Cultural ecosystem services by visitor origins in the US national parks

Authors: Inhye Kong*, University of Georgia
Topics: Tourism Geography, Recreational and Sport Geography, Environmental Perception
Keywords: cultural ecosystem services, user-generated content, online tourism review, TripAdvisor, national park
Session Type: Virtual Paper
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The national park is an iconic tourism destination to provide public enjoyment with the mandate to conserve biodiversity. However, current national park management struggles with the lack of visitor information to understand their customers, which may hamper the process to establish management priorities and policies. Aside from the tourism perspective, understanding visitor profiles and their experiences have been placed as a central goal at place-based conservation, which aims to bring socially perceived values in conservation policy.
In this study, we adopt the framework of cultural ecosystem services (CES) as a proxy for visitor experiences. CES refers to intangible benefits people obtain from nature, such as aesthetic appreciation, recreation opportunities, education, and spiritual experiences. With text analysis, we aim to retrieve CES from the Online Tourism Review (OTR), which has been utilized in recent tourism studies as a substitute for the traditional survey. The review texts and visitor profiles from TripAdvisor were targeted and collected at the multiple attractions in the US National Parks. While previous studies manually labeled the words with CES, we aim to apply a crowdsourced labeling system to establish a reliable dictionary to match the lemmas with CES. With the dictionary, we can automate the process to identify CES from the massive amount of OTR.
Besides, we geolocate the self-claimed home locations from visitor profiles and classify the visitors into local, domestic, international visitors. Based on the categorization, we examine whether the perception of CES is different based on the origin of visitors.

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