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According to the analysis of the community based tourism (CBT) situation in Thailand, one of the weak points that was identified was the lack of tourist behavior understanding, including travel motivations. This led to development of research questions that seek to know what factors motivate the tourists’ decision making on their visits to CBT communities and also whether there are differences in tourists’ motivations among these study areas. Seven study sites were selected from a synthesis of CBT researches showing the knowledge gaps in communities that operate tourism in the areas adjacent to the national parks. The purposes of this study were: 1) to explore the components of travel motivations among tourists visiting CBT communities adjacent to national parks in the southern region of Thailand, and 2) to compare the travel motivations among the study areas. A four-level rating scale questionnaire was considered as a research instrument for collecting data from a sample size of 980 Thai and foreign tourists. The findings revealed that 1) eight distinct factors explaining 59.97% of the variance emerged from the factor analysis of the 37 motivational items extracted by principal component analysis and rotated by the varimax method. These factors were labeled: (1) physical skill development and self-esteem reinforcement, (2) nature exploration, (3) rest and tranquility, (4) security and comfort, (5) introspection and independence, (6) escape role overloads and crowds, (7) cultural learning and activity variousness, and (8) family togetherness and similar values sharing. 2) Travel motivations among the study areas were significantly different at the level of .05 in five components.
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