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Market segmentation and their economic impacts in an ecotourism destination: An applied modelling study on Hokkaido, Japan

Neuts, B., J. Romão, P. Nijkamp, A. Shikida (2016), "Market segmentation and their economic impacts in an ecotourism destination: An applied modelling study on Hokkaido, Japan", Tourism Economics, 22(4), 793-808.
Abstract:

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.