Nature-Based Tourism: A Study on Consumer Behavior When Participating in Camping Activities

Nature-Based Tourism: A Study on Consumer Behavior When Participating in Camping Activities

Sandra Filipe (University of Aveiro, Portugal), Belem Barbosa (University of Porto, Portugal) and Claudia Amaral Santos (University of Aveiro, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1302-6.ch007
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This chapter is based on consumer behavior theories and analyses consumers' perspectives about camping as a tourism alternative. It explores motivations and several relevant factors that influence the attitudes and behaviors of tourists regarding camping activities. The methodology was qualitative and used focus groups as a data collection tool. A content and thematic analysis was adopted as data mining technique. Results provide empirical support to the influence of subjective norms, relevant others' preference for camping, and sustainable consumer profile on attitudes toward camping which influence camping intention. Moreover, camping intention, motivations, relevant others' preference for camping, perceived control, and past experience affect camping behavior. Overall, this chapter shows that consumer behavior theories and models provide very interesting cues on campers' decision process, offering alternative and complementing views to the extant literature, namely to the studies using the popular push-pull approach.
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NBT stands out as a type of tourism that offers the opportunity to indulge the natural heritage. Despite its current popularity, the preference for nature tourism is not new. In the 90s, Lindberg (1991) identified four segments of nature tourists with distinct motivations and experiences: (i) hard-core nature tourists, including people with educational purposes; (ii) dedicated nature tourists, focusing on tourists looking for protected areas or wanting to learn about local, natural and cultural history; (iii) mainstream nature tourists, comprising people who visit destinations primarily to take an unusual trip; (iv) casual nature-tourists, including tourists who experience nature incidentally or as a part of a broader trip. Naturally, these diverse tourist profiles impact the characteristics of nature tourism offers, namely by considering the nature immersion that is desired by tourists (Shafer & Choi, 2006). Faced with a variety of outdoor activities, consumers can choose from a simple hiking trail or a bike tour while staying in a hotel, to a more intense NBT experience such as camping.

Camping was originally defined as the activity of living in a tent, in nature, and was associated with a low-cost accommodation option when on holiday (Blichfeldt & Mikkelsen, 2014). However, camping has evolved. According to Moghimehfar and Halpenny (2016), camping can range from spending at least one night in a basic tent to staying in a full-service campground in a luxury recreational vehicle. This study focuses on the analysis of consumer behavior regarding the tourism option that uses the tent as accommodation.

Collins and Kearns (2010, p. 59) stated that “if all-inclusive resorts and luxury hotels are one end of the tourism accommodation spectrum, then campgrounds surely lie at the other”. The authors noted that, beyond issues of comfort and cost, campgrounds are distinctive forms of accommodation in two aspects: (i) the real accommodation (tent) is generally owned by the user, hence what is paid for is just short-term rental of the site that includes access to several basic facilities; (ii) sometimes the same tourists in one occasion might stay in hotels or resorts and in others may opt to stay in campgrounds. Thus, this camping option is a matter of choice of these consumers rather than a necessity.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Outdoor Recreation: A set of activities that are practised outdoors by the consumer including, for example, camping, canoeing, diving, rafting, hiking, speleology, climbing, mountain bike, paragliding, birdwatching, bodyboard, windsurf, canyoning, among others.

Nature-Based Tourism: A type of tourism in which consumers stay out of their homes more than 24 hours to spend time in nature, to appreciate the natural and landscape heritage, to interact with local cultures, to engage in different outdoor activities near to or in nature, according to the intensity and proximity that they wish to have to nature.

Tourist Motivations: The reason or set of reasons that consumers have for acting or behaving when deciding to do tourism and then choosing a specific tourist product and/or service which they believe will satisfy them.

Camper Profile: A set of consumer characteristics that provides strong motivation and future intention to do camping, and, in the majority of cases, results in a real camping decision.

Camper Motivation: The reason or set of reasons that a tourist has for acting or behaving when deciding to choose a camping alternative among other alternatives for accommodation and doing tourism.

Camping: An outdoor activity in which the consumer decides to use a tent or a motorized vehicle known as caravan as accommodation with the purpose to do tourism.

Consumer Behavior: The meticulous study of when, why, how and where people decide to buy a product/service or not. It implies understanding the consumer decision-making process, both individually and in groups, by studying the characteristics of individual consumers through demographic and behavioral variables in an attempt to perceive consumer needs and desires, and also assess the influence of groups on the consumer (e.g., family, friends, reference groups and society).

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