Travel motivations to selected national parks in South Africa : Karoo-, Tsitsikamma- and Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Parks
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Research in tourist behaviour follows the cognitive approach. This contains the behavioural cycle of stimulation (motivation and intention formation), the actual behaviour and experience, and finally the evaluation of consequences. These stages are referred to in tourism as: the pre-trip experience (motivation and intention formation), travel stage (actual behaviour) and the post-travel stage (evaluation of the travel experience). The characteristics, which influence tourist behaviour, indicate that travel motivations are the result of how tourists behave (tourist behaviour). These characteristics are: the decision-making process, demographical factors, marketing mix, external/social factors and internal/ psychological factors (motivations). Motivations to travel have a major influence on the travel behaviour of tourists. Tourists' motivations to satisfy their needs directly influence their behaviour, or the actions they take, in order to satisfy these needs. Due to its impelling and compelling nature, motivation is considered to be one of the most important variables in explaining tourist behaviour. As countries and destinations strive to increase their share of the international and national tourism market, it becomes important to understand why people travel and why they choose a specific ecotourism destination. If travel motivations of tourists are known to the product, it will be an aid when developing a competitive marketing strategy. From the literary review, the following travel motivations occurred regularly: leisure, excitement, socialisation, relaxation, family togetherness, escape, culture, novelty, attractions, knowledge seeking, adventure, prestige, nature, facilities, recreation, attributes, nostalgia, photography, exploration and activities. The literary review further revealed that there are travel motivations commonly found with regard to tourism destinations, and on the other hand, there are travel motivations which are product related. The aim of this research was to determine the travel motivations of tourists to selected national parks in South Africa: Karoo-, Kgalagadi Transfrontier- and Tsitsikamma National Parks. Secondary data was used to determine the visitors' profile, as well as the factor analysis on travel motivations. For the visitors' profile, 286 questionnaires were administered for Karoo National Park, 468 for the Tsitsikamma National Park and 582 for Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park. For the factor analysis, 318 questionnaires were administered for Karoo National Park, 673 for the Tsitsikamma National Park and 534 for Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park. Primary data was used to determine the reasons for visiting these parks. 101 Questionnaires were administered for Karoo National Park, 192 for the Tsitsikamma National Park and 104 for Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park. The foremost findings of the research were divided into three categories, namely: visitors' profile, reasons for visiting the parks and travel motivations. Regarding visitors profile; it was found that profiles for the three parks were quite similar, except for the following: expenditure of tourists at Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park, where the average spending of tourists was higher and directly linked to the duration of stay; duration of stay indicated that tourists visiting Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park stayed longer. Two major markets were revealed by the research for all three parks, namely: Gauteng and Western Cape, with the exception of Tsitsikamma National Park, which had a third market of importance, namely Eastern Cape. This information is important when developing marketing strategies. It was especially evident that 4x4 vehicles are the preferred mode of transport for visitors to Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park. Therefore, this park can be marketed as a 4x4 destination. From these results one can conclude that the profile of tourists to the three selected national parks showed minor differences. Primary data was used to determine the reasons why tourists visit the selected parks. Among the most important travel reasons why tourists visit the selected parks, was: to relax, for family recreation, to get away from regular routine and for the benefit of the children. The factor analysis regarding travel motives revealed the following: five factors were identified for Karoo National Park and six factors were identified for both Tsitsikamma- and Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Parks. Results illustrated that these parks have common and unique motives. Common travel motives in these parks include: park attributes, escape and relaxation, as well as knowledge seeking. Unique to Karoo National Park, was attractions and family togetherness, compared to photography and adventure for Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park, and adventure and attractions for the Tsitsikamma National Park. A combined factor analysis was also conducted, which showed knowledge seeking, park attributes, as well as escape and relaxation as the most important travel motives of tourists visiting the three selected national parks. This research, therefore, confirmed that different attractions and destinations feed different travel motives, even when classified as similar types of products. Marketers can use this information to position these parks and to develop better marketing strategies, to enable national parks to outwit their competitors.
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