Social Media Data Can Be Used to Understand Tourists’ Preferences for Nature-Based Experiences in Protected Areas

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Abstract

Can social media data be used as an alternative to traditional surveys to understand tourists’ preferences for nature-based experiences in protected areas? We explored this by comparing preferences for biodiversity obtained from a traditional survey conducted in Kruger National Park, South Africa, with observed preferences assessed from over 13,600 pictures shared on Instagram and Flickr by tourists visiting the park in the same period. We found no significant difference between the preferences of tourists as stated in the surveys and the preferences revealed by social media content. Overall, large-bodied mammals were found to be the favorite group, both in the survey and on social media platforms. However, Flickr was found to better match tourists’ preference for less-charismatic biodiversity. Our findings suggest that social media content can be used as a cost-efficient way to explore, and for more continuous monitoring of, preferences for biodiversity and human activities in protected areas.
Original languageEnglish
JournalConservation Letters
Volume11
Issue number1
ISSN1755-263X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1172 Environmental sciences
  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
  • 519 Social and economic geography

Cite this

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title = "Social Media Data Can Be Used to Understand Tourists’ Preferences for Nature-Based Experiences in Protected Areas",
abstract = "Can social media data be used as an alternative to traditional surveys to understand tourists’ preferences for nature-based experiences in protected areas? We explored this by comparing preferences for biodiversity obtained from a traditional survey conducted in Kruger National Park, South Africa, with observed preferences assessed from over 13,600 pictures shared on Instagram and Flickr by tourists visiting the park in the same period. We found no significant difference between the preferences of tourists as stated in the surveys and the preferences revealed by social media content. Overall, large-bodied mammals were found to be the favorite group, both in the survey and on social media platforms. However, Flickr was found to better match tourists’ preference for less-charismatic biodiversity. Our findings suggest that social media content can be used as a cost-efficient way to explore, and for more continuous monitoring of, preferences for biodiversity and human activities in protected areas.",
keywords = "1172 Environmental sciences, 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology, 519 Social and economic geography",
author = "Anna Hausmann and Toivonen, {Tuuli Kaarina} and Rob Slotow and Tenkanen, {Henrikki Toivo Olavi} and Moilanen, {Atte Jaakko} and Heikinheimo, {Vuokko Vilhelmiina} and {Di Minin}, Enrico",
year = "2018",
doi = "10.1111/conl.12343",
language = "English",
volume = "11",
journal = "Conservation Letters",
issn = "1755-263X",
publisher = "Wiley",
number = "1",

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Social Media Data Can Be Used to Understand Tourists’ Preferences for Nature-Based Experiences in Protected Areas

AU - Hausmann, Anna

AU - Toivonen, Tuuli Kaarina

AU - Slotow, Rob

AU - Tenkanen, Henrikki Toivo Olavi

AU - Moilanen, Atte Jaakko

AU - Heikinheimo, Vuokko Vilhelmiina

AU - Di Minin, Enrico

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - Can social media data be used as an alternative to traditional surveys to understand tourists’ preferences for nature-based experiences in protected areas? We explored this by comparing preferences for biodiversity obtained from a traditional survey conducted in Kruger National Park, South Africa, with observed preferences assessed from over 13,600 pictures shared on Instagram and Flickr by tourists visiting the park in the same period. We found no significant difference between the preferences of tourists as stated in the surveys and the preferences revealed by social media content. Overall, large-bodied mammals were found to be the favorite group, both in the survey and on social media platforms. However, Flickr was found to better match tourists’ preference for less-charismatic biodiversity. Our findings suggest that social media content can be used as a cost-efficient way to explore, and for more continuous monitoring of, preferences for biodiversity and human activities in protected areas.

AB - Can social media data be used as an alternative to traditional surveys to understand tourists’ preferences for nature-based experiences in protected areas? We explored this by comparing preferences for biodiversity obtained from a traditional survey conducted in Kruger National Park, South Africa, with observed preferences assessed from over 13,600 pictures shared on Instagram and Flickr by tourists visiting the park in the same period. We found no significant difference between the preferences of tourists as stated in the surveys and the preferences revealed by social media content. Overall, large-bodied mammals were found to be the favorite group, both in the survey and on social media platforms. However, Flickr was found to better match tourists’ preference for less-charismatic biodiversity. Our findings suggest that social media content can be used as a cost-efficient way to explore, and for more continuous monitoring of, preferences for biodiversity and human activities in protected areas.

KW - 1172 Environmental sciences

KW - 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology

KW - 519 Social and economic geography

U2 - 10.1111/conl.12343

DO - 10.1111/conl.12343

M3 - Article

VL - 11

JO - Conservation Letters

JF - Conservation Letters

SN - 1755-263X

IS - 1

ER -