Ageing in a Modern Era: Evidence from South African Resort Spa Visitors

Armand Viljoen, Martinette Kruger, Melville Saayman


Distinguishing tourists based on their age and generational cohort has been applied widely as a useful market segmentation tool. However, to date, limited research has analysed the needs of the different generations, especially in a South African tourism context. Even fewer studies have attempted to analyse or segment the resort spa visitor. This quantitative research is one of the first to analyse the profile and needs of different generations, specifically at resort spas in South Africa. A distinction was made between baby boomers and Generation X at three selected resorts in the country. The research showed the value of the generational theory in understanding the travel behaviour of visitors but also highlighted the fact that regarding research on destinations it is recommended to analyse different generations rather than solely focusing on one, as this could lead to mismanagement of resources. This research contributes towards understanding the needs of different generations in a South African context. Based on the results, this research suggests that the country’s history, and subsequent national events, may have played a significant role in shaping the travel needs, preferences and behaviour of the domestic market.


generational cohorts; baby boomers; Generation X; South Africa; resort tourism; resort spas; segmentation

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Copyright (c) 2018 Armand Viljoen, Martinette Kruger, Melville Saayman

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