ECO-MARKET AND ECOTOURISTS
submitted at the
IMC Fachhochschule Krems
(University of Applied Sciences)
Tourism and Leisure Management
Research Methods (2020): Cohort 2019/2022
Lecturer: Claus Ebster, PhD
Submitted on: 31.05.2020
Table of Contents
1.1 Background of the study…………………………………………….……….4
1.2 Research questions…………………………………………………….…….4
1.3 Structure of the paper………………………….…………………………….4
2.1 Eco-tourism as a market segment………………………………………….6
2.2 Eco-tourists as a target group……………………………………………....6
3. Motivational factors influencing ecotourists………………………………….9
3.1 Push factors………………………………………………………………….10
3.2 Pull factors…………………………………………………………………...12
4. Research conclusion …………………………………………………………….13
5. List of references
List of tables
Table 1. Push factors and their analysis….…………….………….…………….11
Table2. Pull factors and their analysis……….…………………………….........12
1.1 Background of the study
Ecotourism is a perspective kind of tourism that is rapidly developing.
Ecotourism plays an essential role in the conservation of nature. Due to this type
of tourism, economy and tourism are developing, new infrastructure is being built
without destroying nature. Thus, ecotourism is “responsible travel that conserves
the environment and sustains the well-being of local people”. (Ecotourism Society
in Orams, 1995a: 5)
Nowadays, ecotourism has an extensive place in the global market.
This paper will cover the research about the eco market as a separate
segment of the market and consider the target group and their reasons to be
involved in ecotourism.
1.2 Research questions
Two research questions are posed in order to achieve the research goal:
1) What kind of tourists is more inclined to ecotourism?
2) Which motivational factors influence the decision of ecotourists?
1.3 Structure of the paper
This chapter is created in order to gain a clear structure of the paper.
• Chapter 2 – Ecotourism. This chapter introduces the reader with general
information about ecotourism, with ecotourism as a separate market
segment and also with the target group of the eco market.
• Chapter 3 – Motivational factors. This chapter introduces the reader with
types, categories of motivational factors influencing ecotourists, and
provides detailed information about the pull and push factors.
• Chapter 4 – Conclusion of the research. This chapter draws the summary
and presents the conclusion of the research by answering the research
Ecotourism is encouraged as a resource for the creation and protection of th
e natural environment. The establishing of a mutualistic relationship between touri
sm, indigenous, and natural areas is the goal of ecotourism. In an idealized form of
ecotourism, preservation, and growth unification takes place where businessmen,
elected authorities, and visitors try to establish equitable ties with the ecosystem
while enhancing the prosperity of the local people (Kutay, 1989; Fennell and
Eagles, 1990; Lee and Snepenger, 1991; Wallace, 1992).
Tourism, alongside oil and motor vehicles, has risen over the past few
decades to be one of the top three industries in the world (World Tourism
Organization, 1991: Harrison,1992a: Fletcher and Latham, 1995). In conjunction w
ith this progress, the market segmentation based on the growing variety of traveler
priorities and on the potеntial of the travel industry to satisfy these diverse expecta
tions. Environmental interest has also increased and has been a significant influen
ce on travel segmentation.
Tourists who are interested in the natural environment take advantage of
ecotourism. However, ecotourism includes not only ecology and capitalism but
also literature that often explores the economic and social advantages of
indigenous peoples with different degrees of explicitness. At times ecotourism
seems, like a tool for the preservation of cultures (Farrell and Runyan, 1991).
Hetzer (1965, as cited in Grenier et al. 1993) offered from the inception that
eco-tourism would have a minimal effect on the host cultures and the greatest
respect them. Boeger (1991, p. 2) considers ecotourism as respecting “the dignity
and diversity of other cultures”. The brochure of the Ecotourism Society (a non-
governmental trade organization founded in 1990) claims that ecotourism
“sustains the well-being of local people”. There is a range of articles by the World
Wildlife Fund (WWF) that claim more cautious to bind ecotourism, local people, an
d protected areas (Boo, 1992). However, the World Wildlife Fund has initiated a
program to “improve the quality of life” of people like locals, as it recognized their
propriety in global conservation efforts. In this way, purporting to be
controlled development which creates healthy relationships between protected are
as, tourists, and indigenous people, ecotourism is identified as different from other
types of tourism.
2.1 Eco-tourism as a market segment
Some authors believe that ecotourism is not a separate market
segmentation, arguing that it is a common growing concern for ecology among all
people and that ecotourists do not represent a specialized market (Reingold, 1993:
37). Or Hall (1993: 3), stating that ‘"Ecotourism" is more often a catch-cry for
developers, politicians, bureaucrats, and operators than a concept which is
actually operationalized’. Or, as Wight (1993: 56) claims, principles related to
ecotourism can be extended to various other tourist operations.
However, other sources claim that ecotourism is a separate market
segment. As Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) has identified,
ecotourism plays a significant role in making tourism the most environmentally
sustainable. In the sense of sustainability, ecotourism is probably best seen as a
reachable ideal segment of the natural tourism industry and as a model for most of
the rest. People are interested and require eco-tourism and this requirement
constitutes a growing and important market segment. There is a demand from
people for ecotourism. They are interested and require eco-tourism and this
requirement constitutes a growing and important market segment.
It should also be noted that one of the widespread and emerging markets in
many countries is ecotourism and therefore there is potential for future formation
through branding (Blamey, 1995).
2.2 Eco-tourists as a target group
Ecotourists strive to enhance their understanding of the natural
environment. Short walks with fauna and flora guides, watching whales, bird
watching, nature excursions, and other wildlife visits can be examples of typical
activities. Ecotourists are speculating and personal. They constantly try to search
out, observe, see, and understand the wild nature by looking for guides or others
that can help them. They require and want to be led by highly knowledgeable
guides. Stanley Plog (2004) considers that ecotourists are “intellectually curious”
and they seek to be “immersed in destination experiences”.
Many analysts have documented attempts to classify eco-tourists as a
unique market segment. Following a lot of research based on their behavior,
preferences, and motivations, they found that ecotourists are probably more
educated and have more income (Eagles & Cascagnette, 1995; Wight, 1996,
2001). There was a survey of whale watching in Scotland (Rawles & Parsons,
2004) and a survey of eco-lodges in Australia (Weaver & Lawton, 2002), and
according to these surveys, individuals engaged in eco-trips are more
environmentally knowing and active than other “normal” customers.
There are different theories about the classifications of market segmentation
in order to differentiate and divide ecotourists into different subgroups, being
aware that every individual owns their unique kit of management applications.
Based on the literature of tourism there are 2 dominant groups of
ecotourists: hard and soft types (Laarman & Dust, 1987; Kwan, Eagles &
Gebhardt, 2010; Tangeland, 2011).
1. Hard ecotourists.
Since such travelers are constantly in search of real-life experiences, they
organize different trips. These tourists prefer difficult activities and enjoy them, as
they are physically active. Traveling in small groups and with few services is a
priority for them. They have a strong reverent attitude towards the environment.
2. Softer ecotourists
Since such travelers are not very active, they prefer quality services and
comfort. Large groups are a priority for them. They love and enjoy ecotourism and
traditional holidays. If harder ecotourists organized trips themselves, softer ones
turn to tour agencies and tour operators.
A new typology was added to already existing two types by Blamey and
Braithwaitre (1997), Palacio and McCool (1997), Diamantis (1997), and
Pouzadoux and Poupineu (2013). The new characteristics were identified, and
eco-tourists were categorized into three groups:
1) Harder ecotourists
2) Softer ecotourists
3) Structured ecotourists
3. Structured ecotourists
Even if these tourists are quite energetic and physically active as ecotourism
harder, they love and prefer trips in large groups with quality services and
comfortable conditions and gourmet meals like softer ecotourists. Thus, these
tourists like to interact with nature and are a mix of harder and softer types.
Taking into consideration motivation and behaviors, Lindberg (1991) divided
the ecotourism market into 4 segments.
1) Hardcore nature tourists – “scientific researchers or individuals who travel
for educational purposes”.
2) Mainstream nature tourists – “people who visit famous wilderness
3) Casual nature tourists – “tourists who come into close contact with nature
only incidentally while on a holiday trip”.
4) Dedicated nature tourists – “people traveling to protected areas to
understand natural and local history”.
3. MOTIVATIONAL FACTORS INFLUENCING THE
Internal psychological factors consist of the needs, wants, and goals of the
person. Motivation as an active process within these factors also is considered as
a core component of the tourism experience, both groups, and individual.
According to the literature of Crompton (1979), Dann (1977, 1978), Klenosky
(2002), and Kozak (2002), motivation is divided into 2 groups in tourism based on
forces: “push” and “pull” factors.
The “push and pull” model is considered to be a well-developed structure,
which determines the factors that push a person to take a vacation or go to relax
and pull and attract to visit a certain place. Push factors influence a person’s wish,
wants, and the decision to go on holiday, while pull factors find the reason for
choosing a certain destination and explain it (Crompton, 1979). As Lundberg
(1990) claims push motivations depend on an individual’s inner reasons, so they
are found to be more internal and emotional factors. They can be an interest in
travel, adventure, learning, discovering. Uysal and Hagan (1993) also mentioned
the desire for prestige and social interactions. By contrast, pull factors depend on
the attributes and aspects of a certain place chosen by an individual. The
monuments, history of this place, attractions, accommodation, and others related
to the destination can be considered as push motivations. Thus, push factors are
There are different motivational factors related to ecotourists. For instance,
according to Eagles and Higgins (1998), for achieving ecotourism there are 3
essential motivational components such as changes in attitudes towards the
environment, progress in environmental education, and development of
environmental sources of mass media. Accordingly, by HLA Consultants (1994)
and Wight (1996a, b) it was set, that the most important motivations for ecotourists
are enjoying the view of nature and looking for novelty like new impressions and
places. The main stimulus for ecotourists is evaluation and observation of nature
and natural features including cultural values (Wood, 2002). Additionally, based on
the literature of Holden and Sparrowhawk (2002), the new knowledge about
nature, physical activity, to recognize new people with common interests are the
prime motivations for ecotourists. However, in the research of Ballantine and
Eagles (1994), the basic motivation for them is investigating wild nature and intact
places. Monuments, attractions, and social factors are also essential (Page &
Dowling, 2002; Eagles, 1992). In this context, the main motivation of eco-tourists
as a basis for their trips is personal development and the value of enjoying nature.
Based on the literature of Holloway (1994), specific and general motivations
are also can be the categories of motivational factors. According to sources, it
appears that ecotourists are driven by two different motivational forces. These
dimensions of behavior can be explained as “seeking” and “escaping” (Ross &
IsoAhola, 1991). There are “attraction motivators” and “social attractions”.
“Attraction motivators” - are the pull factors arising from the destination
“Social attractions” - are the social-psychological push factors. They are
about socialization and personal goals.
Thus, attraction motivators are “seeking”, and social attractions are
“escaping” (for instance, escape from work).
3.1 Push factors
The general motivation (push factors) for ecotourists is to fulfill an
individual's objective goal such as a desire to escape work or to experience
another natural area.
After certain research processes, Pearce and Lee began to collaborate,
thereby changing the concept of "Travel Career Ladder" to "Travel Career
Approach" (2005). And Pearce, considering life experience and based on it,
developed 3 levels of motivation. Looking for new things, relaxation, relationship
improvement, escape, relief are points of the first level. Tourists avoiding their
daily routine choose recreational destinations. Escape, relaxation, and
entertainment are the most popular push factors for American students chosen
beaches for their vacation (Kim et. al, 2006). According to PH, et. al (2013) for
people chosen private parks as a place for the rest, the push factors are not only
the health and escape but also their respectful attitude for cultural and natural
resources. For the tourist in the US came from Сhina, push motivation is
knowledge (Hua & Yoo, 2011). Based on the literature, the nationality of people
also has an impact on their motivation to travel (Prayag & Ryan, 2011; Kozak,
Table 1. Push factors and their analysis.
1. Being in a different environment
2. Escaping from routine life and its demands
3. Being released from work pressure
4. Getting away from home
5. Being released from stress and tension
1. Going on a trip that people appreciate
2. Visiting a destination that would express others
3. Telling the account of the journey to others
1. Promoting knowledge about a foreign destination
2. Experiencing new cultures and lifestyles
3. Developing mentally and intellectually
4. Learning new things which broaden the view
1. For fun and entertainment
2. Being free to do what the individual likes
3. Doing exciting things
1. Spending time with friends
2. Facilitating friends
3.2 Pull factors
Desire to see monkeys, get more new experiences, wildlife viewing, natural
environment, etc. refers to the specific needs that are based on the specific
motivation (pull factors). The destination choice depends on the destination
attributes (pull factors) influencing the motivation of ecotourists.
Table 2. Pull factors and their analysis.
1. Ease of planning the travel
3. Convenient access
1. Convenient accommodation
3. Convenient transportation
4. Food and Beverage
5. Satisfactory sanitation
1. Amusing nightlife
2. Suitable freedom
3. Beaches, etc.
1. Modern attractions
2. Natural attractions
3. Beautiful sceneries
4. Historical and cultural attractions
1. Shopping centers
2. Suitable price and quality
The first purpose of this paper was to identify the target group of the eco
market, by providing general information about ecotourism itself. From the second
chapter, it is clear that ecotourism is the form of sustainable tourism that is
focused on the visiting and conserving pristine places. The distinctive feature of
the ecotourism is that ecotourism prevents the damage of the ecosystem and
encourage people to preserve nature. This is the kind of tourism in which the
enjoying nature and cognition of living beings are coming together. Unfortunately,
research results of different authors on ecotourism as a separate market segment
are different. In simple words, some argue that ecotourism is tourism aimed at
preserving nature and has a specific target, but some claim that preserving nature
is a human factor and that is not correct to create a new market segment out of it.
However, nowadays, there is a large demand for ecotourism and the number of
ecotourists is increasing day by day. Thus, ecotourism is getting to be one of the
most required kinds of tourism. People who require ecotourism are ecotourists.
They are nature lovers and can be considered as a target group of the ecotourism.
Over the years, the authors have divided ecotourists into several categories. At
first, eco-tourists were divided into two classes such as hard ecotourists and soft
ecotourists, then a third one was added – a mixture of the previous two.
The second purpose of the research was to identify what makes the
ecotourists motivated to travel and choose this or another destination. In the third
chapter, we observed that motivation is one of the important factors in the decision
making of tourists. Thus, motivation is the inner engine that makes people do
some actions. The basics of motivation are needs and wants. The factors that
influence motivation are divided into two categories such as push and pull factors.
Push factors are the internal motivation of ecotourists to travel or go on holiday.
For instance, maybe it is the fatigue from work or confusing daily routine, etc. Pull
factors explain the reason why tourists choose a certain destination. It can be the
attractions of this place, infrastructure, or nature, etc. All pull and push factors are
allocated in tables 1 and 2.
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