel behaviour. The 2007 survey was undertaken by KEA Campers and reflects tourists during the summer season. The 2008 survey (carried out by Lincoln University in partnership with KEA Campers) included tourists who travelled in winter and in spring. In addition, 18 interviews were undertaken in October 2008 to provide more depth to the environmental and fuel-related questions. Due to the timing of the surveys the 2007 is dominated by (long-haul) international tourists whereas the 2008 survey includes a large number of New Zealanders and Australians. Environmental concern differed clearly between different countries of residence, with New Zealanders being less inclined to consider the environment in their travel planning than international visitors. They were also less willing to pay for carbon offsetting of their campervan travel. However, even international tourists surveyed in 2008 were slightly less aware of the environmental impacts of their travel when making their travel plans and were less willing to pay for carbon offsetting compared with those asked in 2007. The willingness to pay for carbon offsetting did not necessarily depend on the level of concern. Tourists were most likely to support alternative energy projects, conservation and tree planting initiatives and highly unlikely to spend money on ‘carbon credits’. The interviews highlighted that not all tourists understand the concept of carbon credits and that may also explain the low support of this measure. Tourists’ perception of fuel costs in New Zealand depends on their country of residence. Not surprisingly, American tourists perceive fuel to be expensive, whereas European visitors find it cheap or very cheap. Perception of fuel price does not seem to influence the distance travelled per day. Changes in travel behaviour due to higher fuel costs would most likely manifest in a reduced visitation of restaurants and less money spent on accommodation. Tourists were reluctant to reduce travel distance, although a small number of tourists commented that they might consider shortening itineraries or not travelling by campervan at all. Interestingly, environmental perceptions we not related to how far people travelled or whether they would reduce their travel under high oil price scenarios. This is a very interesting observation and leads to the hypothesis that ‘environmental consideration’ is quite different from ‘actual travel behaviour’, and changing behaviour when fuel prices become costly. The discrepancy was underpinned by tourists’ comments in the interviews that campervan holidays are about “driving around” and that “coming for a holiday environmental impacts are not the things you think about”. In summary, environmental concern amongst campervan tourists is comparatively high (although less in 2008 than 2007) and tourists are generally willing to contribute financially, for example to offset their carbon emissions. Behavioural changes that reduce in lower emissions are unlikely to occur on a voluntary basis, but higher fuel prices might – at a certain level – lead to changes in behaviour. These would, however, be relatively minor.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsenvironmental impact; attitudes; tourist behaviour; tourist experience; carbon dioxide emissions; willingness to pay; fuel saving; tourism; surveys; perceptions
Fields of Research1506 Tourism; 150606 Tourist Behaviour and Visitor Experience; 160802 Environmental Sociology
TypeReport (Commissioned Report)
©LEaP, Lincoln University, New Zealand 2008 This information may be copied or reproduced electronically and distributed to others without restriction, provided LEaP, Lincoln University is acknowledged as the source of information. Under no circumstances may a charge be made for this information without the express permission of LEaP, Lincoln University, New Zealand.