Travel motivations of tourists to selected marine national parks
Tourism comprises the world's largest industry, and beaches (marine tourism) are considered as one of the major tourism attractions in the world. Marine tourism includes different aspects such as the ocean, coastal water sports, hotels and restaurants, island and beach resorts, recreation, fishing boat operators, cruise ships and charter yacht companies. One of the main contributors to marine and wildlife tourism in South Africa, is South African National Parks (SANParks), comprising of 21 national parks. Of the 21 National Parks six are marine national parks covering 4004.4 square kilometres namely West Coast, Wilderness, Tsitsikamma, Addo Elephant, Agulhas and Table Mountain National Parks. The two most known Marine National Parks in South Africa are Tsitsikamma and Addo Elephant National Parks: Addo Elephant for the fact that it is the only national park in South Africa hosting the BIG 7, namely elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard, whales and great white sharks. Tsitsikamma National Park is important as it is the first and oldest Marine National Park in Africa. South African National Parks receive thousands of visitors each year and tourists visiting these parks are a source of revenue for national parks and by determining travel motives, marketing can be undertaken more effectively, and specific factors can be taken into account when the marketing strategies are being planned. The literature review indicated that an understanding of tourist motives is a key aspect in understanding tourist behaviour. If the travel motives of tourists are known to product owners, in the case of South African National Parks, they will assist the product owner with product development as well as its marketing strategy. By understanding tourist behaviour one can understand why tourists buy certain products and why they make certain decisions. Tourist behaviour can be analysed in terms of the purchasing process a tourist goes through when making a decision. Different tourists will have different decision making processes and will have different motives for buying different products and services. To be able to understand how buyers proceed through the decision making process one has to look at the tourist decision–making process which consists of different influences like demographic factors, the marketing mix, internal/ psychological, external/social and situational factors. From the literature review, the following travel motivations theories were identified: Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Murray's classification of needs, Mill and Morrison's needs and wants theory, Push and Pull theories and the Sun lust and Wanderlust theory. It was found in the literature review that there are some travel motives that are found in most of the nature based destinations such as “relaxation and escape”, “learn about nature” and “park attributes” to name but a few. The research, however, also found that travel motives are closely linked to what these destinations offer and it was also found that different marine destinations seem also to have different travel motives. The aim of this study is, therefore, to determine the travel motives of tourists to selected Marine National Parks in South Africa. Secondary data was used to determine the visitor's profile as well as the factor analysis on travel motives. Four hundred and eight questionnaires were administered to the Addo Elephant National Park and 495 to the Tsitsikamma National Park. The data analysis consisted of two parts, the first part was descriptive data and here the profile of the visitors to the two selected marine national parks was discussed. In the second part a factor analysis was conducted. The aim of a factor analysis is to reduce the data and to assist in the interpretation of the data. A factor analysis further describes the variance–covariance relationship among a number of variables in terms of a few underlying but unobservable random quantities, called factors. For this research a principal axis factor analysis with Oblimin with Kaiser Normalisation rotation was performed on the 22 travel motive items. The visitors' profiles for both the parks were quite similar except for the following: The largest percentage of the visitors to Tsitsikamma National Park were Afrikaans speaking and not as in the case of Addo Elephant National Park most tourists were English speaking, The major markets for Addo Elephant National Park, were the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces and for the Tsitsikamma National Park the major markets were Gauteng and the Western Cape Provinces. The factor analysis regarding travel motives revealed the following four factors: Education and knowledge seeking, Relaxation and escape, Park attributes and Family togetherness. A comparison was done regarding the travel motives of tourists to the two national parks to determine if there were any differences. A small to medium effect size was found for “relax and escape” and “education and learning about wildlife”, therefore, a small to medium statistical significant difference were found. This research confirmed that different marine destinations have different travel motives. Therefore, marketers can use this information and focus on individual marketing for each park based on the products they offer.