Ecotourism is a viable alternative to mass tourism in promoting a sustainable tourism industry. Ecotourism evolved from tourism providers who began to focus their services on educating tourists about the natural environmental and promoting conservation efforts. Past studies have shown that ecotourism programs have the ability to change tourists’ environmental attitudes and behaviors. Prior research has investigated that interpretation in the form of educating tourists about the natural environment through hands on experiences can result in a deeper appreciation for nature. However, research has yet to examine environmental attitudes and behaviors of tourists from a gender perspective and more research should investigate the effect of interpretative programs on coastal communities. The present study used Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behavior as the framework to examine tourists’ attitudes, intention to act, and behaviors as a result of engaging in an eco-tour in Half Moon Bay, California. The study revealed that environmental attitudes differed between gender and that participants in eco-tours express the demand side of interpretation, where positive environmental preferences led to positive environmental behavior when introduced to environmental education.


sustainable tourism, nature-based experiences, ecotours, environmental attitudes, gender perspectives, Half Moon Bay