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UBC Theses and Dissertations

What affects environmentally sustainable behaviour? A case study of visitors to Whistler BC Nathaniel, Lindsay Carolyn Tamara


Environmental sustainability has increasingly become a global concern and a goal for many communities. The Resort Municipality of Whistler is one such community. While engaged in sustainability-based planning, it has not yet included specific input from its large visitor population. It is useful to understand visitor views and what drives their behaviour before implementing integrated environmental sustainability initiatives. This research investigates what influences environmentally sustainable behaviour of visitors to Whistler. It examines perceptions of environmental sustainability, environmental behaviour norms, and motivators and barriers affecting environmental behaviour of visitors to Whistler. It is grounded in literature on sustainability theory and environmental behaviour. Data from 232 visitors were collected through surveys in winter 2009. The data were analyzed using correlations, analyses of variance, by extent of agreement, and by categorizing respondents’ quotes and discussing issues raised. Results show that convenience, values, cost, how local businesses act and the belief that one’s behaviour would make a difference most influence environmentally sustainable behaviour at Whistler. It was determined that information provided and social pressures have the least influence. Respondents perceive that maintaining a healthy environment is their responsibility and do not prioritize the environment over human well-being. They engage in recycling and hotel-related environmental behaviours more often than food-related ones. The research concludes with recommendations on improving visitor engagement in Whistler’s sustainability initiatives.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International