Adventure activity preferences in South African National Parks
Tourism is a key income generator and plays an important role in the financial sustainability of South African National Parks (SANParks), with accommodation currently being the greatest source of income. SANParks are presently operating at a 70-80% occupancy level, leaving little room for improvement or for generating more income from accommodation. Current estimations are that by 2022 operational costs will exceed tourism profits due to the unremitting increases in conservation expenses and management costs. A feasible solution to this problem was identified in the development of new adventure activities. This paper identifies the influence of tourists’ socio-demographic and behavioural profile on adventure preferences in national parks in South Africa. An electronic survey was applied where the link to the questionnaire was posted on SANParks’ website. Statistically significant differences were found for socio-demographic (for example age, gender, language) aspects that affect tourists’ preferences for adventure activities. Behavioural aspects regarding these preferences were whether they are Wild Card holders, whether they participate in adventure and their view on whether there are sufficient adventure activities in parks. This study contributes to the development of new adventure activities for SANParks based on tourists’ socio-demographics and behaviour.
Keywords: Adventure; Adventure tourism; Socio-demographic aspects; South African National Parks.