Understanding school excursion planning and constraints: An Australian case study

Brent Ritchie, Duane Coughlan

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    Abstract: According to Ritchie, Carr, and Cooper, school excursion tourism is a relatively underresearched and poorly understood segment of the tourism industry, particularly with regard to its size and specific nature. Yet both domestic and international school excursions provide an important market for attractions, tour operators, and accommodation providers. Although school excursions are not a major economic force for attractions they can provide positive word of mouth and encourage future visitation for both students and parents, and can also support off-season visitation. Cooper notes the need to understand the school excursion market, including their motivations, needs, constraints, and travel behavior. This article begins by outlining the potential of school excursions before focusing on domestic school excursions through discussing a study conducted on the school excursion market in Australia. A total of 807 schools nationwide were surveyed in 1998–99 to examine their school excursion behavior, including their motivations, constraints, and perceptions of Canberra (the National Capital of Australia). Forty-six percent of schools had a dedicated school excursion planner, and while the major motives for school excursions were educational, they were closely followed by cost-effective destinations, a variety of destination attractions, and the ability of attractions to cater specifically to school groups. A total of 74% of schools note that funding is an influencing factor for school excursion planning and note specific strategies that could attract future school visitation to destinations. The results indicate that understanding the school excursion market is important in formulating strategies to attract this market and to provide quality experiences for students and teachers. The findings may be of interest to other destinations seeking to attract school excursions, including national capital cities and destinations with educational attractions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)113-126
    Number of pages14
    JournalTourism Review International
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


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