Understanding the factors that influence visitor perceptions regarding wildlife tourism with Amazon River dolphins

Marcelo Derzi Vidal, Priscila Maria da Costa Santos, Maria do Perpétuo Socorro Rodrigues Chaves, Jasmine Cardozo Moreira, Robert Clyde Burns


Understanding the factors that influence the visitor’s perceptions regarding wildlife tourism is essential to management of its potential negative impacts. This article presents the profile, and visitor perception, regarding tourism with Amazon River dolphins in the Anavilhanas National Park, Brazil. Using a semi-structured script, interviews were carried out with 175 visitors of the “Flutuante dos Botos”, enterprise where the interactions with cetaceans occur. The interviewees hailed from 12 countries from North and South America and Europe. Most interviewees reported an age within a range from 18-27 years, a higher education degree and a high monthly household income. The main feeling aroused by the interactions with dolphins was that of happiness/excitement yet many visitors have expressed dissatisfaction with the enterprise staff. Although the model of how the activity is carried out, based on food supply, harms the cetaceans’ natural behaviour based on hunting, most interviewees believe that tourism helps to preserve the species by promoting people's awareness and making people acquire important knowledge. Our results provide important information for managers of the enterprise and the Protected Area, so they can better understand tourism and develop adequate management strategies for interactions between the tourist and the Amazon River dolphin.


Anavilhanas; Ecotourism; Cetaceans; Inia geoffrensis; National Park

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