Travel motives of adventure tourists : a case study of Magoebaskloof Adventure
MetadataShow full item record
Adventure tourism involves travel and leisure activities pursued with the expectation that they will produce a rewarding, adventurous experience. Adventure tourism can be defined as travel to a destination to participate in adventurous activities in a natural environment. Two categories of adventure are distinguished, namely soft and hard adventure. Soft adventure includes activities such as bird–watching, hiking, camping and horseback riding, and it requires relatively little physical skill and little or no experience. Hard adventure includes activities such as rock climbing, mountaineering, survival games and caving. Hard adventure has high levels of risk and participants are more likely to engage in physically and mentally challenging outdoor activities. Magoebaskloof Adventures is one of many adventure destinations in South Africa where adventure tourists can participate in adventure activities. It is of great value for Magoebaskloof Adventures to ensure that the needs and expectations of adventure tourists are fulfilled. One way to ensure that these needs are met, is to determine what motivates adventure tourists to travel and participate in adventure activities. Knowledge of these motives will assist adventure tourism products to stay competitive and to develop relevant products. A number of researchers have found that certain travel motives can explain the existence of certain adventure tourism products. Motive can also influence or determine the behaviour of adventure tourists visiting different adventure products or destinations. Past research into adventure motives identified important motives such as escape, challenge, fun, social interaction and experience. As little research has been conducted on travel motives for adventure tourism in South Africa, the aim of this research was to determine the travel motives of adventure tourists to Magoebaskloof Adventures. A literature study provided the background for the empirical study. A quantitative research approach was followed, with a non–probability sampling method, namely convenience sampling. The research was conducted at Magoebaskloof Adventures for a period of nine months (March 2010 to December 2010). A total of 400 usable questionnaires were received back. The results of the study involved two sections: firstly the profile of the typical adventure tourist was determined; and secondly the travel motives of adventure tourists were determined. The profile indicated that adventure tourists are on average 33 years old, male and English–speaking. They are married, hold a diploma or degree and travel in groups of 1–5. The typical adventure tourist travels 1–3 times a year, drives a sedan vehicle and prefers self–catering accommodation. The factor analysis identified the following seven travel motives for adventure tourists: Factor 1 - Prestige and status(an increased sense of personal growth, acquiring new skills, the feeling of success after completing the activity, overcoming fear, and interacting with people and/or the environment); Factor 2 - Group togetherness(participation in a recreational opportunity, family recreation, spending time with someone special, experiencing fun and excitement, and spending time with friends); Factor 3 - Knowledge seeking(learning about adventure, sharing in the challenge, and educating oneself); Factor 4 - Escape and relaxation(exploring a new destination, getting away from routine, and relaxing); Factor 5 - Photography and attraction (an opportunity to practice photography, continuing a habit of adventure that already started in childhood, and the desire to feel part of an adventure); Factor 6 - Enhancing relations (participating because friends arranged the activity, participating in order to tell friends about the experience, and participating because the participant has the necessary experience to perform the activity); and Factor 7 - Novelty (performing the activity before the participant is too old, enjoying the journey with family and friends, and doing ‘something different’). Escape and relaxation was the factor with the highest mean value, and this correlates with other adventure travel motive research as well as research regarding tourists’ motives for visiting nature–based attractions. An analysis of travel motives in general indicates that Escape and relaxation is commonly an important travel motive. Magoebaskloof Adventure focuses more on soft adventure, and the travel motives of participants in this research will therefore differ from those of consumers of hard adventure products. The latter are motivated by aspects such as thrill, challenge, fear, terror, risk, daring, adrenaline, journey, expedition, excitement and success, to name a few. Group togetherness was also identified as a strong motivating factor, and existing nature–based research confirms this as an important motive to travel. In conclusion, this study found that there are differences between the travel motives of tourists to Magoebaskloof Adventures - which provides soft adventure tourism products - and the travel motives of tourists who pursue hard adventure activities. The results of this research can assist Magoebaskloof Adventures in the development of feature adventure tourism products and focused marketing material.