The Relationship between Socio-Demographic Characteristics and Snorkeling Satisfaction in Pulau Payar Marine Park, Kedah
AbstractDue to its popularity and lucrative business opportunity, snorkeling has become the predominant activity in many marine parks. Continuous growth in the number of tourists and mass tourism has resulted in uncontrolled number of tourists, sometimes to pass over the carrying capacity of the site. Due to the lack of control and enforcement, many tour boat operators are seen bringing snorkelers to small fragile sites at the same timeframe. Such situation has resulted in reduced quality of tourist experience and satisfaction level as they need to cram in with others at the designated snorkeling areas. This study analyzes the influence of tourist demographic profile on the satisfaction level with snorkeling experience in the Pulau Payar Marine Park, a small coral island in Malaysia. A total of 259 snorkelers answered the survey that forms the basis of this paper. The results tested using t-tests and ANOVA, show significant differences between satisfaction level and respondents’ socio-demographic characteristics. Findings of the study indicated that only origin and education level positively associated with visitor satisfaction. Several issues, such as limiting the numbers of boats to be allowed at the site and facilities management such as toilets, changing rooms and solid waste management were among issues need to be considered by the Marine Park Department, in order to protect the island and its sustainability. This study highlights the importance of site management, in environmentally sensitive areas, for marine park managers and tour operators toward developing strategic marketing mixes for the different market segments.
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