Exploring practitioner conceptualisations of professionalism among Australian Ecotour Guides

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Conference Proceeding
20th Annual Conference Council for Australian University Tourism and Hospitality Education (CAUTHE), 2010, pp. 1 - 5
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The emergence of professionalism in the ecotourism industry has been noted (cf. Fennell, 2003; Wearing, 1995; Weaver, 2001, 2008), however, there is a lack of literature that addresses the professionalism and the quality control of ecotourism (Black & Crabtree, 2007; Black & Weiler, 2005; Weaver & Lawton, 2007). Although empirical research on professionalism in ecotour guiding and the ecotourism industry is virtually non-existent, professionalism as it relates to ecotourism emphasises accreditation, certification and guide training, and educational programs (Fennell, 2003). The terms profession and professional have been adopted in the tour guiding literature as unproblematic, and are used arbitrarily and interchangeably in describing the occupation of tour guiding without clarification as to exactly what professional tour guiding involves (cf. Ap & Wong, 2001; Pond, 1993; Weiler & Ham, 2001b). For ecotour guiding to gain professional status it is imperative to understand what professionalism means for ecotour guiding.
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