Original Research

Interpretation needs and preferences of visitors to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Petrus van der Merwe, Melville Saayman, Elricke Botha
Koedoe | Vol 62, No 1 | a1613 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v62i1.1613 | © 2020 Petrus van der Merwe, Melville Saayman, Elricke Botha | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 December 2019 | Published: 11 August 2020

About the author(s)

Petrus van der Merwe, School of Tourism Management, Tourism Research in Economics, Environs and Society, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Melville Saayman, School of Tourism Management, Tourism Research in Economics, Environs and Society, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Elricke Botha, Department of Applied Management, College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

South African National Parks is one of South Africa’s main drawcards for ecotourists. One of these parks is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP), which is also a World Heritage Site (WHS). Because tourism is key to national parks and WHSs, visitor management strategies such as interpretation are vital for these destinations to provide tourists with better experiences and knowledge. The aim of this research was therefore to determine the interpretation needs and preferences of visitors to KTP. The factor analyses revealed that tourists felt that park guidelines would add the most to a quality experience. Tourists preferred interpretation topics on nature and heritage and would like to receive in-depth information on these topics. Interpretation should also preferably be offered through audio and visual media. These findings impact the development of relevant interpretation services for the park, which will contribute towards visitors’ experiences. The research is original as it examined visitors’ interpretation needs and preferences on topics, the extent of information tourists would like to receive and the type of media through which information should be presented.

Conservation implications: Designing relevant interpretation services based on tourists’ needs and preferences will contribute towards satisfactory experiences. In turn, this may lead to an increase in profits, which can support conservation practices. Effective interpretation messages can also foster additional support towards conservation efforts.


Keywords

ecotourism; wildlife tourism; national parks; education; interpretation; World Heritage Site

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