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A concessionaire model for food and beverage operations in South African National Parks
Taylor, Tish Frances
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In recent years, protected areas have come under pressure due to the budget cuts of government. As a result, national parks have had to devise strategies by means of which they are able to generate additional revenue, in order to remain competitive. Such a strategy is the introduction of public-private partnerships, which allows the private sector to operate certain lodging facilities, restaurants and shops within parks. SANParks introduced their commercialization strategy in 2000 and overall it has been a success. However, despite earning much needed revenue; there are many complaints from tourists regarding the food and beverage concessions. Research regarding travel food consumption is in its infancy and is lacking in social science research. The importance of travel dining cannot be understated as it constitutes approximately 25% of tourist expenditure and as such contributes to the economic receipts of a destination. The importance of understanding the wants and needs of tourists with reference to food and beverage will enable destinations to realise the full economic potential of the tourism experience. It has been postulated that food consumption no longer forms part of the ‘supporting’ experience but is in fact a ‘peak’ tourist experience and as such can impair the total tourist experience if tourists are not satisfied with food and beverage consumption at a destination. SANParks does not offer a wide variety of food and beverage facilities and it is of utmost importance that the facilities that are available, cater to the requirements of tourists. The purpose of this study was to construct a model for concessionaire food and beverage operations at SANParks. This was done by targeting tourists who visit SANParks and inquiring as to their preferences with regard to restaurants and shop facilities. The questionnaire for the study was posted on SANParks’ website for a period of three weeks and consisted of four sections, namely a demographic section, a section related to food service brands, a section regarding restaurants and the last section regarding shop facilities. The data was analysed to provide information needed to construct a model for concessionaire food and beverage operations in SANParks. Data provided a demographic profile of tourists to SANParks, factors analysis provided restaurant and take-away factors, ANOVA and t-tests allowed comparisons of factors with demographics and lastly structural equation modelling which provided goodness of fit indices for the proposed model.