Wildlife Tourism: A Handbook for Guides, Tour Operators, Job-seekers and Business Start-ups [Kindle Edition]
As I’m the author of this one I can’t really give a review as such, but you can take a look inside it at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HE1SX1Q The description on this page is:
This is a guide for tour operators, eco-lodge managers, wildlife park staff, students and others interested in a career in wildlife tourism or in adding a wildlife component to their tourism businesses. The emphasis and most examples are Australian, but the principles are relevant to all countries. The book is packed with information on skill-sets of tour guides,learning about wildlife, finding and observing wildlife, interpreting wildlife, interacting with tourists and colleagues, conservation issues and some of the financial and legal aspects of setting up your own business. Many references to other books, articles and websites are included.
Introducing people to wildlife and helping them appreciate their beauty, understand something of their ecology and behaviour, get curious about things we don’t yet understand, and realise some of the conservation thetas currently facing them, has been a lifelong passion. It is one of the major reasons I sarted our wildlife tourism business.
Coming more from an academic background than a business one (although I did run a holiday farm focussing on nature studies and horsemanship many years earlier), the business of starting and running a small business took me and my family into a very steep learning curve. I knew little of the red tape involved, how much time and money was needed for advertising (or how to reduce some of that), or about book-keeping, insurance, or working with booking agents. One of the aims of the book is to help others who may be in the same boat, starting out with loads of enthusiasm for wildlife and sharing their enthusiasm with others, but lacking experience in running a business venture.
Others come from the other direction – they’ve been running a tourism or related business but have an interest in wildlife and want to brush up their knowledge, so there are chapters devoted to getting a grasp of the basics and leads to finding more of the sort of information you’ll need to run good tours in your locality, as well as guidelines or interpreting this to your guests.
For students and job-seekers there are guidelines on what will appeal to your prospective employers, and most of the book will be very relevant for any who seriously want to work in this field.
Most of the examples are Australian, but there is ample general advice to be applicable anywhere in the world.
Is this book for you?
The big picture: does wildlife tourism matter for our economy or for conservation?
Not just the facts ma’am (but not ignoring them either): why good interpretation is so important
What this book will do for you
2. The basics
Skills you will need as a guide
Going a bit further: how to excel as a tour guide
Becoming self-employed as a tour operator or using your skills in other areas
3. Wildlife Skills 1: knowing the wildlife
Getting the ‘big picture’ of wildlife in Australia (or other countries): a good start for avoiding major errors and showing your guests what is different from their own homelands
Identifying wildlife: how to know what you’re looking at (or at least narrowing down the possibilities)
Finding out what species to expect in your district
4. Wildlife Skills 2: finding the wildlife
Knowing when and where to search
When you can’t see the wildlife: tracks, scratches, scats and sounds
5. Wildlife Skills 3: understanding the behaviour and ecology of wildlife
Why should you understand ecology?
Population ecology: why populations of animals of a particular species increase, decrease, stay the same or never enter a particular area.
Community ecology: interactions between species living in the same locality
Further notes on wildlife behaviour
6. Wildlife Skills 4: not disturbing the wildlife
How much disturbance can animals tolerate without changing their behaviour, avoiding you or even disappearing from the region?
How should we approach wildlife?
What happens to the wildlife you never see?
Other interactions with animals
7. Wider conservation issues
Getting it straight
Some threats to wildlife
Learning about conservation problems while still enjoying a holiday
Knowing the legislation.
Contributing positively to conservation
8. People Skills 1: Attending to customer needs and desires
Not making them unhappy – general etiquette
Making them happy – Changing customer satisfaction to customer delight
Dealing with problems: avoiding them if possible, acting appropriately when they do happen
Feedback from customers, and what to do about it
9. People Skills 2: Interpretation
Enjoy your creativity
Not a school-room: remember people want to learn but are also here to enjoy themselves
Clarifying your goals: what would you most like them to remember and talk about?
What to tell them and how to tell it: the guided walk, drive or cruise
What to tell them and how to tell it: the information display
What to tell them and how to tell it: the self-guided nature trail
Learning about Interpretation techniques: links to further information
Testing: what best holds their interest and stays in their memories?
10. People Skills 3: Workplace, networking, and public relations
Making face-to-face networking effective
Don’t forget your customers
Employer/employee and workmate relations
11. Financial matters
Starting an ecotourism venture
Staying afloat through the bad times
Hiring yourself out as a guide
Keeping records and projecting costs
12. Health and Safety issues
Food and water
First aid courses and kits
Other modes of travel
13. Legal matters
Licences and permits needed for starting and running a tour business
Public liability – nowadays it’s risky not to have insurance, and there are some things you can’t legally do without it
Copyright (yours and others), slander and related topics
14. Final note: Never-ending Learning and Innovation
Learning about wildlife
Nature interpretation and guiding techniques
Wildlife tourism literature
Market trends: keeping up to date with what your potential customers are looking for
Thinking creatively: it’s fun and often productive!
References and further reading