A Comparative Analysis of Ecotour Guiding on Cruise Based Tours

2017-06-08T06:29:03Z (GMT) by Weiler, Betty Ham, Sam H.
Two cruise-based nature-oriented tour operations, CruiseWest, operating along the Inside Passage of Alaska, and Lindblad Special Expeditions, operating in the Galapagos Islands, provided the data for this case study of nature-based guiding associated with the cruise industry. Both companies are leaders in the nature-based tourism industry, both offer upmarket weeklong cruise-based tours guided by both on-board expedition leaders and shore-based guides, and both operate relatively small ship-based ecotourism experiences to destinations known to be popular with tourists who want to view close-up and interact with wildlife. One-week excursions with each of the companies, in June 2000 (Alaska) and September 2000 (Galapagos), provided the case study material for the research. Using methods that were piloted as part of a previous research project, guides were systematically observed with the assistance of a standardised observation checksheet, and passengers completed a self-completed questionnaire on the final day of their one-week tour. In the end, data were collected on 12 guides (shore-based excursions) and 2 expedition leaders. Questionnaires were completed by 55 of the 68 adult passengers on-board the Spirit of Alaska (CruiseWest), and 21 of the 26 adult passengers on-board the Polaris (Lindblad). The focus was on the quality of the guiding and the elements of the guided activities that contributed to the success of the operation as an ecotourism experience, and to visitor satisfaction.