Park visitors' perceptions of governance: a comparison between Ontario and British Columbia provincial parks management models
Article publication date: 23 November 2010
The purpose of the paper is to compare visitor perspectives of the governance of two of Canada's largest park systems: the parastatal model of Ontario Provincial Parks and the public and for‐profit combination model of British Columbia Provincial Parks.
The authors developed an electronic survey based on the ten UNDP criteria of governance: strategic vision, accountability, transparency, consensus‐orientation, public participation, efficiency, effectiveness, responsiveness, equity, and rule of law. The survey was administered to park visitors for both park systems in the summer of 2008 and spring of 2009 (British Columbia Provincial Parks n=112, Ontario Provincial Parks n=255).
Researchers determined that the ten governance sections of the survey actually form 11 governance factors. Data suggested statistically significant differences in regards to the visitors' perceptions between the two park systems. Specifically, visitors to Ontario Parks ranked all 11 criteria of governance higher, closer towards good governance, than did visitors to British Columbia Parks (p<0.001).
These results suggest that the Ontario Parks parastatal model is closer to the ideals of good governance as perceived by the park users, when compared to the British Columbia parks' public and for‐profit combination model. This paper also provides future policy makers with a new understanding of the multiple factors that affect visitors experience and perceptions of protected areas.
This is one of the first studies to investigate visitors' perceptions of two commonly used protected area management models. These research findings contribute to the debate regarding which protected area management model is superior when compared using the UNDP governance criteria.
Buteau‐Duitschaever, W.C., McCutcheon, B., Eagles, P.F.J., Havitz, M.E. and Glover, T.D. (2010), "Park visitors' perceptions of governance: a comparison between Ontario and British Columbia provincial parks management models", Tourism Review, Vol. 65 No. 4, pp. 31-50. https://doi.org/10.1108/16605371011093854
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