Title

Weather sensitivity and climate change perceptions of tourists: A segmentation analysis

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Tourism Geographies

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Publication Date

11-14-2017

First Page

1

Last Page

17

DOI

10.1080/14616688.2017.1399437

Abstract

Many communities rely on tourism spending, so it is important to understand any potential changes to tourist flows resulting from changing climate and weather patterns. However, tourists are not a homogenous group, as they have different motivations, values, and goals. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation is to better understand potentially varying perceptions and behavior of different tourist types, specifically in regards to their weather sensitivity, climate change concern, and behavioral intention for climate change mitigation. Tourists were randomly surveyed at 20 locations throughout the state of Maine in the United States (n = 704). Segmentation analysis on the activities tourists participated in yielded three segments of Maine tourists: non-nature-based tourists (50.6%), nature-based generalists (16.2%), and nature-based specialists (33.2%). Differences across segments were explored for perceptions of weather impacts, climate change concern, and mitigation intent. Additionally, weather sensitivity was analyzed based on type of overnight accommodations to better understand if this also had a role in differences. Non-nature-based tourists thought that weather variables were less influential during their travels in Maine than the other segments, while nature-based generalists perceived weather to have the highest influence. Additionally, nature-based specialists had the highest level of climate change belief, while nature-based generalists had the highest willingness to engage in climate change mitigation behavior. Results are useful to understand how segments of tourism demand may be altered with a changing climate, such as increased temperatures, precipitation, and storms, and what groups may be the most beneficial to target for marketing or educational efforts to reduce the impact of climate change.

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