Tourists’ motivations, learning, and trip satisfaction facilitate pro-environmental outcomes of the Antarctic tourist experience

Daniela Cajiao, Yu Fai Leung, Lincoln R. Larson, Pablo Tejedo, Javier Benayas

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Scopus citations


    Tourism in Antarctica has been growing and diversifying. While Antarctic tourists are purported to have meaningful interactions with the Antarctic environment, little empirical research exists to understand how motivations and trip characteristics of the Antarctic journey shape tourists' experiential outputs, which may in turn influence their pro-environmental outcomes. To examine these relationships, we conducted exploratory analyses using 242 pre-and post-trip surveys collected during the 2019–2020 Antarctic season. We identified four motivation types of Antarctic tourists: experience & learning, adventure into Antarctica, social bonding, and trip of a lifetime. Following the interactional model of tourist experience, we associated this motivation typology and trip characteristics with experiential outputs (Perceived Learning, Measured Learning, and Satisfaction) and pro-environmental outcomes (Environmental Concerns, Management Preferences, and Behavior Intentions). Our results indicated most tourists traveling to Antarctica already possessed high levels of pro-environmental attitudes and behavior intentions, leading to few significant changes after the journey. However, we found that the specific inputs of motivations and trip characteristics influenced experiential outputs in different ways -especially Perceived Learning and Satisfaction-, which were strongly associated with pro-environmental outcomes. Findings reinforce the importance of meaningful and transformative Antarctic tourist experiences in promoting sustainable human-environment interactions and provide new insights regarding tourists’ learning and experiential outcomes. Management implications: Tourists traveling to Antarctica hold a diversity of expectations and motivations. These motivations interact with trip characteristics to influence tourists’ experiences. Enhanced understanding of these relationships could contribute to the Antarctic tourism industry efforts to develop strategic promotion, programming, and communication strategies that produce meaningful experiences and foster pro-environmental outcomes. As tourism diversifies, we should reflect on how the Antarctic tourist experience could become more customized and participatory, effectively inspiring Antarctic tourists to serve as stewards and ambassadors for the Last Frontier.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number100454
    JournalJournal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism
    StatePublished - Mar 2022


    • Attitudes
    • Behavior intentions
    • Experiential outputs
    • Knowledge
    • Perceived learning
    • Pro-environmental outcomes


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