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Sport motivation as driver for segmenting sport tourists in coastal regions

Kirstin Hallmann (Senior Lecturer and Researcher, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany)
Svenja Feiler (Lecturer and Researcher, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany)
Christoph Breuer (Professor, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 8 June 2012




The market for sport tourists is very diverse and motivations of sport tourists are manifold. This also applies to the field of water sport tourism, which has not yet intensely been analysed by researchers. In order to analyse motivations and to reach target groups such as water sport tourists adequately, market segmentation is necessary. The purpose of this paper is to investigate sport motivations of tourists during their holidays as well as the tourist's participation in water sport activities, using the example of the German North Sea island Sylt. Thereby, consumer profiles will be established.


A quantitative research paradigm was chosen. A survey was conducted using a standardised self‐administered questionnaire. The sample comprised n=263 participants. Two indices, one for sport motivation and one for travel motivation were constructed. Factor, as well as cluster, analysis was applied to segment the sample. Furthermore, discriminant analysis was used to identify differences between the two clusters. Finally, cross tabulations underlined the differences between the clusters.


Overall, 47.1 per cent of the sample takes part in water sports. The cluster analysis based on motivational factors revealed two groups, the casuals and the committed. Significant differences were detected between the groups with regard to sport and holiday consumption patterns and sport expenditures. However, there were no significant socio‐demographic differences between the clusters.

Practical implications

It is shown that segmentation of travellers is useful to reach the different target groups and offer unique products and services, depending on, e.g. age and sport preferences.


The results of this research indicate the diverse nature of water sport tourists and their underlying motivations. It is shown that holiday sport motivation depends on the actual sports practiced by the travellers, implying that prior sport motivation and involvement influence travellers' sport motivation. Overall, this research highlights the importance of segmenting sport tourists.



Hallmann, K., Feiler, S. and Breuer, C. (2012), "Sport motivation as driver for segmenting sport tourists in coastal regions", Tourism Review, Vol. 67 No. 2, pp. 4-12.



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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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