Do socio-demographic factors influence the travel behaviours of visitors to nature-based tourism products in South Africa?
10811281 - Du Plessis, Engelina
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Nature-based tourism products in Africa, especially South Africa, are playing an important role in attracting visitors. It is therefore essential to understand travel behaviour and the factors influencing the behaviour of visitors, as such knowledge can influence future park visits, park development and target marketing strategies for nature-based products. Information regarding visitors to parks is available; however, given the competitive environment of nature-based tourism products, more in-depth information regarding visitors is required. The lack of specific information poses development and marketing challenges. It is therefore the aim of this paper to determine the influence of selected socio-demographic factors on the travel behaviour of visitors to nature-based tourism products in South Africa. A survey was conducted including nine National Parks in South Africa and resulting in 1300 questionnaires being administered. A factor analysis on travel motivations revealed five factors with the highest mean value obtained for 'relaxation'. A second factor analysis on park experiences also revealed five factors with the highest mean value obtained for 'activities and facilities'. A t-test for Equality of Means was calculated for age, home language, presence of children, and province, revealing a few significant differences in both travel motivations and park experiences. Most differences exist in Relaxation and Learning for travel motivations and Maintenance for park experiences. An ANOVA was computed for qualification, travel motivations and park preferences and revealed only one significant difference. It was therefore concluded that only selected socio-demographic factors influence the travel behaviour of visitors to parks in South Africa, and necessitate recognition in marketing and product strategies.