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Understanding Visitors

Tourism destinations appeal to a wide variety of different types of visitors who are often categorised by: Lifestage eg. Young Families; Demographics; Attitudes and values eg. Experience Seekers; Type of holiday eg. Beach Holiday; Duration of trip eg. Short Break; Purpose of travel eg. Visiting Friends and Relatives. Read more
Tourism destinations appeal to a wide variety of different types of visitors who are often categorised by:


  • Lifestage eg. Young Families
  • Demographics
  • Attitudes and values eg. Experience Seekers
  • Type of holiday eg. Beach Holiday
  • Duration of trip eg. Short Break
  • Purpose of travel eg. Visiting Friends and Relatives

It is therefore essential that a tourism destination clearly understands their current and desired visitor markets to influence how a destination is developed, managed and marketed. Identifying and understanding a destination’s visitor markets involves consideration of the following points:

  • It is important to understand not only who the current visitor markets are but the preferred future target market/s for that destination as highlighted in the Grampians region where market research identified the opportunity to reposition the destination in order to attract the preferred target market;
  • The development of a strategic direction for a destination should take into consideration both the current and future visitor markets to ensure that both short-term and long-term sustainability goals are achievable;

    Destination Management Tip

    Social trend analysis can be used to identify future visitor demands and potential new target markets for a destination.

  • Market segmentation is important in identifying different characteristics and demands of visitor markets and to assist in the identification of a destination’s preferred target market/s as demonstrated in the Tennant Creek and Barkly region where market research and segmentation identified the self-drive market as the ‘ideal’ visitor market for the region;
  • Market segmentation can be undertaken based on visitor demographics, behaviours, preferences and interests. The aim of better understanding a destination’s current and future visitors is to get the best match between the aspirations and expectations of visitors, the host community’s aspirations and the potential of the destination. For this reason psychographic segmentation (attitudes and values) is becoming increasingly used to find the perfect match.
  • Identification of the preferred target market of a destination should be based on an assessment of the market segments against the destination image, stakeholder vision and goals, product and experience offering;
  • Understanding a destination target market’s needs, behaviours, characteristics, preferences and decision-making processes is important in developing appropriate strategies for destination development and marketing.

The Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre has an extensive body of research into understanding consumer choice and behaviours and the impact on identifying appropriate visitor markets. Research into best practice of regional destinations in the Sustainable Regional Tourism Destinations report showed that tourism destinations must understand the history and future direction of the consumer marketplace and the position of their destination in that marketplace. For further information on market research please see the Market Research and Insights’ section. For further information on specific market segments please see the ‘Destination Products and Experiences’ section.


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