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Travel motivations of tourists to selected marine destinations

Petrus Van der Merwe, Elmarie Slabbert & Melville Saayman (2011) Travel motivations of tourists to selected marine destinations.  Int. J. Tourism Res. 13, 457–467 (2011)

Abstract

South Africa is well known for its favourable climate, wildlife and golden beaches. Adding to this, its long summers make its coastline (over 3500 km) even more attractive to tourists around the world, and so are transforming the South African coast into a major marine tourism attraction. Along this lengthy coastline lie numerous marine destinations attracting thousands of tourists. These destinations offer various activities such as scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming, world class surfing and whale watching to tourists. When trying to capitalise on these assets, marketers clearly state that it is necessary to understand the market that uses them and the reasons people travel. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to determine the travel motives of tourists to selected marine destinations.

Five surveys were conducted at marine resorts by means of a structured questionnaire. Two hundred and two (202) questionnaires were completed at Hartenbos, 210 at Jeffrey’s Bay, 333 at Margate, 237 at Amanzimtoti and 153 at Plettenberg Bay. The statistical analysis entailed descriptive statistics and a factor analysis of the five surveys. The results revealed similarity regarding escape and relaxation as travel motives when compared to other research. However, time usage and personal attachment were unique motives identified by this study.

A combination of psychological motives and of more tangible aspects should be used in tourism marketing strategies in order to attract a higher number of visitors to marine destinations. These results will, therefore, assist marketers and product developers of marine destinations, particularly with the marine tourism product being very similar.

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