Muhammad Ikbal Putera

University of Florida

I am a park ranger in Komodo National Park, Indonesia, where I have worked for five years. I not only love nature but I have a passion for tourism. I won various tourism ambassador elections in the Province of Banten and East Nusa Tenggara to pursue my interest in tourism and pageantry.

I chose the USAID-CIFOR Fellowship Program to follow my dream of getting a master’s degree in the United States. Through the program at the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida, I aimed to broaden my knowledge in ecotourism management. The program not only has successfully taught me about ecotourism, but also taught me other essential lessons, such as managing conflicts and collaborations and World Heritage Site management.

My thesis in investigating tourists’ motivations for visiting a national park has been giving my colleagues new insights into the importance of tourism as a social science which crucial towards national park management. Overall, the program has been eye opening. I look forward to studying for a doctoral degree abroad, accelerating my expertise even further. My biggest dream is to work in the United Nations to represent Indonesia and be the top-tier decision maker for the country for the greater good.

Investigating Tourists’ Motivation for Visiting National Park: Case of Komodo National Park, Indonesia

The aim of this study is to investigate primary motivations for tourists visiting national parks by examining tourist market segments and through the creation of respondent profiles on World Heritage information. The push and pull theory (Dann, 1977; Crompton, 1979) was operationalized in this research to address this question. Komodo National Park in Indonesia was chosen as the research site to investigate this topic. This research distributed questionnaires by interviewing tourists on-site. Out of 373 participants who were approached, 289 agreed to participate in the study.

Results indicate that the primary push and pull motivational factors for tourist at Komodo National Park was to learn and experiencing natural excitements and longing for interaction with unique wildlife and adoring the authenticity of the natural destination. This finding suggests that a destination’s authenticity and its scenic landscape are potential drivers to attract tourists to travel to a national park. Furthermore, unique wildlife has influenced tourists’ decision to choose a national park as their tourism destination. This study found three market segments; the ‘adventure seekers’, ‘passive tourists’, and the ‘want-it-all tourists’.

This study also examined the role of naming a 12 national park as a World Heritage Site, and how it influences a tourists’ motivations. Results showed that tourists were aware that Komodo National Park is a World Heritage Site (84.07%) but were not be able to acknowledge the World Heritage label.

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