Tourist Motivation

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Tourist motivation is the reason why a tourist will make the decision to choose one destination over another and the attributes that governs that behavior. This is important to the tourist professional for a number of reasons. The tourist professional must have an understanding of what drives the tourist to initiate the vacation and then match a destination that fits with the tourist’s travel motives. A good fit may ensure that the guest will enjoy the vacation and either come back year after year or book another trip with that professional. The tourist professional also needs to have information about tourist motivation in order to market specific destinations and design appropriate tourist packages.

In this paper I will interview a person who traveled on an international vacation and find out why they chose that destination. Using two journal articles and notes from class, I will explain the push pull theory and why it fits best with this person’s motivations for travel. I will also explore some downsides of the theory.

I spoke to my mother and asked her when she last took an international vacation. She told me that she went to Ecuador to travel with and visit my brother 2 years ago. I asked her what her main motivation for traveling to that destination was. She told me that since my brother was living there she wanted to explore and learn new things together with him. She also told me that she wanted to experience an unfamiliar culture and meet new people. She was looking for excitement in a foreign country where English was not the main language. The push pull theory fits best with my mother’s travel motivations since her initial decision to travel was motivated by her desire to travel with my brother. The family and relationship building was the “push” that established her motivation for traveling to Ecuador. She might not have considered this country if my brother did not live there. She was also motivated by the excitement of being in a different culture and the possibilities of meeting new people. The “pull” was the actual choice of Ecuador which satisfied my mother’s need to be with her son (push) and explore new and exciting places (pull). If my brother lived in an area where English was the spoken language and whose culture was very similar to her own, my mother might not have chosen to travel with him at that time. The pull of a different culture and the novelty it held was a motivating factor. Financial resources are another factor that plays into the ability of the traveler to choose a specific destination. This is not addressed in the push pull theory but it was a consideration for my mother when she traveled to Ecuador. She was able to afford the trip because she stayed with a family in the city and Ecuador was not an expensive country for travel. I would suggest that affordability can also be a motivating factor in the destination decision. I believe this omission is a downside to the push pull theoretical model. The push pull theory states that the push motives are the social psychological motivators that determine the need for a person to travel. These are the internal factors. The pull motives define the characteristics of the actual destination itself. The push motives include escape, social interaction, enhancement of family relationships, prestige, regression and self evaluation. The pull motives include the cultural, novelty and educational pieces of the destination (Crompton 1979). The traveler may want to get away from his/her home and escape a boring environment; he/she may want to relax by not doing anything and lying on a beach or by trying new things; he/she may want to learn more about himself/herself by being in a different environment, going to lectures and museums and exploring new possibilities or self reflecting in a quiet secluded environment. Crompton (1979) points out that many times professionals view these motivators separately and do not see them...
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