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Market segmentation and their potential economic impacts in an ecotourism destination


  • Bart Neuts

    (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand)

  • João Romão

    (CEFAGE – UAlg, University of Algarve, Portugal)

  • Peter Nijkamp

    (VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland)

  • Asami Shikida

    (Hokkaido University, Japan)


In a heterogeneous tourist market, segmentation is a valuable marketing tool to focus attention on the most advantageous clusters of visitors. In an ecotourism destination, the attractiveness of tourists may be defined by their ecological awareness, but also their (potential) economic impact, since there is a need to balance ecological sustainability and economic viability. This article proposes a model-based latent class analysis of visitors’ preferences and choices in order to identify different demand clusters in the Shiretoko Peninsula, Japan. The method yields four distinct clusters, each differing in motivations, information search and activities undertaken. We also describe how our approach can be used to make informed decisions about management strategies on tourist heterogeneity in order to maximize benefits for the local economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Bart Neuts & João Romão & Peter Nijkamp & Asami Shikida, 2016. "Market segmentation and their potential economic impacts in an ecotourism destination," Tourism Economics, , vol. 22(4), pages 793-808, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:toueco:v:22:y:2016:i:4:p:793-808
    DOI: 10.1177/1354816616654252

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Aurélie Bertrand & Christian Hafner, 2014. "On heterogeneous latent class models with applications to the analysis of rating scores," Computational Statistics, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 307-330, February.
    2. Linzer, Drew A. & Lewis, Jeffrey B., 2011. "poLCA: An R Package for Polytomous Variable Latent Class Analysis," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 42(i10).
    3. Juho A. Pesonen, 2012. "Segmentation of rural tourists: combining push and pull motivations," Tourism and Hospitality Management, University of Rijeka, Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management, vol. 18(1), pages 69-82, May.
    4. Haughton, Dominique & Legrand, Pascal & Woolford, Sam, 2009. "Review of Three Latent Class Cluster Analysis Packages: Latent Gold, poLCA, and MCLUST," The American Statistician, American Statistical Association, vol. 63(1), pages 81-91.
    5. João Romão & Bart Neuts & Peter Nijkamp & Eveline van Leeuwen, 2015. "Culture, Product Differentiation and Market Segmentation: A Structural Analysis of the Motivation and Satisfaction of Tourists in Amsterdam," Tourism Economics, , vol. 21(3), pages 455-474, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mauricio Carvache-Franco & Wilmer Carvache-Franco & Ana Gabriela Víquez-Paniagua & Orly Carvache-Franco & Allan Pérez-Orozco, 2021. "The Role of Motivations in the Segmentation of Ecotourism Destinations: A Study from Costa Rica," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(17), pages 1-18, September.
    2. Conrado Carrascosa-López & Mauricio Carvache-Franco & José Mondéjar-Jiménez & Wilmer Carvache-Franco, 2021. "Understanding Motivations and Segmentation in Ecotourism Destinations. Application to Natural Parks in Spanish Mediterranean Area," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(9), pages 1-16, April.

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