Tourist , Heritage, Reason for Visits

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Links Between Tourists, Heritage, and Reasons for Visiting Heritage Sites Y. Poria Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. R. Butler D. Airey University of Surrey, UK.

Dr. Yaniv Poria* School of Management, Department of Hotel and Tourism Management Ben Gurion University of the Negev Beer Sheva, Israel Tel + 00 972 8 6472193 Fax + 00 972 8 6472920 Email yporia@bgumail.bgu.ac.il;

Professor Richard Butler School of Management Studies, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, England Tel + 0044 / 01483 / 689662 Fax + 0044/01483 / 686301 Email R.Butler@Surrey.ac.uk

Professor David Airey School of Management Studies, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, England Tel. + 0044 / 01483 / 689656 Fax + 0044 / 01483 / 686306 Email D.Airey@Surrey.ac.uk

*For correspondence please contact the first author

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Links Between Tourists, Heritage, and Reasons for Visiting Heritage Sites

ABSTRACT

This paper aims to clarify heritage tourism by identifying and segmenting reasons for visiting heritage sites. In doing so it highlights the point that the links between a site's attributes and the tourists themselves are essential to understanding tourists’ motivations to visit heritage places. The sample was composed of English speaking international tourists leaving Israel through Ben-Gurion airport, who were sampled quasi-randomly. The research was implemented by the use of structured questionnaires using face-to-face interviews. Responses were grouped using an interpretability approach to exploratory factor analysis, and the results indicate that the reasons for visiting can be classified into three. These groups have been labeled ‘heritage experience’, ‘learning experience’ and ‘recreational experience’, and are linked to the tourists’ perception of the site in relation to their own heritage and their willingness to be exposed to an emotional experience. The results lead to a better understanding of reasons for visiting heritage places, and provide further insight into heritage tourism in general. The findings are also relevant to the operational management of spaces presenting history-related artifacts as well as to the marketing of these sites.

Key words: heritage, heritage space, motivation.

3 INTRODUCTION: THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING TOURISTS' MOTIVATION

The general interest in the reasons why human beings are involved in certain activities has not passed tourism research by (Parrinello, 1993). Discovering why tourists do certain thing is relevant for (at least) two interrelated reasons: the management of tourism; academic investigation (Haukeland, 1992; Yuan & McDonald, 1990). A number of studies have established relationships between various aspects of behavior relevant to tourism management as well as its theoretical understanding, related to motivation for tourist’s activities. Examples of such behavior are the choice of destination and mode of travel (Pearce & Catabiano, 1983), expectations (Rekom, 1994) and information sources used (Kim et al., 1996). Other research, emphasizing marketing implications, points out the relationship between an individual’s motivation and their socio- demographic characteristics. Such information is helpful for various aspects of marketing such as advertising (Decrop, 1999; Hanqin, 1999).

Understanding motivations is also seen as an important aspect of the academic investigation of tourism. From the early days of tourism research, scholars have looked at the reasons for people being involved in tourist activities (Todd, 1999). Cohen (1974), for example, related reasons for traveling and the purpose of the trip, while trying to answer the question ‘who is a tourist?’. The relative importance of the concept of motivation for tourism research and management can also be illustrated by the fact that researchers, when attempting to provide a working definition for ‘tourist’ or ‘tourism’, commonly relate to the motives for the travel (Leiper, 1979).

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