Motives to Visit Urban Ecotourism Sites: A Study of a Botanical Garden in South Africa

  • Uwe P. HERMANN Centre for Sustainable Tourism, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa
  • Samantha C. BOUWER Centre for Sustainable Tourism, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa


Botanical gardens are a global phenomenon. Historically developed with the intention of maintaining a living collection of plants (under scientific management) for the purpose of research and education, botanical gardens have evolved to provide an accessible urban alternative for ecotourism experiences. Given that many botanical gardens are publically funded, income secured from tourist visitation can help supplement (limited) government funds. The purpose of this study was determining the motives of visitors to a botanical garden in South Africa. Employing a quantitative methodology, an onsite intercept survey by means of convenience sampling yielded 304 usable responses. An exploratory factor analysis revealed six distinct visitor motivations. The results inform the marketing of botanical gardens with a view to promoting their financial sustainability as visitor attractions, and ultimately their continued role as centres of scientific research, conservation and education. 


[1] Amuquandoh, F. E. 2017. Tourists’ motivations for visiting Kakum National Park, Ghana. Ghana journal of Geography, 9(1): 152-168. Available at:
[2] Ballantyne, R, Packer, J. and Hughes, K.2008. Environmental awareness, interests and motives of botanic gardens visitors: Implications for interpretive practice. Tourism management, 29(3): 439-444. DOI:
[3] Boo, Soyoung, and Jones, D.L. 2009. Using a validation process to develop market segmentation based on travel motivation for major metropolitan areas. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 26(1): 60-79. DOI:
[4] Bouwer, S., et al. 2022. Values for an Undergraduate Ecotourism Management Curriculum in South Africa: A Mixed-methods Study. Journal of teaching in travel & tourism, 22(4): 337-359. DOI:
[5] Catahan, N. and Woodruffe-Burton, H. 2017. The view, brew and loo: perceptions of botanic gardens? Journal of Place Management and Development, 12(1). DOI:
[6] Ching, G.H., and Noratiqah, M. 2016. The user’s perceptions of Perdana Botanical Garden in Kuala Lumpur. Journal of Design and Built Environment, 16(1). DOI:
[7] Cohen, E. 1972. Towards a Sociology of International Tourism. Social Research, 39(1). Available at:
[8] Crompton, J. 1979. Motivation for pleasure travel. Annals of Tourism Research, 1(4). DOI:
[9] Cudjoe, E., and Gbedemah, S. F. 2020. The new roles of Legon Botanical Garden as visitor destination in Ghana. Journal of Sustainable Tourism and Entrepreneurship, 1(1). DOI:
[10] Fletcher, J., Fyall, A., Gilbert, D. and Wanhill, S. 2013. Tourism: principles and practice. 5th edition. Pearson Education.
[11] Fox, D. and Edwards, J. 2008. Managing gardens. In A. Fyall, B. Garrod, A. Leask, and S. Wanhill (Eds.), Managing visitor attractions. 2nd Edition. Butterworth and Heinemann, 2008.
[12] Geldenhuys, S. and Saayman, M. 2009. Ecotourism: getting back to basics. Potchefstroom: Leisure publications, 26-42
[13] Graham, D.MS. 1981. Tourist motivation an appraisal. Annals of tourism research, 8(2): 187-219. DOI:
[14] Grobbelaar, L., Bouwer, S., and. Hermann, U. P. 2019. An Exploratory Investigation of Visitor Motivations to the Barberton-Makhonjwa Geotrail, South Africa. Geo Journal of Tourism and Geosites, 25(2): 283-292. DOI:
[15] He, He, and Jin Chen. 2012. Educational and enjoyment benefits of visitor education centers at botanical gardens. Biological Conservation, 149(1):, 103-112. DOI:
[16] Hermann, U. P., and Liezel Du Plessis. 2014. Travel motives of visitors to the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa and leisure. African journal for physical health education, recreation and dance, 20(3): 1162-1172. DOI:
[17] Hermann, U. P., et al. 2016. A visitor motivational typology at Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site. Acta Commercii, 16(1): 1-7. Available at:
[18] Higham, J., and Lück, M. 2002. Urban ecotourism: a contradiction in terms? Journal of ecotourism, 1(1): 36-51. DOI:
[19] Karaşah, Banu, and Mustafa Var. 2013. Recreational functions of botanical gardens and examining sample of Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanical Garden. Available at:
[20] Kruger, M., and Saayman, M. 2010. Travel motivation of tourists to Kruger and Tsitsikamma National Parks: A comparative study. South African Journal of Wildlife Research-24-month delayed open access, 40(1): 93-102. Available at:
[21] Kruger, M., Saayman, M. and. Hermann, U. P. 2014. First-time versus repeat visitors at the Kruger National Park. Acta Commercii, 14(1): 1-9. Available at:
[22] Machnik, A. ‘Ecotourism as a Core of Sustainability in Tourism’. In: Lubowiecki-Vikuk, A., de Sousa, B.M.B., Đerčan, B.M., Leal Filho, W. (Eds), Handbook of Sustainable Development and Leisure Services. World Sustainability Series. Springer, Cham. DOI:
[23] Mamoon, A., Dowling, R. K. and Sanders D. 2015. The motivations for visiting geosites: the case of Crystal Cave, Western Australia. GeoJournal of Tourism and Geosites, 16(2): 141-152.
[24] Masina, Nontsikelelo O., Liezel Boshoff, and Portia Pearl Siyanda Sifolo. 2021. Wildlife Tourism Motivation: A Case for Manyeleti Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga. (2021). DOI: 10.46222/ajhtl.19770720-170
[25] Maslow, A. 1970. Motivation and Personality. 2nd.(ed.) Harper and Row. New York
[26] McIntosh, R. W., Goeldner, C. R. and Ritchie, JR B. 1995. Tourism: principles, practices, philosophies. No. Ed. 7. John Wiley and Sons.
[27] McKercher, B. 2002. Towards a classification of cultural tourists. International journal of tourism research, 4(1): 29-38. DOI:
[28] Metaxas, T. and Kechagia, P. 2016. Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America: The Case of Peru. Theoretical and Practical Research in the Economic Fields, Volume 7, Issue 2(14). DOI:
[29] Mutanga, C.N. et al. 2017. Travel motivation and tourist satisfaction with wildlife tourism experiences in Gonarezhou and Matusadona National Parks, Zimbabwe. Journal of outdoor recreation and tourism, 20: 1-18. DOI:
[30] Park, D.-B., and Yoon, Y.-S. 2009. Segmentation by motivation in rural tourism: A Korean case study. Tourism management, 30(1): 99-108. DOI:
[31] Plog, S. C. 1973. Why destination areas rise and fall in popularity. Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 13-16.
[32] Rahatmawati, I., et al. 2020. The Intention to Repeat Visit Tourist on the Geotourism Object of Cave Bentar, Tanjungsari, Yogyakarta. Journal of Environmental Management & Tourism, 11(8): 1931-1937
[33] Ryan, R. M., and Deci, E. L. 2000. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary educational psychology, 25(1): 54-67. DOI:
[34] Saghir, J., and Santoro, J. 2018. Urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Meeting Challenges by Bridging Stakeholders. Washington, DC, USA: Center for Strategic & International Studies. Available at:,to%2020.2%20percent%20by%202050
[35] Salvarci, S., and Kubra F. A. 2021. Comments about Botanic Parks and Gardens in the Context of Botanical Tourism. Journal of Tourism Management Research, 8(2): 173-183. DOI:
[36] Sample, I. 2015. Kew Gardens Funding is ‘recipe for failure’, warn MPs. The Guardian, 4. Available at:
[37] Šimková, E., and Holzner, J. 2014. Motivation of tourism participants. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 159: 660-664. DOI:
[38] Slabbert, E., and Viviers, P. 2012. Push and pull factors of national parks in South Africa. Journal of contemporary management, 9(1): 66-88. DOI:
[39] Snepenger, D., King, J. Marshall, E. and Uysal, M. 2006. Modeling Iso-Ahola’s motivation theory in the tourism context. Journal of travel research, 45(2): 140-149. DOI:
[40] Van der Merwe, P., Slabbert, E. and Saayman, M. 2011. Travel motivations of tourists to selected marine destinations. International journal of tourism research, 13(5): 457-467. DOI:
[41] Ward, C. D., Parker, C.M. and Shackleton, C. M. 2010. The use and appreciation of botanical gardens as urban green spaces in South Africa. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 9(1): 49-55 DOI:
[42] Wassenberg, C.L., Goldenberg, M. A. and Soule, K. E. 2015. Benefits of botanical garden visitation: A means-end study. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 14(1): 148-155. DOI:
[43] Weaver, D. B. 2005. Mass and urban ecotourism: new manifestions of an old concept. Tourism Recreation Research, 30(1): 19-26. DOI:
[44] Botanic Gardens Conservation International. ‘About botanic gardens’. (2020) Available at:
[45] National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004. Available at:
[46] South Africa. Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment. South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). Available at:
[47] The International Ecotourism Society. (2018). What is ecotourism? Retrieved from
How to Cite
HERMANN, Uwe P.; BOUWER, Samantha C.. Motives to Visit Urban Ecotourism Sites: A Study of a Botanical Garden in South Africa. Journal of Environmental Management and Tourism, [S.l.], v. 14, n. 2, p. 563 - 574, mar. 2023. ISSN 2068-7729. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 21 apr. 2024. doi: