Delineating the South African domestic tourist’s behaviour amid a crisis: A psychographic segmentation approach

Dr. Tafadzwa Matiza, Prof. Martinette Kruger, Prof. Elmarie Slabbert

Vol 18 | Issue 2 pp. 1-17


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic forced transformational thinking regarding resilience and sustainability strategies to ensure the future of the tourism industry. Domestic tourism is predicted to recover first, emphasising the importance of profiling crisis-induced domestic tourist behaviour through market segmentation.
Purpose: The research was conducted from a developing country perspective focusing on South African domestic tourists. A multi-psychographic segmentation approach was applied. Based on South Africa’s marketing and media profile, perceived risk factors induced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the perceived safety of domestic travel and tourism activity, domestic tourists were profiled.
Methods: An online questionnaire was employed from 2020 to 2021, and 427 responses were included in the analysis. Exploratory Factor analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis were performed to identify the segments based on the identified factors.
Results: Four discernible domestic tourist segments emerged: Psychocentric, Traditional idealist, Apprehensive and Despondent domestic tourists. Each segment differed significantly based on their rating of the segmentation bases; thus delineating the heterogeneity of domestic tourist behaviour amid a crisis. The results show that a generic marketing approach is not feasible for domestic tourism in South Africa. Conclusion: It is vital to understand domestic tourist behaviour during a crisis to project and manage it proactively. This research addresses this urgent need. Marketing the country to South Africans requires dynamic and distinguished marketing efforts based on the perceptions of domestic tourists.

Keywords: Cluster analysis, COVID-19, domestic tourism, market segmentation, psychographics

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