Nature-based tourism motivations and visit profiles of domestic and international segments to a Japanese national park

Main Article Content

Thomas E. Jones
Minh-Hoang Nguyen


The rapid post-millennial internationalisation of Japan’s tourism sector and the influx of international visitors have quickly increased visitor motivations’ heterogeneity, thereby posing challenges for management. Given the lack of prior research, we aimed to identify nature-based tourism (NBT) push-factor motivation domains of visitors in a Japanese national park and segment domestic and international visitors based on their motivations, demographics and trip profiles. Primary data collection of 137 responses took place in November 2019 through an on-site self-administered questionnaire. From 11 push-factor statements, the principal component analysis yielded a four-factor solution: ‘enjoying nature with family or friends’, ‘improving physical health’, ‘discovering and learning’ and ‘escaping’. In addition, t-tests revealed significant differences between domestic and international visitors in three out of the four motivation dimensions. Underlying visitor profiles could explain some such differences. Despite the differences, both international and domestic visitors share similar motivations regarding ‘improving physical health’. These findings hint at the complexity of monitoring heterogeneous visitor segments within Japanese NBT. Despite increasing international visitors, there has been a lack of the necessary infrastructure and facilities to accommodate them. Thus, this study’s implications might help diversify NBT management strategies to deal with current shortcomings in Japan’s tourism sector.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Jones, T. E., & Nguyen, M.-H. (2021). Nature-based tourism motivations and visit profiles of domestic and international segments to a Japanese national park. Quaestiones Geographicae, 40(2), 77–92.


  1. Akama J.S., Kieti D.M., 2003. Measuring tourist satisfaction with Kenya’s wildlife safari: A case study of Tsavo West National Park. Tourism Management 24: 73–81.
  2. Alexandris K., Kouthouris C., Funk D., Giovani C., 2009. Segmenting winter sport tourists by motivation: The case of recreational skiers. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management 18: 480–499.
  3. Andonian A., Kuwabara T., Yamakawa N., Ishida R., 2016. The future of Japan’s tourism: Path for sustainable growth towards 2020. Tokyo: McKinsey&Company.
  4. Balmford A., Beresford J., Green J., Naidoo R., Walpole M., Manica A., 2009. A global perspective on trends in nature-based tourism. PLoS Biology 7: e1000144.
  5. Black R., 1996. Ecotourism, what does it really mean? Ranger: A Journal for Conservation Managers, 34: 4–7.
  6. Bui H.T., Le T.-A., 2016. Tourist satisfaction and destination image of Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay. Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research 21: 795–810.
  7. Carson D., Prideaux B., Coghlan A., Taylor A., 2009. Heritage as a motivation for four-wheel-drive tourism in desert Australia. Journal of Heritage Tourism 4: 217–225.
  8. Carvache-Franco M., Segarra-oña M., Carrascosa-López C., 2019. Segmentation by motivation in ecotourism: Application to protected areas in guayas, ecuador. Sustainability 11: 240.
  9. Crompton J.L., 1979. Motivations for pleasure vacation. Annals of Tourism Research 6: 408–424.
  10. Dayour F., Adongo C.A., 2015. Why they go there: International tourists’ motivations and revisit intention to Northern Ghana. American Journal of Tourism Management 4: 7–17.
  11. Dwyer L., Kim C., 2003. Destination competitiveness: Determinants and indicators. Current Issues in Tourism 6: 369–414.
  12. Dziuban C.D., Shirkey E.C., 1974. When is a correlation matrix appropriate for factor analysis? Some decision rules. Psychological Bulletin 81: 358.
  13. Fredman P., Margaryan L., 2020. 20 years of Nordic nature-based tourism research: A review and future research agenda. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism 21: 1–12.
  14. Hall J., o’Mahony B., Gayler J., 2017. Modelling the relationship between attribute satisfaction, overall satisfaction, and behavioural intentions in Australian ski resorts. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing 34: 764–778.
  15. Hasan E.-U., 2017. Nature-based tourism and revitalization of rural communities in Japan: An ethnographic case study of oyama Town. Journal of Social Science Studies 4: 140–159.
  16. Honey M., 1999. Ecotourism and sustainable development: Who owns paradise? Island Press, Washington, DC.
  17. Inui Y., Lankford J.K., Lankford S.V., 2004. An exploratory motivational study of Japanese adventure based tourism. E-Review of Tourism Research (eRTR) 2: 70–77.
  18. Iso-Ahola S.E. (ed.) 1980. The social psychology of leisure and recreation. C. Brown Co, Dubuque.
  19. Iso-Ahola S.E., 1982. Toward a social psychological theory of tourism motivation: A rejoinder. Annals of Tourism Research 9: 256–262.
  20. Japan Tourism Agency, 2019. White Paper on Tourism in
  21. Japan, 2019. Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
  22. JES (Japan Ecotourism Society), 2007. Daisankai eko tsūrizumu ni kansuru shōhisha niizu chōsa (The third investigation into ecotourism needs among consumers). Tokyo.
  23. Jones T., 2009. Nature-based tourism in a Japanese national park – A case study of Kamikochi. Bulletin of the Tokyo University Forests 121: 87–116.
  24. Jones T., 2012. A life cycle analysis of nature-based tourism policy in Japan. Contemporary Japan 24: 179–211.
  25. Jones T., Ohsawa T., 2016. Monitoring nature-based tourism trends in Japan’s national parks: Mixed messages from domestic and inbound visitors. Parks 22: 25–36.
  26. JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co., 2020a. Japan Residents’/Japanese Visits Abroad. Japan National Tourism organization.
  27. JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co., 2020b. overseas Residents’ visits to Japan. Japan National Tourism organization.
  28. Kaiser H.F., Rice J., 1974. Little jiffy, mark IV. Educational and Psychological Measurement 34: 111–117.
  29. Kim H., Borges M.C., Chon J., 2006. Impacts of environmental values on tourism motivation: The case of Fica, Brazil. Tourism Management 27: 957–967.
  30. Kim K.-Y., Jogaratnam G., 2003. Travel motivations: A comparative study of Asian international and domestic American college students. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing 13: 61–82.
  31. Kim S., 2017. Study on possibilities of expansion of Japanese-Type ecotourism–focusing on nature-based daytrip tourists to ecotourism regions in Nabari City. European Journal of Tourism, Hospitality and Recreation 8: 14–25.
  32. Kim S.S., Lee C.-K., Klenosky D.B., 2003. The influence of push and pull factors at Korean national parks. Tourism Management 24: 169–180.
  33. Maccallum R.C., Widaman K.F., Zhang S., Hong S., 1999. Sample size in factor analysis. Psychological Methods 4: 84.
  34. Maslow A.H., 1981. Motivation and personality. New Delhi: Prabhat Prakashan.
  35. Mcdonald J.H., 2009. Handbook of biological statistics. Sparky House Publishing, Baltimore, MD.
  36. Ministry of Environment, 2009. Natural Park Act (Act No. 191 of 1957). Government of Japan, Tokyo.
  37. Ministry of Environment, n.d. Visit! National Park: Project to Fully Enjoy National Parks. online: (accessed: 17 February 2021).
  38. Mody M., Day J., Sydnor S., Jaffe W., Lehto X., 2014. The different shades of responsibility: Examining domestic and international travelers’ motivations for responsible tourism in India. Tourism Management Perspectives 12: 113–124.
  39. Muñoz L., Hausner V., Brown G., Runge C., Fauchald P., 2019. Identifying spatial overlap in the values of locals, domestic- and international tourists to protected areas. Tourism Management 71: 259–271.
  40. Nguyen M.-H., Pham T.-H., Ho M.-T., Nguyen H.T.T., Vuong Q.-H., 2021. on the social and conceptual structure of the 50-year research landscape in entrepreneurial finance. SN Business & Economics 1: 1–29.
  41. oECD, 2016. Japan. In: oECD (ed.) OECD Tourism trends and policies 2016 (pp. 212–217). Paris: oECD Publishing.
  42. Packer J., Ballantyne R., Hughes K., 2014. Chinese and Australian tourists’ attitudes to nature, animals and environmental issues: Implications for the design of nature-based tourism experiences. Tourism Management 44: 101–107.
  43. Pan S., Ryan C., 2007. Mountain areas and visitor usage–motivations and determinants of satisfaction: The case of Pirongia Forest Park, New Zealand. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 15: 288–308.
  44. Park K.S., Reisinger Y., Kang H.J., 2008. Visitors’ motivation for attending the south beach wine and food festival, Miami beach, Florida. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing 25: 161–181.
  45. Partner S., 2004. Toshié: A story of village life in twentieth-century Japan. oakland: University of California Press.
  46. Pergams O.R., Zaradic P.A., 2008. Evidence for a fundamental and pervasive shift away from nature-based recreation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105: 2295–2300.
  47. Phau I., Lee S., Quintal V., 2013. An investigation of push and pull motivations of visitors to private parks: The case of Araluen Botanic Park. Journal of Vacation Marketing 19: 269–284.
  48. Romão J., Neuts B., Nijkamp P., Shikida A., 2014. Determinants of trip choice, satisfaction and loyalty in an eco-tourism destination: A modelling study on the Shiretoko Peninsula, Japan. Ecological Economics 107: 195–205.
  49. Shaffer M., 2013. See America first: Tourism and national identity, 1880–1940, Washington: Smithsonian Institution.
  50. Shi T.T., Liu X.R., Li J.J., 2018. Market segmentation by travel motivations under a transforming economy: Evidence from the Monte Carlo of the orient. Sustainability 10: 3395.
  51. Shin Y.-S., 2007. Perception differences between domestic and international visitors in the tourist destination: The case of the Borderline, the DMZ area. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing 21: 77–88.
  52. Suganuma Y., Hibino N., Morichi S., 2011. Trend analysis of domestic tourist travel in Japan based on individual data from tourism statistics. Journal of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies 9: 826–841.
  53. Taber K.S., 2018. The use of Cronbach’s alpha when developing and reporting research instruments in science education. Research in Science Education 48: 1273–1296.
  54. UNEP-WCMC & IUCN 2016. Protected planet report 2016. Cambridge UK and Gland, UNEP-WCMC AND IUCN, Switzerland.
  55. Valentine P.S., 1992. Nature-based tourism. In: Weiler B., Hall C.M. (eds), Special interest tourism. Belhaven Press, London: 105–127.
  56. Vuong Q.-H., 2016. Global mindset as the integration of emerging socio-cultural values through mindsponge processes: A transition economy perspective. In: Kuada J. (ed.), Global mindsets: Exploration and perspectives. Routledge, London: 109–126.
  57. Vuong Q.-H., 2020. Reform retractions to make them more transparent. Nature 582: 149.
  58. Vuong Q.-H., 2021. The semiconducting principle of monetary and environmental values exchange. Economics and Business Letters 10: 1–9.
  59. Vuong Q.-H., Ho M.-T., Nguyen H.-K.T., Nguyen M.-H., 2019. The trilemma of sustainable industrial growth: Evidence from a piloting oECD’s Green city. Palgrave Communications 5: 1–14.
  60. Vuong Q.-H., Napier N.K., 2015. Acculturation and global mindsponge: An emerging market perspective. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 49: 354–367.
  61. Wang D.-G., 2004. Push-pull factors in mountain resorts. Chinese Geographical Science 14: 368–376.
  62. Weaver D.B., 2001. Ecotourism in the context of other tourism types. In: Weaver D.B. (ed.), The encyclopedia of ecotourism. CABI Publishing, Wallingford: 73–83.
  63. Weaver D.B., 2013. Protected area visitor willingness to participate in site enhancement activities. Journal of Travel Research 52: 377–391.
  64. Yuksel A., 2004. Shopping experience evaluation: A case of domestic and international visitors. Tourism Management 25: 751–759.