n Acta Commercii - A visitor motivational typology at Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site : original research

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2413-1903
  • E-ISSN: 1684-1999



Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site (MNP) is a unique national park in South Africa in that it includes a World Heritage Site of significant importance for the people of southern Africa. MNP is a relatively new national park with low visitor numbers and occupancy rates, which threaten the sustainable management of the park.

This study aimed to develop a general visitor profile and to describe the motivational factors for visiting the park in order to support the development of tourism at MNP.
A tourism management plan is required for the park; however, any planning associated planning requires an assessment of tourist behaviour and needs.
An online questionnaire was distributed to a database of visitors to MNP during March-April 2013. A total of 486 responses were received. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics through frequencies and means. Motivator constructs were analysed through a factor analysis.
The study both confirmed and contradicted previous findings from other national parks in terms of visitor profiles and motivations. Most crucially, this study identified a new motivational factor for visiting national parks, which advances the need to manage the heritage aspect of world heritage sites distinctly from national parks.
The results indicated that visitors to MNP were older and better educated compared to visitors at other national parks. These visitors included predominantly first-time visitors. In addition these visitors are mainly motivated by the need for a , although the park is not a Big 5 reserve, findings also identified as a unique motivational factor for this park.
The study promotes the requirement of a unique park-specific tourism management strategy for MNP as the market base of this park is demographically distinct. In addition, the park should improve the promotion of its status as a World Heritage asset in relation to its natural attributes in order to attract greater numbers of heritage tourists. Although the park features exceptional natural features, the reserve is not a Big 5 reserve and this may result in dissatisfaction with the major group of visitors seeking a nature experience.

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