Who is the Scuba Diver that visits Sodwana Bay and why?
In South Africa, scuba diving as a sport is growing significantly. One of the most sought after scuba diving destinations is Sodwana Bay, situated on the northern coast of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa). The market is rapidly expanding, thus creating competition among the different dive operations. Understanding the travel motives of scuba divers will benefit dive operations and destinations in developing the most appropriate product, improving the services offered and creating more effective promotional activities that will ultimately lead to a competitive advantage. The purpose of this research was to understand the profile and travel motives of scuba divers to Sodwana Bay. Four hundred and two questionnaires were handed out over a 10-day period at Sodwana Bay by six fieldworkers. Availability sampling (non-probability sampling) was implemented in the distribution of the self-administered questionnaire. The results indicated that the profile of scuba divers to Sodwana Bay tend to be younger adults (mean age=34 years) with more male than female participants. The factor analysis identified four motives for diving at Sodwana Bay: personal challenge; devotion; relaxation; and escape and exploration and discovery. The research contributes to current literature regarding travel motives, as well as the scuba diving market in the South African context.
Key words: Marine tourism; Travel motives; Sodwana Bay; Scuba diving; Factor analyses.