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61 Seiten, Note: 1,3
List of figures
List of abbreviations
II. Literature review
1. Definition of key terms
1.2. Tour operator
1.3. Wildlife tourism
1.3.2. Shark tourism
220.127.116.11. Classification within wildlife tourism
18.104.22.168. Development of shark tourism
22.214.171.124. Forms of shark diving tourism
126.96.36.199. Value of shark tourism
1.3.3. The controversy in wildlife tourism
1.4. Satisfaction and tourism
1.4.1. Customer satisfaction
1.4.2. Wildlife tourism satisfaction
2. Site of research: Gansbaai, South Africa
2.2. Gansbaai's shark tourism industry
2.2.1. Current tour operators
2.2.2. Shark tour itinerary
2.2.3. Target market
3.1. Qualitative content analysis
3.2. Inductive approach
3.3. TripAdvisor data collection
5.2. The most influential factors affecting on-site visitor satisfaction
5.2.1. Tour operator's interpersonal and intellectual skills
5.2.2. Great white shark sightings
5.2.3. Prior expectations
5.2.4. Viewing quality and participant quantity
5.2.5. Personal well-being and self-fulfilment
5.2.6. Sense of community
6. Conclusion and implications
Figure 1 Wildlife tourism products (Reynolds and Braithwaite, 2001, p. 33-34)
Figure 2 Forms of shark diving (sharkbusiness.org, n.d.)
Figure 3 Factors influencing satisfaction in wildlife encounters (Reynolds and Braithwaite, 2001)
Figure 4 Area of research - Gansbaai, South Africa (shortna.me)
Figure 5 Inductive category formation (Mayring, 1994)
Figure 6 Overall contentment among TripAdvisor ratings
Figure 7 Category system
Figure 8 Distribution of satisfaction among category mentions
Figure 9 Mentions of no great white shark activity per month
Figure 10 The impact of no great white sharks on visitor satisfaction
eWOM Electronic word-of-mouth
IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature
TO Tour operator
UNWTO Wold Tourism Organization
WWF Worldwide Fund for Nature
Gansbaai, a small coastal town in South Africa, is considered "the shark cage diving capital of the world" (McKay, 2020; p. 291), despite there being over 40 shark tourism destinations worldwide (Topelko and Dearden, 2005, p. 110). However, Gansbaai has one outstanding feature which few other destinations have: great white sharks. Because of this, Gansbaai attracts visitors from all over the world who travel to the area with the expectation to witness this particular species, making it an international hotspot for shark tourists. However, in recent years, a decline in the great white shark population has been widely reported in the media (Guardian, 2020; BBC News, 2016). The decline of the shark population is not only a problem for South Africa, but globally. Today, 172 shark species are already on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (Topelko and Dearden, 2005, p. 109). Yet, South Africa is one of the few places on earth where humans have the opportunity to interact with this species at close range. The outcry is great, as the impact on the South African shark industry has been profound (McKay, 2009, p. 292; Overberg-Info, 2018). It seems that this has also had an impact on the satisfaction of the participants, as an ad-hoc analysis of online ratings shows. This is critical for the industry, as potential participants nowadays take their cue from the experiences of previous people (Bronner and Hoog, 2011, pp. 15-16). The main reason for this is the confusing plethora of tourism services available today. Therefore, the online review platform TripAdvisor has become a reliable source for travel decisions (Ayeh, Au and Law, 2013, p. 437). Accordingly, analyses of online reviews have become particularly popular in the tourism and hospitality industry as it allows service providers to gain insight into what influences consumer satisfaction (Kaosiri, Fiol, Tena, Artola and Gartfa, 2019, p. 253; Lu and Stepchenkova, 2015, p. 125). This shows the importance for tour operators in Gansbaai's shark industry to understand what influences visitor satisfaction in order to adjust their concepts sustainably.
Therefore, the aim of the study is to identify the factors which influence visitor satisfaction in the shark tourism industry in Gansbaai based on TripAdvisor reviews. In this regard, the methodology used in this study is a qualitative content analysis, which is conducted inductively. At the end of the study, the reader will thus be able to understand not only what determines a satisfactory shark experience, but also what limits it. To achieve this goal, the paper is structured as follows; the first part gives a brief overview of the main concepts based on the literature review. The second part presents the methodology of this paper and is divided into two main sections: the first section introduces the research location (Gansbaai), while the methodology is outlined in the second section. After giving an insight into the methodology part of the paper, the results of the applied analysis are presented. Conclusive findings regarding the factors influencing visitor satisfaction in the shark tourism industry in Gansbaai are discussed in the following part. At the end of the study, the results are summarised and implications for the future are drawn.
TripAdvisor is a rating and review platform which allows users to rate and comment on products and services offered on the platform (Wyrwoll, 2014, p. 24). TripAdvisor is based on user-generated content, as the content is exclusively created by the end users of a service or product, as opposed to a company's website, which is developed by the provider (Kaosiri, Fiol, Tena, Artola and Gartfa, 2019, p. 253). This form of communication is referred to as electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM), as TripAdvisor solely displays consumers' comments and ratings about travel-related products and services posted online, which is equivalent to Bronner's and Hoog's (2011, p. 15) definition of eWOM.
To simplify the search for the "right" tourist product, TripAdvisor uses an algorithm to rank all reviews submitted on the topic searched for. However, the order of the search results depends on the search mode, as the platform works with two different quality measures:
1. Popularity index: this index incorporates reviews from travellers to determine the overall satisfaction of travellers in a specific area and destination. For example, when users search for a hotel in a certain area, they are shown a specific order of all hotels in that destination. This order corresponds to the popularity index.
2. Score: TripAdvisor uses rating points to create an overall ranking for users. Since this is user-generated content, users are responsible for submitting individual point rankings. These rankings are made up of one to five rating points, with one point representing a rather poor experience and five points representing a very good experience.
The main difference between these two quality measures is that the sum of the points focuses exclusively on quality, whereas the popularity index is influenced by various other aspects. Nevertheless, both quality measures compare previous experiences that individuals have had (TripAdvisor, n.d.).
These posted experiences of previous individuals have become a valid source of data for travel research and decision-making (Ayeh, Au and Law, 2013, p. 437; Kaosiri, Fiol, Tena, Artola and Gartfa, 2019, p. 253). As of March 2021, TripAdvisor is currently the most popular travel website with user-generated content in the world, with over 460 million monthly active users (TripAdvisor, 2019). The reason for the high number of users is that in today's world, travellers prefer online reviews for reasons such as ease of use, accessibility, immediacy and freedom of expression (Winter, 2018, p. 498). Moreover, potential travellers cannot measure experiential goods as they are intangible and can only be experienced simultaneously with consumption. Therefore, they rely on experiences from previous consumers (Xie, Zhang and Zhang, 2014, p. 1). This is confirmed in a survey of 1,480 TripAdvisor users, where almost all respondents confirmed that they rely on online reviews when planning a trip and perceive them as up-to-date, detailed and reliable information (Gretzel and Yoo, 2008, p. 40). Winter (2018, p. 490) suggests that the reason TripAdvisor is seen as particularly trustworthy is because spontaneous visitor comments and reviews offer authenticity and specific insights into their experiences which can easily be overlooked in traditional interviews. Furthermore, the work of Ye et al. (2011, p. 638), which investigates the impact of user-generated content on travel behaviour, shows the significant influence of reviews on travel-related bookings, as there was an increase in bookings for positively rated tourism products.
For this reason, TripAdvisor reviews have not only become a guide for travel decisions but is also helpful for service providers in the tourism and hospitality sector. Knowing what shapes their customers' experience is valuable for improving business practices (Sparks and Browning, 2011, p. 1311; Torres et al., 2013, p. 11). This is made clear by the diverse studies on this topic.
Tour operators (TO) are usually small to medium-sized companies that operate tourist trips that are made up of individual components (Potgieter, Jager and van Heerden, 2013, p. 734). It is difficult to find an exact definition on TO among literature. However, IGI Global (n.d.) offers a general explanation stating “[a] tour operator is a manufacturer that combines two or more tourism products and then develops travel packages according to customers' needs and interests.”
While in many cases, TO are known to include accommodation in their bundles, they also offer day-trips that exclude overnight stays. This finding is particularly important for this paper, as all the tour operators studied in the area of research (Gansbaai) offer only day trips without an overnight stay. These prepaid and pre-organised packages typically consist of two or more combined travel services, such as accommodation, transport, entertainment and meals, and are ultimately sold as a single product (OECD, 2003).
Often TO are seen as the equivalent to travel agents. However, this is incorrect. While TO create their own packages and sell them directly to consumers, travel agents promote and distribute these packages on behalf of TO and then profit from the commission (Protected Trust Services, 2018).
In general, four different types of tour operators can be distinguished (Mwesiumo, Halpern and Buvik, 2017, p. 299; Kamel, 2019):
1. Inbound tour operators: TO that accommodate foreign tourists with various services upon their arrival at the destination; these TO's shape the image of the tourism destination, as the company processes various tourism resources of a region into a package that is offered internationally.
2. Outbound tour operators: TO that promote and sell tour packages to the population of their own country for travel to another destination for a pre-determined period of time.
3. Domestic tour operator: TO that offer tours to the population of their own country to places within the national territory, such as scenic attractions.
4. Ground operators: TO whose main function is to organise tours for incoming tourists on behalf of overseas operators; they are basically wholesalers and do not sell directly to tourists.
Due to their history, tour operators are often categorised as mass market players as they are known for selling all different types of packages. In general, the role of TO has changed due to emerging trends in tourism and digitalisation, which has led to a repositioning of tour TO from mass market players to niche players. It is more important than ever for TO to differentiate themselves from their competitors in the similar industry in order to avoid getting lost in the sea of tourism products (Oricchio, Testa and Nicolo, 2013, p. 101). Accordingly, many TO specialise in a particular area and target specific market segments, such as adventure or culinary travel (Sheldon, 1986, p. 352). Although many travellers today prefer to book their own trips, the demand for niche TO is now greater than ever (Romina, Silvia and Costa, 2013, pp. 101102). Unlike the original TO, a niche tour operator offers unusual trips to provide tourists with unique experiences for tourists (Protected Trust Services, 2018). Wildlife tourism is a form of tourism that covers niche areas and is therefore becoming increasingly popular (CBI Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2021).
Wildlife tourism can be defined as "[...] tourism based on encounters with non-do- mesticated (non-human) animals [...] [that] can occur in either the animals' natural environment or in captivity” (Higginbottom, 2004, p. 2). This particular form of tourism is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the tourism industry. Humans have increasingly been seeking interaction with wildlife species for various reasons. Well- known motives for participating in wildlife tourism are “[u]rban living, which isolates many people from natural ecosystems, their deep relationship with and interest in various species, natural history documentaries, concerns for the environment, relative affluence, increased transportation and technology and global conservation initiatives, all contribute to an ever-increasing interest in wild animals” (Newsome, Dowling and Moore, 2005, p. 3). As wildlife tourism mostly takes place in nature too, the definitions of nature tourists and wildlife tourists in the literature are often interchangeable (Reynolds and Braithwaite, 2001, p. 32). Therefore, it is difficult to measure the exact growth of wildlife tourism per annum. However, one study implies that as early as 1994, approximately 40-60% of all international tourists were nature tourists, of which 20-40% were wildlife tourists (Newsome, Dowling and Moore, 2005, p. 20). Moreover, a study on whale watching in 2008 suggested that 13 million people participated in the activity which generated tourism receipts of about 2.1 billion US Dollars that year (O'Connor, Campbell, Cortez and Knowles, 2009, p. 23). Especially developing countries are popular for wildlife tourism as they contain most of the world's biodiversity (Lenzen, Moran, Kanemoto, Foran, Lobefaro and Geschke, 2012, pp. 109-110). For example, the UNWTO (2014) measured 88% of African tour operators' revenue is generated by wildlife watching tours.
A distinction between non-consumptive, low-consumptive and consumptive wildlife encounters in tourism is considered particularly important in most literature. It briefly describes the degree of interaction with wildlife during a wildlife-related tourism activity. Consumptive wildlife tourism involves direct interaction with an animal, which in most cases results in the killing of the animals. In contrast, non-consumptive wildlife tourism does not intentionally harm animals, but is more of an observational tourism such as bird watching (Higginbottom, 2004, p. 4; Newsome, Dowling and Moore, 2005, p. 5). While most literature includes only consumptive and non-con- sumptive wildlife encounters, some authors add a middle component, known as low- consumptive wildlife tourism. Low-consumption wildlife tourism generally describes activities where animals are kept captive for entertainment purposes so that tourists can view them, such as zoos, but are not devoured (Duffus and Dearden, 1990, p. 2016). Further examples of the different levels of wildlife interaction can be found in figure 1 which are assigned to Reynolds and Braithwaite's (2001, p. 33-34) seven categories of wildlife tourism products.
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
Figure 1 Wildlife tourism products (Reynolds and Braithwaite, 2001, p. 33-34)
As these seven wildlife tourism products demonstrate, wildlife tourism is made up of different characteristics, be it in captivity, through consumption or in a natural way.
To conclude, wildlife tourism is partly nature-based, may involve an element of adventure travel, and shares some of the key characteristics of ecotourism (Newsome, Dowling and Moore, 2005, p. 16). Especially the demand for non-consumptive wildlife tourism has been increasing rapidly over the past two decades which is evidentamong literature (Tisdell and Wilson, 2012, p. 1).
Usually, the participants travel usually occurs to remote regions to view animals, some of which may be perceived as being dangerous (Newsome, Dowling and Moore, 2005, p. 8). Why humans intentionally seek interaction with very dangerous animals, and more is explained in greater detailed in chapter 1.4.2., which focusses on satisfactory experiences in wildlife tourism.
As figure 1 shows, wildlife tourism is composed of various forms ranging from consumptive to non-consumptive wildlife products. These can also be categorised into broader forms of wildlife tourism, such as marine wildlife tourism. Marine wildlife tourism "[...] includes those recreational activities that involve travel away from one's place of residence and which have as their host or focus on the marine environment” (Orams, 1998, p. 9). As sharks reside in waters, tourism activities involving this species are referred to as marine wildlife tourism. Yet, shark tourism is also subdivided into different forms, which are explained in chapter 188.8.131.52. For this reason, a precise classification into the wildlife tourism products as shown in figure 1 is somewhat difficult. However, as shark tourism is in principle a rather dangerous species, it can be categorised as a thrill-offering tour, provided that the shark tour takes place in their natural habitat. If it is a consumptive form of shark tourism, it can be categorised under the fishing/hunting product. If it is a low-consumption form, then it is assigned to artificial attractions such as aquariums.
To avoid confusion, the type of shark tourism described in this paper focuses exclusively on non-consumptive forms of shark tourism. Hence, the use of the term shark tourism in this paper excludes consumptive or low-consumptive forms such as hunting or aquarium visits.
Shark tourism has become a valuable form of tourism revenue for many areas globally, with an estimated annual growth of 30% over the last 20 years (Cisneros- Montemayor, Barnes-Mauthe, Al-Abdulrazzak, Navarro-Holm and Sumaila, 2013, p. 385). Nevertheless, it is a relatively new form of recreation that has emerged as a result of recent changes in attitudes towards sharks. Before 1975, people were generally afraid of sharks and felt the need to protect themselves from them through preventive measures. This fear intensified when the movie "Jaws" was released in that year, as it presented the sharks as human predators in a very exaggerated manner (Romeo, 2020; Dearden, Topelko and Ziegler, 2007, p. 68). It took a few years before people began to distinguish fiction from fact and realised that not all sharks are dangerous to humans. This realisation took place between 1976 and 1984, marking the beginning of shark tourism. However, shark tourism remained a rather privileged and bizarre activity, accessible only to advanced divers. The trend of shark tourism continued to grow over the years as more and more people became interested in feeding, taking photos and swimming with sharks, introducing it to mainstream tourism (Dearden, Topelko and Ziegler, 2007, p. 68).
Attitudes towards sharks changed rapidly again in 1999 when people started realising the value of sharks and the need for protection from humans. This shift eventually led to new approaches in conservation to ensure the sharks protection (Dearden, Topelko and Ziegler, 2007, p. 68). The shift in attitude was well needed as sharks were insufficiently protected due to their bad reputation in the media (Topelko and Dearden, 2005, p. 124). Despite the advocacy for sharks, there is still much room for improvement (Gallagher and Huveneers, 2018, p. 11). For example, many shark- rich areas are still poorly managed due to the lack of education and financial resources (Apps, Dimmock and Huveneers, 2018, p. 112). Today, about 500 000 divers a year seek interaction with these species, which makes conservation measures and regulations crucial to mitigate the risk of jeopardizing the sharks (Gallagher and Huveneers, 2018, p. 11; Zeppel and Muloin, 2007, p. 19).
As mentioned, this paper focusses non-consumptive shark tourism which is referred to as shark diving tourism. Shark diving tourism includes different types of activities that can be undertaken by participants under, on and above the surface of the sea. A conservation project called Shark Business, which aims to conserve shark populations by offering sustainable and responsible shark diving tours, details the different forms of shark tourism as presented in figure 2 (sharkbusiness.org, n.d.).
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
Figure 2 Forms of shark diving (sharkbusiness.org, n.d.)
These eight forms of shark tourism are quite diverse; while some of the shark activities require previous experience, others do not. This is one of the main reasons why shark tourism has become so popular among conventional tourists. Nowadays, a tourist can spontaneously book a shark tour without first acquiring a diving licence (Dobson, 2007, p. 54) These activities include snorkelling, breaching and shark cage diving. Only the latter two, however, involve rather dangerous shark species (great white shark), indicating thrill tours. In this context, it is important to note that South Africa is one of the few places in the world that offers shark cage diving with great white sharks, not to mention the only place in the world where the breaching spectacle is sold as a tourist attraction so that participants can observe it live (Dobson, 2007, pp. 53-54; shark-business.org, n.d.). In general, South Africa covers most of the shark tourism activities listed in the figure, which suggests a well-developed and valuable industry.
Measuring the economic value of shark tourism is still in its infancy. Thus, it is still difficult to present results. A major issue is the scarcity of available data in shark tourism sites. However, in a study conducted by Cisneros-Montemayor et al. (2013, p. 385) results show that shark tourism sites which had accessible data on tourism growth indicated a mean yearly increase of 27% over the last two decades. Moreover, average ticket prices have increases by around 25%, which confirms the strong demand for shark tourism activities (Cisneros-Montemayor et al., 2013, p. 385).
Shark tourism is particularly valuable for developing countries as it can be a significant source of revenue and is seen as an alternative to destructive activities such as hunting and fishing. For example, shark diving in Palau is said to be the third highest contributor to the country's gross tax revenue and responsible for well-paid salaries of local employees (Vianna et al., 2012, pp. 274-275). Another example is a study by Vianna et al. (2018) which concludes that shark diving is an important contributor to the economy of the Semporna (Malaysia) and can be used to enhance management and conservation strategies.
Although measuring the value of shark tourism is complex, it is clear that shark tourism makes a significant contribution to the tourism revenues of several destinations. Only a few places offer shark diving tourism, which makes it particularly important for them as they cover a niche market (Macdonald and Carter, 2020, p. 290).
It is not only essential to name the economic and social benefits of shark tourism, but also the environmental advantages shark tourism poses. Sharks are also threatened as their fins are seen as prestigious food, particularly in Asian countries including Hong Kong and China. Thus, these countries contribute to a strong demand in consumptive shark use. WWF estimates that around 73 million shark mortalities every year are caused by the shark fin trade (WWF, n.d.). Although the shark fin industry is still in takt, studies have pointed out that shark tourism has affected these numbers positively. The reason is that the majority of shark tourism sites put regulations into place that ban hunting and fishing within the area (Animal Welfare Institute, n.d.). Additionally, many communities have discovered the economic returns from keeping sharks alive exceed those that can be made by killing them for consumptive use (Dobson, 2007, p. 62).
This chapter rather foregrounded the positive impacts shark tourism can generate. However, literature shows a high controversy not only in shark tourism, but wildlife tourism in general. This is detailed in chapter 1.3.3.
Review of relevant literature suggests a high level of controversy in wildlife tourism research. Many studies focus on the controversial side of the issue, claiming that introducing people to wildlife encounters leads them to feel more empathy for them, which in turn means a higher commitment to environmental and animal welfare issues, amongst other things (Gallagher et al., 2015; Wilson and Tisdell, 2003; Curtin, S., 2010).
Opponents believe that the main motivations of tourists are consumption and entertainment and that the assumption of increased support for conservation is not justified (Ardoin et al., 2015, pp. 849-850). This negative opinion of wildlife tourism has several angles. On the one hand, wildlife tourism endangers species and their habitats as these are invaded by humans. Even if participants do not intentionally harm species, it has a negative impact on them due to the unnatural behaviour patterns shaped by tourists. A common example is food provisioning, which describes the manipulation of animals through the use of bait to lure them into close proximity to participants, which is particularly well known in shark tourism (Knight, 2009, p. 178; Gallagher et al., 2015, p. 366). The problem on the animal end is that these species begin to rely on human feeding, which means they are no longer able to hunt independently, much like domesticated animals (Dobson, 2007, p. 58). Looking at another angle, food provisioning also increases the danger to participating humans. It has been observed that the species, in this case sharks, behave more aggressively, which is more likely to lead to an attack (Newsome, Dowling and Moore, 2005, p. 67; Cui, Ren and Xu, 2021, p. 12).
Continuing in the context of sharks, they are often also injured by crashing into the metal cages or boats which was observed during research conducted by Dobson et al. (2005) in South Africa. Furthermore, while the majority of articles or papers suggest the decline in the great white shark's abundance in South Africa is caused by the recent arrival of killer whales, Graham (2004, p. 9) suggests that the decrease of whale sharks in Belize was possibly caused by the disturbance of the increased number of tourists and boats. This is not excluded as a possible cause for South Africa's great whites, as it has been proved that predators experience distress to human presence (Gallagher et al., 2015, p. 371).
Furthermore, literature that states wildlife tourism is highly valuable for communities of the respective destination was often criticised. Especially a geographical bias was mentioned, as most assessments focus on small islands or developing areas, which makes the impact of shark tourism appear more significant when compared to more developed areas (Huveneers and Robbins, 2014, p. 236). Another point of criticism directed to Cisneros-Montemayor et al. (2013) who conducted the only study worldwide measuring the global value of shark tourism industry was the that it was based on unrealistic assumptions rather than given facts (Brunnschweiler and Ward-Paige, 2014, p. 486). However, there remains no tangible evidence to support the opposing opinions on wildlife tourism. Based on the literature, wildlife tourism poses positive and negative impacts depending on the intensity of the animal-human interaction.
Measuring tourist satisfaction is an extremely complex phenomenon and multi-layered concept, as it varies from individual to individual, depending on certain influencing factors that occur internally and externally. Despite this complexity, studies on tourist satisfaction have been conducted for many years. In tourism research, satisfaction has been studied from different angles (Engeset and Elvekrok, 2015, pp. 456457); earlier studies tended to focus on examining factors that suggest visitor satisfaction as an outcome, while contemporary studies prefer to focus on visitor satisfaction (Latu and Everett, 2000, p. 12).
One of the first known theoretical frameworks on customer satisfaction applied to tourism was conducted by Oliver (2010) with the disconfirmation theory. This theory presents a model that illustrates the expectation/disconfirmation paradigm. In short, it implies that tourists often develop certain expectations about tourism products and services before they travel (Oliver, 2010, p. 96). Montero and Fernando-Avilés (2010) build on this theory by claiming that the tourist is satisfied when the overall experience with the respective tourism products or services exceeds pre-trip expectations. However, if expectations do not match the experience, the tourist will most likely be dissatisfied (Montero and Fernando-Avilés, 2010, pp. 7-16).
It is important to understand what constitutes a satisfactory tourist experience, as it can be used indirectly as a marketing tool. If a tourist's experience was satisfactory, they are more likely to visit the destination again, which is often referred to as destination loyalty (Kandampully, Zhang and Bilgihan, 2015, pp. 379-380). In addition to the tendency to revisit, a tourist's loyalty is extremely important for tourism destinations as it usually cannot be influenced by external factors such as external marketing strategies or crises (Oliver, 1997, p. 392). However, some studies report that a satisfied experience does not necessarily lead to an increase in tourist numbers. Instead, tourists often crave unfamiliar destinations rather than revisit them. Nevertheless, a satisfied tourist is more likely to engage in personal eWOM for instance via rating platforms like TripAdvisor (Yu and Goulden, 2006, p. 1336).
Destination loyalty can also be attributed to a company or service. Again, customer satisfaction is also one of the main objectives for companies, as it can make the customer buy the product or service again or increase the number of customers. In general, customer satisfaction depends on the quality of the company's service and the fulfilment of the tourist's expectations and needs (Bowie and Chang, 2005, pp. 305306). Therefore, tourist satisfaction can be enhanced by high service quality and competence of tour operators (Chang, 2006, pp. 99-101).
A research project by Bowie and Chang (2005, p. 315), which investigated tourist satisfaction from a package tour perspective, found that the character, personal experience and knowledge of the tour guide are most important. Although the authors also conclude that it does not fully determine total satisfaction, as customer satisfaction is composed of tangible and intangible elements, it plays a critically important role (Chang, 2006, p. 98; Bowie and Chang, 2005, pp.315-316). Augustyn and Ho (1998) conclude by stating that expectations are the be-all and end-all, therefore service providers, in this case in tourism, should "master the art of an optimal level of service that ensures that expectations are consistently met" (p. 2), which relates back to the quality of service provided by tourism enterprises.
Gallagher and Huveneers (2018, p. 11) suggest a shift in tourists' position from “wildlife enthusiasts and watchers to experience seekers”. The cause of this shift is due to the change in humans' way of living for example urbanisation or materialism. However, other intrinsic motives such as combating fears or ticking off something on the bucket list have also led people participating in more dangerous or thrilling forms of wildlife tourism (Apps, Dimmock and Huveneers, 2018, p. 112). It is the large, charismatic and dangerous species including predators such as whales, eagles, big cats and sharks are likely to attract the most attention from wildlife tourism participants (Gallagher and Hammerschlag, 2011, p.798; Newsome, Dowling and Moore, 2005, p. 4). This is confirmed by Maciejewski and Kerley (2014, p. 4), who studied the preferences of animal species in a South African game reserve and concluded that the tourists surveyed by far favoured charismatic animals such as elephants, big cats and rhinos.
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