Although sustainable tourism that contributes to biodiversity protection seems to be important anywhere in the planet, ecotourism is rarely examined as a rural development opportunity outside the context of 'mega-diverse' countries, i.e. those 12 countries that between them harbour 60-70% of the total biodiversity of the planet. Collecting data from 20 sites around Scotland, this study considered the potential of ecotourism development in this country through a market segmentation study based on the environmental values of potential ecotourists. With the assistance of the New Ecological Paradigm (Dunlap et al., 2000) four segments with a range of anthropocentric and ecocentric values were identified. Results indicate that demand for ecotourism is not confined to ecocentric segments and that biodiversity protection is prioritised by all segments as the most salient ecotourism attribute, although each segment attaches a different intensity to its importance. The study identifies visitor interest for a Scottish ecotourism experience that emphasises biodiversity conservation and low use of exhaustible resources, while providing facilities for wildlife watching, hill walking and relaxing. Although segment attitudes towards ecotourism do not differ significantly, environmental values can be used to segment potential ecotourists as they allow the formation of visitor groups with different trip characteristics. © 2007 C. Zografos & D. Allcroft.
- Environmental values