Rural tourism and agritourism are in their infant stages in South Africa. It benefits the farmer, the local community, the rural area, the tourist and the country. It is therefore a viable option but requires more research, management, planning and control for it to be successful. Many agritourism ventures are not as successful as they should be. The problem is that farmers/landowners do not research the demand for tourist products before they deliver them and do not know whom they are catering for. To stay competitive, the tourists’ characteristics ought to be understood. This would provide insight into what facilities and services to supply, what resources to utilise and how to promote the agritourism destination. The aim of this study was to segment the potential and practicing agritourists into different clusters, according to their preferences, and to investigate the clusters’ characteristics and behaviours. The objectives were to: (1) Investigate the potential and practicing agritourists’ socio-economic, demographic and travel characteristics. (2) Rate all the attractions, activities and services according to their popularity. (3) Clarify the preferences of these tourists, concerning attractions and activities, by combining similar ones. (4) Divide the tourists into clusters of similar preferences. (5) Compare the socio-economic, demographic and travel characteristics of the different clusters of tourists. (6) Produce a set of guidelines for entrepreneurs/farmers/landowners, as to what tourist products they should supply or develop, and for whom, and how they should market them. This study entailed distributing questionnaires to potential and practicing agritourists at shopping centres and farms involved in agritourism. The questionnaires provided information on these potential and practicing agritourists. One hundred and eight questionnaires were completed. The respondents indicated that mountains, waterfalls, rivers, big game, swimming, picnicking, scenic drives, dams/lakes/pans and small game were the most popular agritourism attractions and activities. Factor analysis was used to reduce the number of variables by combining like variables (attractions) and cluster analysis was utilised to segment the respondents into five clusters of tourists with similar preferences for agritourism attractions and activities. Cross tabulation, frequencies and descriptive statistics were used to describe these different clusters. These groups of tourists were described according to their demographic, socio-economic and travel characteristics. Segmenting tourism markets and compiling profiles of the tourists within each sub-market has proved to be advantageous. Once the demands of the tourists are known, the appropriate facilities and number of facilities can be developed. Knowing who the tourists are and where to target them, will lead to better marketing, planning and promotion of the destination. Customer satisfaction will be increased, as it is known exactly who must be catered for, thereby resulting in repeat visits. The five clusters of tourists were: general nature tourists; urban tourists; hard outdoor adventure tourists; visual or soft outdoor adventure tourists; and agritourists. All these tourists, except urban tourists, are excellent potential agritourists. The results of this study were used to compile guidelines for entrepreneurs. These guidelines could help them in deciding who to target (which clusters), what agritourism products to develop (attractions, activities and services) and how to market them (means of advertising). Appropriate accommodation types and the availability of equipment and facilities for activities also act as attractions. This study demonstrates an inexpensive method of gathering information about tourists, thereby improving marketing and planning approaches. It illustrates how the potential and practicing agritourists can be divided into sub-markets. The agritourism market is a heterogeneous market and must therefore be segmented. Any entrepreneur can use the results of this market segmentation. Any future studies, similar to this one, could consist of a sample much larger. As this study was primarily based in the Western Cape, similar research should be executed in other distinct regions. It would be illuminating to see how the groups of agritourists vary according to geographical areas.
|Subject||Agricultural economics and Marketing|
|Subject 2||Agricultural economics and Marketing|
|Degree Type||Masters degree|