Social media reveal that charismatic species are not the main attractor of ecotourists to sub-Saharan protected areas
Thus far, the lack of visitation data has prevented the closer investigation of motivations to visit protected areas in Sub-Saharan Africa. In this study, we used social media data to investigate if the presence of charismatic megafauna (such as the Big Five) indeed would explain the presence of tourists in the park using social media usage as a surrogate for protected area visitation.
In this study, we obtained biological, geographical and country level attributes for Sub-Saharan protected areas and used in the generalized linear model as explanatory variables for social media usage.
As a result, we found that the richness of charismatic species had no influence on social media usage in sub-Saharan Africa’s protected areas, whereas the socio-economic conditions in each country was a key factor affecting visitation to the sites. More details and discussion are available in the original article published in Scientific Reports: http://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-00858-6