Visitor satisfaction with services for environmental interpretation in Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam
The increase in visitor demand creates more and more pressures on visitor management, especially in protected areas like national parks. Environmental interpretation is regarded as an effective soft management strategy that aims to educate visitors in national parks. However, no study about visitor satisfaction with environmental interpretation using Importance-Performance analysis has been undertaken in national parks in general and national parks of Vietnam in particular. This study attempts to fill in the research gaps in the literature by examining visitor satisfaction with services for environmental interpretation in Cat Tien National Park of Vietnam using Importance-Performance Analysis. The research aims are: (1) To identify current interpretive services in Cat Tien National Park; (2) To explore visitor use of these services for environmental interpretation; (3) To investigate visitor satisfaction with these services using Importance-Performance Analysis and (4) To analyze similarities and differences in visitor satisfaction with services according to motivation-based segments and market-based segments. Secondary research, a site visit and three semi-structured interviews were first implemented to provide information background for the study. Next, the main survey for both international and domestic visitors was conducted at the entry point of Cat Tien National Park. Data from 237 pre-visit and post-visit questionnaires collected in four weeks was then analyzed with relevant statistical analyses. Market-based segmentation and motivation-based segmentation were also implemented to analyze the data. The findings show that site interpreters were the most important service provider for environmental interpretation in Cat Tien National Park. Site interpreters, interpretive signs and staff at the museum are very important and very satisfying services for environmental interpretation. Displays at the museum need to be redesigned to meet visitor satisfaction. Moreover, videos at the rescue centre need to improve the performance to ensure domestic visitor satisfaction. With regard to twelve roles of site interpreters, the role for a comfortable pace of the trip, the role for a good group organisation, the communicative roles and the roles of an environmental interpreter are important and satisfying roles according to visitors. The performance of the instrumental role for visitor safety and the social role for a positive group environment need to be enhanced to meet visitor satisfaction. Also, two roles of a motivator of responsible behaviour need to be enhanced to meet the satisfaction of “Passive visitors” and “Active learners”, as well as international visitors. The study highlights the need for continuing research on visitor satisfaction with environmental interpretation using importance performance analysis and visitor segmentation. Some management implications were given for future development of services for environmental interpretation in Cat Tien National Park.