Understanding visitor expectations for responsible tourism in an iconic national park: Differences between local and international visitors
Taylor and Francis
Centre for Ecosystem Management /School of Science
A survey on expectations for responsible tourism was administered to 201 visitors to the iconic Kruger National Park, comprising 55% South African nationals and 45% international tourists. Using Likert-scale questions, respondents were invited to indicate the level of importance they attached to 38 aspects of responsible tourism. Space was also provided for open comments. Conservation of biodiversity and geological features were rated very highly by both groups while aspects related to the local community, though considered important overall, were ranked lowest overall, with international tourists rating this category as more important than South Africans. Aspects related to traffic and access were rated to be more important by South Africans, probably because they mostly self-drive while international visitors rely more on organised game drives. Visual and aesthetic features of camps, as well as energy, water and waste management were all considered very important by all respondents, with members of both groups making further suggestions for improvement. This suggests that visitors are supportive of low environmental impact tourism in the Kruger National Park. In light of the strategic goal of South African National Parks to increase visitor numbers, it will be important that this goal is achieved without compromising sound environmental performance.