Determinants of visitor length of stay at three coastal parks in South Africa
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This study identified the determinants of length of stay at three of South Africa’s coastal national parks: the Addo Elephant, Tsitsikamma, and Wilderness National Parks. The overall impact of tourists in a given economy hinges on a variety of factors, including length of stay. South African National Parks should aim to attract visitors who stay longer, particularly during off-peak seasons, since literature states that visitors who stay for a shorter period do not travel much except to visit only the major tourist attractions. Longer-stay visitors visit a wider range of attractions, explore more peripheral regions, and generate more diverse economic, social, and environmental impacts. Identifying the factors that make visitors stay longer thus benefits any destination seeking to increase visitor spending. Destination-based surveys based on self-administered questionnaires were conducted at the three Parks during 2012 and 2013 and 496 completed questionnaires for the three Parks in total were included in the analysis. Stepwise linear regression analyses were performed to identify the determinants of length of stay at each of these Parks. The results showed clear similarities and differences between these determinants for the three Parks, indicating that park management should focus on the specific attributes of each Park in order to encourage longer visits to these ecotourism destinations.