The key determinants influencing consumer behaviour and consumer decision making in
hiking tourism has not been clearly defined at an academic level. A particular knowledge
gap exists in literature concerning the role of accreditation systems in consumer decision
making regarding the consumption of hiking tourism products. In order to address these
shortcomings, this study took a quantitative approach in the form of a survey research
strategy to measure the importance of and future intended response towards trail
accreditation, as determined by consumers from two different populations: hikers and nonhikers.
This was achieved by presenting a hypothetical country-wide implementation of a
case study accreditation system to respondents. The findings from this study demonstrate
a link between accreditation and consumer decision making and the future uptake of hiking
tourism amongst both hikers and non-hikers. Consumer response to the individual
constructs represented by accreditation, such as trustworthy information, is demonstrated
and the most important information aspects in decision making are highlighted. The study
also contributes to the existing body of knowledge regarding consumer awareness and
willingness to pay (WTP) towards accreditation systems and ecolabels in tourism.
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2015.