The study focuses on the introduction/reintroduction of iconic animals in selected SANParks namely Addo Elephant, Karoo, and Mountain Zebra National Park. The purpose of the study was firstly to determine the relative importance of iconic animals as a tourist attraction in relation to other attractions, and to determine if their presence affects the type and number of visitors to the parks. Secondly it aimed to assess the willingness to pay to specifically view iconic animal species.
The collected data enabled us to compile a detailed description of the visitor profile including demographics, behavioural characteristics, purpose of visits and how these differ between the international and domestic markets. Results show that the relative importance of iconic animals is different across the selected parks, but remained a top 10 travel motivation. The research indicated a general tendency for an increase in visitor numbers with the introductions/reintroductions of iconic animals but not a significant change in type of visitor. Lastly the research indicated that the majority of respondents are willing to pay more for the presence of iconic animals in various categories.
This study supports the key research and management issue of using appropriate nature-based tourism as the best possible financial opportunity to support and supplement conservation whilst providing sustainable high quality, nature-based, value-for-money tourism experiences.
Further research will be done to compile a conceptual framework assessing the economic implications with regards to the introduction/ reintroductions of iconic animals to indicate the economic plausibility, assist in managerial and related investment decisions and conservation efforts.
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2015.