An Evaluation of Snorkeling Experience in Pulau Payar Marine Park, Kedah, Malaysia
1 School of Housing, Building and Planning, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia
2 Sustainable Tourism Research Cluster, 11800, Universiti Sains Malaysia
Marine Parks in Malaysia receive almost 7.4 million tourists for the past ten years from all over the world. Continuous growth in the number of tourists and mass tourism has resulted in uncontrolled number of tourists, sometimes surpassing the carrying capacity of the site. Due to the lack of control and enforcement, many tour boat operators are bringing snorkelers to small fragile sites at the same timeframe. Such situation has resulted in reduced quality of tourist experience and satisfaction level, among others, as they need to cram in with others at the designated snorkeling areas. Taking Pulau Payar Marine Park for an example, this study evaluates the snorkeling experience of 259 selected respondents in the marine park. The results employed Importance-satisfaction analysis (ISA) and Gap analysis on both satisfaction and importance level. The research result showed that the perceived mean is less than the expected mean for all attributes except for ‘lack of crowd’ and ‘fish feeding activity’. Over sixty eight percent were satisfied with their snorkeling experience but there are several issues need to be managed by the Marine Park Department. Suggestions, such as limiting the number of visitors to the park, improving public facilities and solid waste management of the park to protect the island and its sustainability were introduced. This study highlights the importance of site management in environmentally sensitive areas, for resort and tour operators towards developing better service quality for a better tourist experience.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2014
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