Author: Colette Sosinski
Publisher: GRIN Verlag
However, no attempt has been made to analyse the situation and potential of wildlife tourism in Germany.
Domestic tourism is growing rapidly in many European countries and due to the diversification and individualisation of western society (FUR, n.d.) tourism niche markets are gaining in importance (Petermann, Revermann & Scherz, 2006). Wildlife tourism is such a niche market and is worldwide one of the fastest-growing ones (Mintel International Group LTD, 2008a). Western Europeans in specific have “developed an unprecedented affinity for daytrips or holidays in natural areas” (Van Egmond, 2008, p. 85) and wildlife watching is one of the key reasons why people visit natural areas (Mintel International Group LTD, 2008a). Several European countries have already established an impressive range of wildlife-based tours. Wolf howling tours in Italy and bear tracking tours in the Carpathian Mountains are steadily gaining popularity among tourists (Hofrichter & Berger, 2004) and the Canary Islands record over one million whale watching participants per year (Hoyt, 2000). Interestingly Germany is one of the biggest markets for outbound wildlife tourism (Mintel International Group LTD, 2008a) and for 35 percent of all Germans the possibility to watch animals is an important criterion in deciding on the holiday destination (Wilfing et al, 2008). However, no attempt has been made to analyse the situation and potential of wildlife tourism in Germany. This document assesses the background, situation, importance and potential of domestic wildlife tourism in Germany and explores its link to wildlife conservation. Moreover, it provides information on how to establish wildlife tourism in Germany that benefits both tourism and conservation actors. As this topic has not been discussed earlier this thesis can be regarded as a cornerstone in the analysis of the domestic wildlife tourism market in Germany and the author has made extensive efforts to obtain in-depth information. Two online surveys were conducted to gain insights into the wants, needs, motivation and particularities of current and potential German wildlife tourists and their interest in wildlife conservation. Participant observation and face-to-face interviews with tour participants and tour guides during three wildlife-based tours and interviews with tourism, wildlife and conservation experts permitted valuable insights into the possibilities and limitations of domestic wildlife tourism in Germany. Intensive desk research completed the picture.