A+ A-

How to measure holiday memories - @UPresearch aids SA #tourism

A new tool developed at the University of Pretoria to measure memorable tourism experiences is helping tourist attractions around South Africa draw new visitors and improve the quality of their visit.

How do you measure the awe of seeing lions for the first time? Or put a value on the sense of rejuvenation and freedom you find when visiting new places?

While measuring these things may seem impossible, it is important to understand the intangible value of a tourist experience when building and running tourist attractions like The Cradle of Humankind or iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

With that in mind, the Tourism Management Division at the University of Pretoria (UP) set out to create a tool that could measure these subjective and intangible experiences. They built on the concept of a memorable tourism experience (MTE), recently developed by other researchers as a way to measure tangible and intangible tourist experiences.

“Understanding what makes up a memorable tourism experience is at the core of our study,” says Professor Berendien Lubbe, lead researcher for this study.

The researchers created a survey to gather data on how different intangible aspects like hedonism, novelty, refreshment and involvement combine to form a MTE, refined from a previously-developed MTE scale. At the same time, researchers created other surveys to measure gaps between tourist expectations and experiences in order to identify areas for improvement in tangible visitor experiences. They then took the surveys to five different tourist sites around South Africa to gather data.

This research, which was contracted by the National Department of Tourism (NDT), ultimately aims to provide guidance to the managers of various tourist attractions around South Africa to improve their offering, and ultimately attract more tourists.

Felicite Fairer-Wessels, one of the researchers involved with the project, says that the tool they developed is a success.


Researchers prepare to collect survey data at the Cradle of Humankind.

“Overall, the tool was validated; it is usable and the scale is reliable across all the sites,” she says. “This means that it can be used at any type of tourism attraction with minor modifications to address specific aspects of each site.”

The researchers say that they have already had some interest and requests from other tourist attractions around South Africa to use their tool, and they hope that the NDT will take it forward and apply it more broadly.

“Our main recommendation is that the tool should be a standardised instrument that can be used by managers of attractions and tourist sites to monitor performance over time,” says Lubbe. “It is now up to the NDT who invests in these sites to figure out how to do that most effectively.”

With the bounty of beautiful tourist attractions in South Africa, these findings will pave the way for better tourist experiences and a thriving tourism sector across the country.

Privacy Policy

The University is firmly committed to protecting the privacy of users of the website. No personal information about users of this website will be disclosed to a third party without the prior consent thereto by the user. (Personal information shall at all times be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (Act 4 of 2013).)

The University reserves the right to automatically collect information on users' usage of the website (for example, via cookies) in order to improve users' browsing and interaction with the University and for non-personal statistical purposes.

Changes to this privacy policy

The University reserves the right to change, amend, or update this privacy policy periodically.

Modifications to the website

The University reserves the right to modify, change, amend or discontinue the website (or any part thereof) temporarily or permanently, without prior notice.


The University may provide links to other websites or resources. This does not imply the University's endorsement of such sites. The University does not have any control over these websites and will, therefore, not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising from the utilisation of these websites by users.

The University does not prohibit third-party sites to link to publicly visible content on this website. However, it is expressly prohibited for any third party to frame any page on this website in any way whatsoever without the prior written approval of the University.

University of Pretoria proprietary rights

The copyright and other intellectual property rights (which include the University’s brand and logo), which are owned by or licensed to the University, existing in and attaching to this website, are the property of the University. These include but are not limited to text, content, design, layout, graphics, organisation, digital conversion and other information related to the website.

Users are granted a non-exclusive, non-transferable, revocable licence to:

  • access and use this website strictly in accordance with these terms;
  • use this website solely for personal, non-commercial purposes; and
  • download or print out or distribute content from the website, or any part thereof, solely for personal, non-commercial purposes, provided that all copyright and other intellectual property notices therein are unchanged.

Any reproduction of the content of this website, or a portion thereof, must include the following copyright notice: ©University of Pretoria. Users who wish to use the content from this website for commercial purposes may only do so with prior written permission from the University.


This website is for information purposes only. No representations or warranties are given by the University of Pretoria (hereafter referred to as the University) regarding the accuracy of the information this website contains, any material this website provides for or any part of this website. Any reliance by the user on any information this website contains, any material this website provides for or any part of this website, is at the user’s own risk and the University shall not be liable in any way whatsoever in respect of the user or any other person, directly or indirectly, arising from the utilisation of the information this website contains, any material this website provides for or any part of this website.

The user hereby agrees that in the event of any dispute arising from the utilisation of this website in any manner, form or substance whatsoever, the relevant South African law will apply and the appropriate courts of South Africa will have jurisdiction.

Terms & Conditions

By accessing this website, the user hereby agrees to the following:

The use of this website is at the user’s sole risk. This website is provided on an "as is" and "as available" basis. The University gives no warranty that (i) the information posted on this website will meet the user’s requirements; (ii) the information posted on this website will be uninterrupted, timely, secure, virus free or error free; and (iii) the information posted on this website will be accurate or reliable.

Any material downloaded from or otherwise obtained through this website is utilised at the user’s own risk, and the user will, therefore, be liable for any and all damages of any nature whatsoever arising from such utilisation of the website.

Limitation of liability

The user expressly understands and agrees that the University shall not be liable for any damages (subject to the provisions of Chapter 2 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2008 (Act 68 of 2008) (even if the University has been advised of the possibility of such damages) resulting from: (i) the use or the inability to use the website; (ii) the cost of procurement of substitute goods and services resulting from any data, information or services obtained or messages received or transactions entered into through the website; (iii) unauthorised access to or alteration of the user’s transmissions or data; (iv) statements or conduct of any third party on the website; or (v) any other matter relating to the website.