CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
The industry of tourism now requires more consequential involvement, and responsible and sustainable tourism practices. Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and local communities currently have a significant voice in the manner in which tourism industry is developed, and resources allocated. It is this more sustainable and responsible tourism that the authorities wish to promote and develop. Tourism offers entrepreneurial opportunities for operators and can promote balanced economic development. According to Heung and Qu (2000), tourism can also empower the youth and women, and influence other economic sectors such as Agriculture. In general, tourism is one of the primary sectors supporting the economy of many countries. This industry comprises of everything done by travelers on their trip. Some of the activities done by travelers include sleeping, attending conferencing, shopping and changing foreign currency among others. This implies that almost all the economic activities of anglers, farmers, shopkeepers, bartenders, tour guides, banks, hotels, customs and immigrations are a component of tourism. However, it is not automatic that tourism will cause economic development in a certain area. One of the major factors that influence the development of tourism industry is tourist satisfaction (Hui, Wan and Ho 2007). Like customers, tourists also need to be satisfied by what they consume in terms of services and goods. As a result, a region might provide beautiful sceneries, but without tourist satisfaction, no development can be realized. In this regard, this chapter examines some of the existing and previous literatures on measuring tourist satisfaction.
2.1 Tourist Destination and Tourist Satisfaction
Tourist satisfaction influences the choice of the decision and the decision to revisit the destination. According to Kozak and Rimmington (2000), a tourist destination is a combination of tourist products, public goods and services that are consumed under the same brand name. As such, tourist destination offers tourist, who are also consumers, an integrated experience. Instead of defining a tourist destination as geographical region like an island, country or a town, modern descriptions perceive destination as an combination of tourists’ space and products that provide a holistic experience (Heung and Qu 2000). The experience is subjectively analyzed based on the consumers travel itinerary, purpose of visit, cultural background and previous experience among others.
According to Meng, Tepanon and Uysal (2008), tourists perceive a destination as an entity that comprises of several stakeholder groups, including tourists, business entities operating in the tourism industry, host population, public sector, and non-governmental organizations’ representatives among others. The priorities and interests of these stakeholders do not usually match. In fact, they result in inter-group conflicts. Consequently, tourist destinations are viewed as some of the most problematic entities to market and manage. The responsibility of tourist destination management and marketing is frequently handed over to a central tourism body that serves on behalf of the various stakeholder groups. The central tourism organization, also called destination management organization (DMO), pursues various strategic objectives like maximizing the profitability of local enterprises, ensuring the long-term development of the local people, maximizing tourists’ satisfaction and optimizing the available resources via the sustainable development of the destination.
Tourist satisfaction is one of the critical elements in ensuring successful marketing of a tourist destination. As a result, Ramanava and Scholl (2012) cited that improving tourists’ satisfaction need to be one of the major functions of the destination management organization (DMO). Rittichainuwat, Qu and Mongknonvanit (2002) also pointed out that improving tourist satisfaction is a requirement for the development of a marketing strategy, which leads to the improved attractiveness of a destination and its competitive positioning. Nevertheless, according to Sadeh et al. (2012) and Wong and Law (2003), attaining tourist satisfaction relies more on the integration and collaboration of marketing by several suppliers.
Steering various supplier-stakeholders towards a shared goal of maximizing tourist satisfaction might be very logical at a theoretical level, though, according to Song and Cheung (2010), it is extremely difficult to attain it in practice. Kozak and Rimmington (2000) and Hui, Wan and Ho (2007) note that comprehending the antecedents and nature of satisfaction is primary, which implies that interpreting the satisfaction determinants in tourism industry is also paramount. These satisfaction determinants are the combination of the service industries. Various competitiveness models of tourist destination comprise of elements that form the basis of tourist satisfaction. These elements include perception, preferences and awareness among others. However, the competitive models might fail to integrate these elements in unified and coherent manner.
2.2 Factors influencing Tourist Satisfaction
Heung and Qu (2000) also agree that satisfaction is a primary factor in the successfulness of the tourism industry. It is extremely significant to clarify the dimensions affecting satisfaction of tourism. In addition, few studies have studied the consequences of tourists’ satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Like other sectors, Heung and Qu (2000) affirm that satisfaction emanates from various variables. According to Meng, Tepanon and Uysal (2008), satisfaction is a physiological outcome derived from exercise. As a result, tourist satisfaction often has many problems on both practical and conceptual grounds. This implies that these factors should be assessed and clarified. The outcome of such assessments can offer useful knowledge necessary for decision-making in the tourism industry. In this regard, this section attempts to identify the some of the factors influencing the satisfaction in tourist industry.
The first variable affecting tourists’ satisfaction is the destination image. According to Song and Cheung (2010) and Ramanava and Scholl (2012), destination image has often been confirmed to have a direct impact on the behavior of tourists, that is, tourist perceived value and expectation. Kozak and Rimmington (2000) defined destination image as the tourists’ mental representation of feelings, knowledge and general perception go a certain destination. Indeed, various dimensions associated with the behaviors of tourists, including perception of value and expectations, are influenced by the image, which they have from the destination. It is apparent that any pre-travel tourists’ expectation can be formed and influenced by the image of the destination. In addition, any assessment of tourists of the money paid and services they consume is viewed based on the image, which tourists have from the destination.
Meng, Tepanon and Uysal (2008) and Hui, Wan and Ho (2007) pointed out that tourist expectations influenced their satisfaction. In their marketing research, Rittichainuwat, Qu and Mongknonvanit (2002) affirmed that customer expectation is an effective factor in service sector, and tourism is not an exceptional. They also found out that performance of any service or product is normally expected by consumers. Tourists’ expectation can be formed according to the image, which they have from the destination before traveling. Various authors, including Sadeh et al. (2012), believe that the expectation of tourists directly have an impact on both satisfaction and the perceived value. The anticipation of the destination can provide the grounds on which tourists assess the money they paid and the services they received. On the other hand, Hui, Wan and Ho (2007) argued that the expectation of tourists directly influences the tourist’s feeling concerning services.
Perceived value also influences tourists’ satisfaction. According to Meng, Tepanon and Uysal (2008), perceived value is the assessment of the customer of the services based on the perception of what he or she has bought and how much he or she has paid. From consumer studies, it is evident that this perception directly affects the customers’ satisfaction. Like other customers, tourists’ satisfaction is also influenced by this perception. Various researches, including Song and Cheung (2010) and Rittichainuwat, Qu and Mongknonvanit (2002), strongly believe that when tourists perceive that the service quality provided to them us greater than the money they paid, satisfaction is experienced.
2.3 Approaches to Measuring Tourist Satisfaction
Satisfaction in tourism is frequently assessed through tourist offers (Sadeh et al. 2012). Researchers characteristically construct a pool of destination attributes and inquire respondents to assess them based on a satisfaction scale. The ‘satisfaction scale’ might range from ‘delighted’ to ‘terrible’ or from ‘fully satisfied’ to ‘not satisfied at ll.’ The assessments from the respondents are then evaluated independently, assigned or summated to dimensions in order to create a measuring tourist satisfaction. According to Sadeh et al. (2012), the major aim of assessing the satisfaction of tourism is to offer managerial guidance.
According to Ramanava and Scholl (2012), those models where attributes of destination are correlated or regressed to a variable assessing total satisfaction offer a more convincing managerial implication than models employing independent destination attributes.
Evaluation of tourists’ satisfaction through the uniqueness of tourism offer integrates various problems (Meng, Tepanon and Uysal 2008). The first problem is that tourists or consumers are incapable of assessing objectively the characteristics of product offering (Meng, Tepanon and Uysal 2008). In addition, they frequently add their own understanding. The second problem is that tourists usually do not sum up their assessment of every characteristic and do not provide equal weight to every characteristic, as presumed by the summated scale. Thirdly, when the evaluation of tourist is based on the attributes of a destination, the score relies on specific choice of attributes in the measurement instrument. According to Kozak and Rimmington (2000), changing the characteristics of the tourist offer necessarily affects the score of satisfaction. Additionally, because the characteristics of the tourist offer are not separated the satisfaction measurement, researchers are cannot analyze the effect of every particular antecedent on tourist satisfaction.
Therefore, according to Meng, Tepanon and Uysal (2008) and Heung and Qu (2000), tourist satisfaction needs to be assessed separately from the tourism offer’s elements. Sadly, researchers have chiefly neglected this principle. It was until recently that tourism researchers started designing and evaluating models in which the elements are independent from each other.
2.4 Tourist Characteristics
The characteristics of tourists are a significant factor when analyzing tourists’ satisfaction. As a result, demographic, socioeconomic, and behavioral indicators are commonly deployed in tourism studies to profile tourists by gender, age, marital status, occupations, ethnic background or education. According to Song and Cheung (2010), these indicators are simple to detect and deploy in marketing decisions.
In their study, Wong and Law (2003) identified a popular pattern of tourists. This research identified a tourist as an individual who: earns more money and spends the money while on vacation; spend time in an area while on vacation; is more educated than the general public; and is more likely to be a female than a male. This is certainly important with the aging of the baby-boom generation. Rittichainuwat, Qu and Mongknonvanit (2002) and Sadeh et al. (2012) analyzed the difference by gender, age, previous oversea travel and occupation in order to determine the travel and demographic characteristics. Their study determined if travel and demographic characteristics influenced the responses on the significance of satisfaction levels and attributes. Hui, Wan and Ho (2007) compared the various characteristics of tourists that visited South Wales. In this research, the experiences of tourists were significant attributes associated with the satisfaction with the destination. The study concluded that experiences were also important in motivating tourists to revisit.
Song and Cheung (2010) and Kozak and Rimmington (2000) explored demographic variables of tourists in their tourist study. They particularly investigated trip characteristics of individuals and past experience with a certain destination. They measured the tourists’ past experience by inquiring the respondent to show the number of trips they have taken to a certain destination. The study assessed the association between place attachment and experience. They concluded that the two variables were influenced by satisfaction derived from visiting a certain region.
Wong and Law (2003) investigated the existence of types of tourists. The study also explored whether the types of tourists differ based on socio-demographic characteristics. According to this study, tourists who were interested in visiting cultural or heritage sites seem to stay longer, are more highly educated, spend more per trip, and have higher annual income than other general tourists. The study concluded that the types of tourists differ.
2.5 The Link between Destination Attributes and Tourists’ Satisfaction
It is necessary to explore the association between tourists’ satisfaction and destination attributes from the perspective of tourists in order to gain an insight to the comprehension of the attitudes and behaviors of tourists after visiting a destination. According to Kozak and Rimmington (2000), tourists express satisfaction after buying tourism services and products. Tourists who are satisfied with the products are likely to buy them again. In addition, they might also recommend the service or product to their friends.
Kozak and Rimmington (2000) explored the characteristics of tourists visiting Oxford, their effects and the management responses. According to this exploration, about 80 per cent of tourists were satisfied. Over 80 per cent of the tourists affirmed that they would revisit. According to Kozak and Rimmington (2000), the tourists certainly enjoyed the architecture that along with the university traditions creates an attractive atmosphere and physical environment. Most of the tourists also liked the shopping facilities. A significant number of tourists also regarded the local community as friendly. Nevertheless, issues such as traffic, crowds and availability of restrooms caused dissatisfaction among certain tourists. Song and Cheung (2010) also reported a case study of the tourists’ characteristics who visited a special event in South Wales. By contrasting the visitors’ characteristics on non-even and event days, it was clear that the events had a certain appeal to tourists. The case study reported that the events were successful in fostering repeat visits. Most of the tourists were satisfied with the destination. This satisfaction causes tourists to increase their length of stay and revisit.
This chapter has discussed past and existing literatures on tourists’ satisfaction. From these literatures, it is evident that none of them has addressed the satisfaction among international tourist students. As a result, the study will provide an insight to this research area that has been neglected by both the past and existing studies. The industry of tourism now requires more consequential involvement, and responsible and sustainable tourism practices. . It is this more sustainable and responsible tourism that the authorities wish to promote and develop. Tourism offers entrepreneurial opportunities for operators and can promote balanced economic development. Tourist satisfaction influences the choice of the decision and the decision to revisit the destination. A tourist destination is a combination of tourist products, public goods and services that are consumed under the same brand name. Tourists perceive a destination as an entity that comprises of several stakeholder groups, including tourists, business entities operating in the tourism industry, host population, public sector, and non-governmental organizations’ representatives among others. The characteristics of tourists are a significant factor when analyzing tourists’ satisfaction. As a result, demographic, socioeconomic, and behavioral indicators are commonly deployed in tourism studies to profile tourists by gender, age, marital status, occupations, ethnic background or education.
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