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Segmenting protected area visitors by activities: A case study in
Paklenica National Park, Croatia

 

Demir Barić1* , Petra Anić2 and Ana Macías Bedoya1

 

Received: 18/09/2015 Accepted: 24/01/2016

 

1Departamento Historia, Geografía y Filosofía. Grupo de Investigación en Gestión Integrada de Áreas Litorales, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y Ambientales Universidad de Cádiz, Polígono Río San Pedro, s/n, 11510, Puerto Real, Cadiz, Spain
2Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Sveučilišna avenija 4, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia
*Corresponding author, phone: +34 627275673; email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Abstract
 

To date, a variety of market segmentation approaches have been employed to identify homogenous visitor segments in wilderness and protected area settings. This study focuses on activity-based segmentation of specific subgroups of visitors, specifically visitors of Paklenica National Park, Croatia. Data were randomly collected from visitors by means of self-administered questionnaires using a face-to-face approach (n=352). Hierarchical and non-hierarchical cluster analysis enabled the identification of two distinct and managerially relevant segments: Activists and Passivists. The segments were characterised by the perceived importance of desired benefits, travel behaviour, environmental commitment and socio-demographic characteristics. The study findings revealed significant segment differences in terms of the perceived importance of desired benefits, travel behaviour and environmental commitment. Yet, for each segment, inter-correlations between the desired benefit dimensions were examined. Here, the results indicated that each segment was more likely to perceive desired benefits through the wider prism of their positive mutual relationships than by considering them to be a self-determining unit. Socio-demographic descriptors exhibited a weak role in segment characterisation. The study findings might directly assist Park managers to develop more effective visitor management strategies and to enhance marketing strategies in general. Specific practical implications of the study findings are also discussed.

 

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Keywords: visitors, protected areas, national park, nature-based tourism, activity-based segmentation
Citation: Barić, D., P. Anić and M. Bedoya (2016) Segmenting protected area visitors by activities: A case study in Paklenica National Park, Croatia. European Journal of Tourism Research 13, pp. 103-121

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European Journal of Тourism Research