Analysis of adventure tourist motivation: the case of China-born international students in New Zealand universities

Lou, Jinglan
Johnston, Charles
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Master of International Hospitality Management
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Auckland University of Technology

Despite the rapid increase of inbound tourism in New Zealand, the essence of its overseas Chinese student market has never been sufficiently studied. In response to this gap, the aim of this research is to discover the motivations of China-born international university students to experience adventure recreation activities in New Zealand. This study emphasises the importance of tourist motivations in destination planning for the Chinese overseas student market. A significant aspect of this probe is a demonstration of the application of tourist motivation theories in tourism industry practice. To develop insight into the Chinese overseas student market, the dominant focus of this study is to develop a useable model of Chinese student motivations to choose New Zealand as an adventure tour destination.

The investigation utilises a quantitative methodology to determine China-born international university students’ motivations to engage in New Zealand adventure tourism. A self-administered questionnaire was used to obtain the data. With limited resources of time and money, a sample of 153 respondents was drawn from Chinese overseas university students studying in New Zealand; the survey was conducted in the four weeks from 16th May to 12th June 2014 during daylight hours. Exploratory factor analysis conducted to validate the adventure travel motivations. A suite of independent t tests and one-way ANOVA tests were adopted to explore the influence of demographics and travel characteristics. The items “achievement and risk taking”, “ego enhancement”, “novelty and knowledge seeking” and “exciting experience” were found to be the most significant motivators related to the reasons for Chinese students choosing to participate in adventure activities in New Zealand.

To date no other studies have investigated the motivations of China-born international university students to choose New Zealand as an adventure destination. The findings of this research can be used by the New Zealand tourism sector to market adventure travel experiences to Chinese overseas students and to highlight how the New Zealand tourism sector caters to these primary motivations. This will enable the sector to deliver better quality service and provide unique tourist experiences. Recommendations for future studies are presented.

China-born international university students , Adventure tourism , New Zealand , Adventure motivation
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