Adventure tourism is a growing market sector worldwide including Australia. A range of research exists that examined participation in adventure tourism activities by consideration of various aspects such as socio-demographics, motivations, activity/setting preferences and involvement in the activity to understand the adventure tourist. While studies have been conducted that included several of these aspects, a holistic investigation of involvement, motivations and setting preferences together has not been conducted previously regarding adventure tourism in Australia in general and scuba diving in particular. Furthermore, in Australia, only limited information is available about those who participate in the adventure activity of scuba diving. The aim of this research is to investigate differences and similarities of involvement, motivations and setting preferences of scuba diving club members in Eastern Australia. In this study 294 scuba diving club members in New South Wales and Queensland were surveyed by utilisation of a web-based questionnaire in order to identify their involvement in scuba diving, socio-demographic characteristics, participation motives and setting preferences. Descriptive analysis was used to investigate the socio-demographic characteristics of divers, their motivations and setting preferences. Principal component analysis was applied on involvement variables as well as motivations to investigate the underlying constructs. Agglomerative and hierarchical cluster analyses were used to derive clusters of divers that differed in their involvement in scuba diving. Exact Pearson chi-square tests were conducted to test whether there were significant differences concerning sociodemographics between clusters. In addition, analyses of variance (ANOVAs) were conducted to determine differences and similarities of motivational components and setting preferences between clusters. This study found that scuba diving club members are a heterogeneous group regarding their involvement in scuba diving. Five clusters of divers emerged that differed in their involvement in scuba diving. While differences in socio-demographics across the different involvement clusters were revealed, they proved to be less valuable for interpretation purposes. Regarding divers' setting preferences, similar structures were observed across all clusters regardless of differences in involvement. Motivations showed a complex structure across the clusters in regard to divers' involvement in scuba diving. Based on the studies findings, recommendations for future research were suggested. These emphasised the need for a holistic examination of motivations and setting preferences of adventure tourists based on the concept of involvement, which would be important for theory development and segmentation of tourists. The same holistic approach would also be valuable for examining other types of tourists such as events tourists and heritage tourists to better understand tourist behaviour.
|Date of Award
|Brent Ritchie (Supervisor) & Tracey Dickson (Supervisor)