Enhancing Visitor Experiences Using Thematic Interpretation in Park Guiding Service in Sarawak National Parks
1 Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation Division, SARAWAK FORESTRY Corporation Sdn. Bhd., Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
2 Natural Product Research and Development Centre, University of Technology MARA, Jalan Meranek, Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia
3 University of Technology MARA, Kota Bharu Campus, Kelantan, Malaysia
Enhancing visitor experiences is arguably the primary and most important goal for interpretation by many protected area managers and tourism business. However, little research has been conducted in Sarawak, Malaysia to directly quantify the effects of thematic interpretation has on tourist experiences. Drawing on the TORE-model of interpretation and through the inception of Park Guiding Training and Licensing System in Sarawak since 2007, this quantitative study examines the effectiveness of thematic interpretive guided tours delivered by park guides at Bako National Park, Sarawak, with the assumption that it will further enhance visitor experiences. A descriptive analysis and Pearson's product-moment correlation analysis of sub-indicators of the global evaluation of interpretation of site, and sub-indicators of elaboration surveyed from visitors of purposively sampled park guides revealed a strong measurement and correlation coefficients of visitors’ overall quality of thematic intepretive guided tours effecting visitor satisfaction and experiences. These findings provide empirical evidence that good thematic interpretive guided tour makes a positive impacts on visitor experiences, thus making training of tourism businesses' employees as park guides as a good investment. The suggestions for further research in influencing visitor attitude and shaping visitor behaviour are offered.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2014
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