Assessing Visitors' Satisfaction at Parks Canada Sites
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This study addresses the measurement of satisfaction. In doing so, it proposes a hypothetical conceptual framework for examining visitors’ satisfaction with their experiences in nature-based settings. Visitors’ overall satisfaction with their experiences was examined in terms of its relationships to visitors’ satisfaction with various site attributes, to visitors’ perceived importance of interpretive programs to learning, and how it is affected by visitors’ age, gender (male or female) and visitation pattern. The responses of 1309 Visitor Information Program (VIP) surveys returned by visitors to two national sites in Nova Scotia (Port Royal National Historic Site and Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site) provided the data for this study’s investigation. Secondary data analyses revealed that visitors’ satisfaction with the site attributes has the strongest effect on their overall satisfaction with their experiences. While visitors’ perceived importance to learning was also found to be positively correlated to overall experience satisfaction, when other variable are taken into consideration, its effect on overall satisfaction was found not to be statistically significant. Amongst these variables, gender was found to explain a significant amount of variance in visitors’ overall satisfaction with experiences in nature-based settings. Moreover, visitors of different age groups differ significantly in their perceptions of importance of interpretation to learning, and in their satisfaction levels. Although the findings show high levels of satisfaction at both sites, these are taken with caution. A discussion of the issues related to the measurement of satisfaction is provided, along with recommendations for a more discriminant, valid and reliable satisfaction measurement instrument.