Original Research

Who are the big-spending beachgoers and what is important for them?

Melville Saayman, Andrea Saayman
Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences | Vol 12, No 1 | a455 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jef.v12i1.455 | © 2019 Melville Saayman, Andrea Saayman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 February 2019 | Published: 29 October 2019

About the author(s)

Melville Saayman, Tourism Research for Economics Environs and Society, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Andrea Saayman, Tourism Research for Economics Environs and Society, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa; and, School of Economics, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

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Orientation: Beaches attract millions of visitors every year and this has an impact not only on the economy, the environment and the local community but also on current and future beachgoers.

Research purpose: The aim of the article is to use expenditure-based segmentation to gain a greater understanding of beach visitor spending in order to identify different markets and the aspects they deem important.

Motivation for the study: Although South Africa has a coastline of approximately 3900 km, little is known about the beachgoer to these beaches. This article contributes to the quantification of the economic benefits stemming from beach tourism and in understanding the factors that drive beach visitation.

Research approach/design and method: During 2017/18, beachgoers to eight beaches in South Africa were surveyed and 1138 questionnaires were gathered. Using cluster analysis, four segments of beachgoers were identified. The differences between the various segments were explored by using analysis of variance and Pearson’s chi-square.

Main findings: The high-spending markets can be distinguished by language, level of education and age, while sunbathing and relaxation are key beach activities. Six key motives for visiting beaches were identified. High-spending markets tend to visit Blue Flag beaches that offer good bathing conditions.

Practical/managerial implications: This research identified four segments of visitors to South African beaches, ranging from low-spending locals to high-spending mixed market beachgoers. There are distinct differences between the segments, but important to all segments are the environment qualities of the beach in terms of both cleanliness and beach safety.

Contribution/value-add: The research, therefore, concludes that two the main threats to beach tourism and destinations are (1) pollution of the oceans and (2) global warming.


marine tourism; expenditure-based segmentation; cluster analysis; South Africa; travel motives


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