Lang & O’Leary (1997) stated that nature-based tourists are more interested in nature, travel more often at longer distances and stay longer at a destination. Moreover, they are well educated, with high levels of both individual and household income and are willing to spend more. Silverberg et al., (1996) stated that nature based attraction is a phenomenon which represents a new market in the tourism industry and has captured the mind of planners and marketers. Nyaupane et al., (2004), suggested that nature based tourism has been growing rapidly than tourism in general. When the destination managers attempt to attract the growing market, they are faced with a double paradoxical task; in the beginning, there is the need to preserve the resources that attract the tourist and provides a quality travel experience; Backman et al., (1999). It is a challenge which requires a balance between the individual’s expectations, preferences and attitudes towards the environment for a successful nature-based experience; Uysal et al., (1992) cited in Silverberg et al., (1996).
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188.8.131.52 Importance of nature-based attraction
2.2 Tourism attractions
According to Mill and Morrisson (1985), the tourism system is made of four key segments: the market, travel, tourist destinations and marketing. Moreover, Gunn (1988) stated that tourism attractions deal with tourism destinations; highlights the role of tourism attractions (tourist, traffic, attraction, information and signposting). Therefore, tourism attractions forms an essential part of the tourism destinations and they are one of four key segments of the tourism system.
Tourism attraction is the major reason why tourist visits a destination. The tourist product includes attractions, services and infrastructures. Gunn (1988) said that tourism attractions are composed of the several components including tourist’s activities, local scenery, service and entertainment. Together, these features represent the total appeal of natural and man-made characteristics. For example, each historical site or lake has its own uniqueness in its features and appeal and cannot be judged as identical to other tourism resources. All tourism attractions are tourism resources, but all tourism resources are not tourism attractions. It may be impossible to evaluate the attractiveness of the various tourism destinations.
Also, Laarman and Durst (1987) use level of interest and degree of physical thoroughness to distinguish between soft and hard nature tourists. Lindberg (1991, cited in Meric & Hunt, 1998), moves from “twofold typologies” to a fourfold categories.
He suggests that there are:
1. hard core nature tourists who has high levels of environmental commitment and support for enhance sustainability, want physically and challenging experiences, travel in small groups, take longer trips, demand for fewer services and make their own travel arrangements
2. dedicated nature tourists who take trips precisely to protected areas in order to appreciate local, natural and cultural history;
3. mainstream nature tourists who visit destinations primarily to take an unfamiliar trip; and finally,
4. casual nature tourists who enjoy nature as part of a wider trip.
However, Eduard kuÅ¡en (2010) argued that a destination without potential or real tourism attractions cannot be developed into a tourism destination. Potential tourism becomes real only when it provides visitor accessibility like physical access, public access, sightseeing. Only the real tourism attraction can be engaged on the tourism market and be promoted. Also, Hu and Richie (1993), Muller (1994) stated that the classification of tourism attractions into natural and artificial in the main obstacle to an efficient approach to tourism attractions.
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2.5 Destination attractiveness
Pearce (1979) defined destination attractiveness as the responsiveness to which the destination meet expectations of its visitors in terms of food and accommodation, natural beauty, cultural richness, recreational opportunities and other amenities. The more a destination is able to meet the needs of the tourists, the more it is perceived to be attractive and the more the destination is likely to be chosen.
Without tourism there would be no tourist attractions. Attraction is the ability of a destination to deliver individual benefits. Ferrario (1979) stated that it only happened when people are attracted towards a destination whereby the facilities and services follow. Attractiveness is the outline of impressions, ideas and beliefs about destinations based on information from various sources (MacKay and Fesenmaier 1997). In short, the greater the attraction power of a particular destination, the higher will be the number of tourists in terms of their stay and tourist receipts. There are some factors which cannot be categorized as attractions but which plays an important role in the attractiveness of a destination such as infrastructure, exchange rate and political stability (Ferrario 1979).
A tourist preference appears to be more precise and is the ultimate decision in defining the level of attractiveness of a destination. Their perceptions about a given area control its success or failure as a tourist destination. Since perceptions are certainty in the traveler’s mind, it does not matter how many tourism resources are accessible in a specific area when all its attractiveness has already been well-defined (Echtner and Ritchie, 1993; Leyele, 1996). However, the limitation of tourist preferences as attraction measures is that human observations are based on personal and cultural beliefs and are influenced by promotional actions and previous experiences (Milman and Pizam, 1995). In addition, factor like bad weather may create a one-sided perception of a tourist destination.
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