Understanding visitor's image of the oldest marine park in Africa

11 May 2015

In successful tourism development and destination marketing, an important factor is individuals' tourist destination image (TDI). A review of the literature revealed a dearth of studies on the image of national parks as tourist destinations in less-developed countries (LDCs). To help alleviate this lack, visitors to the oldest marine park in Africa – the Tsitsikamma National Park (TNP) in South Africa – were surveyed to investigate their image of the TNP. A self-administered questionnaire was completed by 165 day visitors. Subsequently, independent t-tests and ANOVA were performed on the collected data. The contribution of this study to the literature on TDI was twofold. First, it analysed the image of a national park in an LDC as a tourist destination. Tourism in protected areas is an important and growing sector of the worldwide tourism industry, particularly in developing countries where a large portion of the world's biodiversity is concentrated and where tourism can really be a tool for poverty alleviation. Second, it contributed to the TDI-formation process by investigating the relationship between the respondents' TNP image – overall, cognitive and affective dimensions – and a set of their personal factors. This relationship is an issue that needs to be resolved by empirical studies, especially with regard to the cognitive but also the affective image components and its overall image.