Interactive webcam travel: supporting wildlife tourism and conservation during COVID-19 lockdowns

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Blaer, Madelene ORCID: 0000-0003-3101-992X (2023) Interactive webcam travel: supporting wildlife tourism and conservation during COVID-19 lockdowns. Information Technology and Tourism, 25. pp. 47-69. ISSN 1098-3058


Using the conceptual frameworks and theories of virtual tourism, telepresence and para-social interactions, this exploratory study investigates an innovative campaign employed by a nature-based wildlife tourism operator as a response to the COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions of 2020/21. Insights are provided into a unique model of webcam livestreaming that is scheduled, hosted and interactive. Over 73,000 social media comments and 590 survey responses from webcam viewers were analysed and indicate that watching the livestream had positive impacts for tourism recovery and conservation action. Research findings suggest that interactive webcam travel can affect travel behaviour and conservation awareness and action in part through building and engaging online communities and supporting a sense of connection with nature. This study contributes new knowledge to the emerging research on webcam livestreaming in tourism. As a subset of virtual tourism, interactive webcam travel emerges as an alternative to more costly forms of virtual reality for industry practitioners and stakeholders to engage new and old audiences, especially in the context of tourism recovery initiatives after disasters and crises that prevent or limit physical visitation.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1007/s40558-023-00242-3
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3508 Tourism
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities
Keywords virtual tourism, Covid 19, wildlife based tourism, webcam livestream, connection with nature
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