Environmental awareness, interests and motives of botanic gardens visitors: Implications for interpretive practice Roy Ballantyne, Jan Packer, Karen Hughes School of Tourism, University of Queensland, 11 Salisbury Road, Ipswich, Qld. 4305, Australia Received 27 March 2007; received in revised form 3 May 2007; accepted 7 May 2007

pg 439 – Botanic gardens attract a wide range of domestic and international tourists, as well as regular visitors from their local areas. As both conservation and education are among the objectives of botanic gardens, they are potentially well-placed to offer community education about conservation, to engender pro-conservation attitudes, and to encourage the public to support conservation efforts.

pg 440 – Despite the emphasis botanic gardens place on educating the public to support their conservation efforts, there is
very little research regarding the extent to which visitors are receptive to these messages. To be effective, interpretive
materials must be specifically tailored to meet the knowledge, interests and needs of target audiences (Ballantyne &
Packer, 2005; Ballantyne, Packer, & Beckmann, 1998; Orams, 1994)

pg 440 -A survey by Connell (2004) found that approximately 70% of visitors to UK gardens described themselves as having a general interest in gardens—only 10% had a special horticultural interest, and the remaining 20% were using the garden as a venue for a pleasant day out. Likewise, a recent survey in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens by Crilley and Price (2005)
found that although 57% of respondents cited ‘viewing plants’ as one of the three main reasons for visiting, only
15% were motivated by the desire to ‘learn about plants’. Indeed, it is generally accepted that the majority of visitors
to botanic gardens do not come to learn per se (Darwin- Edwards, 2000).

pg 443-  The major findings from this research were:
Botanic gardens visitors reported having a relatively low
level of interest in and commitment to conservation
The most important reasons given for visiting the
Botanic Gardens were to enjoy oneself; to admire the
garden’s scenery; to spend quality time with family or
friends; and to enjoy being outdoors/in nature.
Botanic gardens visitors were similar to National Park
visitors in that they rated Restoration as more
important and Learning and Discovery as less important
as motivations for visiting. Frequent visitors in
particular were more likely to be motivated by
restorative factors.


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