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Encouraging Respectful Wildlife Viewing Among Tourists: Roles for Social Marketing, Regulatory Information, Symbolic Barriers, and Enforcement

January 26, 2023

A study documenting improved compliance with wildlife viewing distances using a social marketing approach.

This study tested a social marketing campaign that promoted replacement behaviors against standard regulatory signage in persuading individuals to follow the viewing distance guideline for Hawaiian green sea turtles. The characteristics of one of the study sites also offered the opportunity to study the impacts of symbolic barriers (e.g., rock walls, orange safety cones) and enforcement from authority-like figures on people’s compliance.

Findings showed regulatory information signs located near the sea turtles positively impacted people’s compliance with the viewing distance guideline, and the social marketing campaign improved compliance even further. The symbolic barrier could help or hurt compliance depending on how close sea turtles got to its edges, but compliance was over 90% with the social marketing campaign in place.

Abrams KM, Molder AL, Nankey P, Leong K. 2023. Encouraging respectful wildlife viewing among tourists: Roles for social marketing, regulatory information, symbolic barriers, and enforcement. Social Marketing Quarterly, 29(1), 67-86.  https://doi.org/10.1177/15245004231153085.

Last updated by Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center on 02/28/2023