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Visitor Communication

Visitor communication includes all forms of information provided to visitors prior to, during and after a visit, which can be either personal or non-personal and includes signs, brochures, fact sheets, newsletters, presentations and talks, websites, interpretation, guided tours, visitor centres, museums and displays, marketing and advertising material. Interpretation is broad term given to the educational activity that seeks to bring about meaning and enriching visitor experiences (see Natural Area Tourism).

Recent research undertaken by the STCRC has focused on developing interpretation strategies to aid in the sustainability of tourism in Australia’s national parks and protected areas, including research on interpretation to:

  • mitigate visitor impacts;
  • enhance tourist’s experiences and satisfaction;
  • encourage positive attitudes towards nature conservation, and
  • link outcomes to corporate/strategic objectives.

Key findings include:

  • interpretation and communication can be a powerful tool to mitigate the effects of visitor use on the natural environment and support management goals;
  • interpretation and communication programs should be included as an important part of management goals, and
  • research, monitoring and evaluation of interpretation programs is necessary for effective management.

As a result of the increasing influence of tourism, protected area management is evolving from one primarily focused around onsite management and conservation to one that more broadly encompasses a greater range of holistic recreation and tourism experiences. In dealing with this evolution, national parks and protected area managers are now required to balance onsite interpretation activities with broader marketing and demand management activities.


Browse Visitor Communication case studies:

Pre-Visit Communication


Strategic Communication

Measuring Effectiveness of Interpretation


Featured case studies:

Living Memory and the Interpretation of Heritage

The study aimed to develop a digital interactive to enrich visitor experiences at heritage tourism sites. It also developed a suite of guidelines to allow heritage tourism operators (and heritage managers) to operate a similar interactive module at heritage sites throughout Australia.

by Celmara Pocock, Marion Stell, Lucy Frost, Julia Crozier and Simon Ancher

Sustainable Marketing of  Tourism in Protected Areas: Moving Forward

This study uses the available literature and industry input to develop a set of guiding principles for achieving the sustainable marketing and promotion of visitation to national parks and other protected areas. Industry examples are used to highlight where and how these guiding principles are already being used as examples of good  practice, thereby offering guidance to others.

by Stephen Wearing, David Archer and Sue Beeton

Tourism and Protected Area Management Research Snapshot

This document profiles key STCRC research in the field of tourism and protected area management from 2005 to October 2008. The aim of this summary is to provide a ‘snapshot’ of research that informs the parks-tourism relationship and its management.