Original Research

The impact of climate change on visitor destination selection: A case study of the Central Drakensberg Region in KwaZulu-Natal

Nduduzo A. Ngxongo
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 13, No 1 | a1161 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v13i1.1161 | © 2021 Nduduzo A. Ngxongo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 May 2021 | Published: 03 December 2021

About the author(s)

Nduduzo A. Ngxongo, Department of Hospitality and Tourism, Faculty of Management Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Many variables influence visitors’ destination choices, for example, affordability, attractions, health and safety, and expectancies. Amongst the indirect influences in destination choice by tourists, climate change is perhaps the greatest factor because of its negative impact on the ecological landscape of tourist destinations. Using the Central Drakensberg Region (CDR) as a case study, this article seeks to investigate the influence of climate change on visitors’ destination choices. A quantitative descriptive survey was conducted on a sample of n347 participants who were selected using purposive and convenience sampling procedures under the auspices of non-probability. The statistical analyses were performed using the latest edition of the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (Version 25.0). Based on the study’s results, climate change was found to be a key influence on tourists’ decision-making, behaviour and spending habits at tourist destination like the Central Drakensberg Area. The most significant climatic parameter for tourists was determined to be pleasant and warm temperatures, as well as the summer season. Furthermore, owing to the current climate change circumstances, visitors were found to be less likely to return or recommend future visits to the region. To that end, tourism officials in the CDR should swiftly implement adaptation measures to counter the effects, and explore alternatives such as soft tourism and non-climate-dependent activities to accommodate visitors year-around. Further research is recommended to establish the extent to which socio-demographic characteristics influence destination choice in the area, as well as to ascertain the current state of climate change impacts.

Keywords

climate change; tourism; visitor choice; destination; climate preferences; Central Drakensberg Region

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