Perceptions and Attitudes of Domestic Tourists toward Ecotourism
Although authorities are aware of the economic benefits of ecotourism, domestic tourism in Oman often fails to prioritise environmentally conscious visits to natural areas that incorporate observation and education. Without greater awareness, the preservation of these destinations will remain a mere aspiration. This study aimed to collect data on the perceptions and attitudes of local tourists towards ecotourism in Oman, focusing on three popular nature destinations from different governorates. To address the research problem, a mixed approach, along with the descriptive correlational design, was used. Over a month-long survey, primary data was collected from fifty respondents, revealing an overwhelmingly positive attitude towards ecotourism in Oman. The potential for ecotourism in the country was rated as ‘High,' reflecting optimism about the future of the tourism sector. However, respondents also acknowledged that ecotourism can have a ‘High’ detrimental impact on the ecosystem. Economic and sociocultural implications were considered to be of ‘Very High’ importance. The positive perceptions and attitudes towards ecotourism in Oman were mainly driven by the economic and sociocultural benefits it offers. The results of this study indicate a promising outlook for ecotourism in Oman, as long as sustainable regulations are in place. Planning is crucial for every aspect of ecotourism, particularly regarding management, operation, and development. All goals related to preservation and conservation, as well as marketing and promotion, must be effectively communicated among stakeholders. The way in which Omani visitors perceive ecotourism is heavily influenced by economic considerations. Although ecotourism is viewed positively for its financial advantages for the nation and communities, concerns remain regarding the negative impacts of tourism development on the environment. It is therefore essential to focus on promoting sustainable growth in these areas without compromising the environment.
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