Ecotour guides of the Australian outback : the Savanna Guides
conference contributionposted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Wendy HillmanWendy Hillman
This study explores salient issues related to the perceived professionalisation of a collective group of tourism business individuals called Savannah Guides. The guides’ philosophy is based on a collective sense of identity and recognition as an exclusive ecotourism organisation. This has been used as a means of positioning themselves in the competitive ecotourism market. Exclusivity and elitism are practiced by the guides to deny entry to individuals who do not conform to their organisational standards and codes of conduct. The organisation has regimented levels of attainment and can be considered as quasi-militaristic in its orientation. The guides present themselves to the public mainly through their individual tourism businesses. Emotional labour is one of the ways they interact with the public on their tours. They incorporate the emotional side of their interpretive work into their tourist products and tours, through the ways they impart both education and knowledge to the tourists. Concern for, and an extensive knowledge of the environment, are also components of their specialised form of guiding. Many of the guides see work in the ecotourism industry as a form of alternative employment, and as an option to the decline in rural employment. Others perceive a niche for this type of tourism and exploit the opportunity.