Original Research

First-time versus repeat visitors at the Kruger National Park

Martinette Kruger, Melville Saayman, Uwe P. Hermann
Acta Commercii | Vol 14, No 1 | a220 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v14i1.220 | © 2014 Martinette Kruger, Melville Saayman, Uwe P. Hermann | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 August 2013 | Published: 10 July 2014

About the author(s)

Martinette Kruger, Tourism Research in Economic Environs and Society (TREES), North-West University, South Africa
Melville Saayman, Tourism Research in Economic Environs and Society (TREES), North-West University, South Africa
Uwe P. Hermann, Department of Tourism Management, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa


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Abstract

Purpose: The aim of this research is to segment visitors at the Kruger National Park based on the frequency of visitation in order to distinguish between first-time and repeat park visitors.

Problem investigated: The Kruger National Park (KNP) in South Africa is one of the world’s most renowned wildlife reserves. The KNP is in great demand because it is regarded as anall-inclusive holiday destination that provides tourists with a unique nature and leisure experience. As a result, the park attracts over one million visitors per annum and is one of the top five international tourist destinations in the country. For the KNP to sustain its visitor numbers, park managers should realise that both first-time and repeat visitor groups play a fundamental role in the overall competitiveness and success of the park, and they should strive to achieve a balance between first-time and repeat visitors. Therefore, the park management should know which attributes of the park attract first-time visitors group and which attract repeat visitors.

Design and methodology and approach: A research survey was done at various rest camps inthe KNP from 26 December 2010 to 03 January 2011; a total of 436 visitor questionnaires were completed. Two-way frequency tables and chi-square tests as well as analysis of variance and Tukey’s multiple comparisons were used to analyse the data and segment first-time and repeat visitors based on socio-demographics and behavioural characteristics as well as travel motivations.

Findings and implications: The results indicated that first-time visitors are long-haul visitors, are younger and pay for fewer people whilst repeat visitors are mainly motivated by escape and plan their trips well in advance. These differences indicate that the KNP should follow a two pronged marketing approach aimed at both visitor markets. This would greatly contribute to the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of the KNP.


Keywords

national park, Kruger National Park, first-time visitors, repeat visitors, Chi-square tests, ANOVA, market segmentation, South Africa

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