Non-nature based tourists in the tropical North


Of the five World Heritage sites in Queensland, two are located in Tropical North Queensland and provide the region with its key iconic experiences. However, not all tourists visit these sites. This paper seeks to identify the reasons why a significant number of tourists do not visit these sites. Based on a survey of departing domestic and international visitors at Cairns domestic airport throughout 2007, this study identifies the visitor segment who do not visit the region’s major natural attractions. Findings indicate that 22.4% of respondents did not visit the Wet Tropics rainforest while 29.1% did not visit the Great Barrier Reef. The key reason for not visiting the rainforest was a lack of time (53%), also the key reason for not visiting the reef (33%), followed by having been before (21%). This study highlights the importance of on‐going monitoring of trends and patterns, as the tourism industry seeks to diversify its products in a natural environment increasingly threatened from extractive industries and faced with climate change issues.