Measuring Kruger visitors’ place attachment to specific camps23 Jan 2020
Tourists become emotionally, physically and socially attached to national parks as they become familiar with the park’s settings and endow it with value. Researchers have pointed out that place attachment leads to environmentally responsible behaviour and higher levels of visitor satisfaction. Therefore, increasing the level of attachment that visitors feel is vital for park and camp managers, and to do so a greater understanding of the various dimensions of it is needed. While attachment to parks has been evaluated previously, attachment to specific camps in parks has not been done. The main purpose of this research study was to measure the extent to which visitors to the Tamboti and Satara camps in the Kruger National Park feel attached to these camps. We also determined whether differences exist between visitors in terms of the level of attachment that they experience towards these camps. Finally, we established the variables that influence place attachment. A self-administered paper-based questionnaire was distributed to visitors to the Tamboti and Satara camps, with 201 questionnaires completed. The results show that visitors generally have a neutral feeling towards the camps. Furthermore, the differences in visitors’ levels of attachment could be attributed to their nationality, wild card membership and frequency of visits. Various managerial implications are drawn and recommendations made on how to increase place attachment to these camps. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS : This results indicate that visitors do not show particularly strong attachment towards Tamboti and Satara. Recommendations are given for camp managers to increase place attachment to the camps. If camp managers can succeed in fostering stronger levels of attachment to these camps, visitors are more likely to display environmentally responsible behaviour in the camps, with positive conservation implications.