Tourist Typologies and Travel Motivations

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Tourist Typologies and Travel Motivations

By | Jan. 2011
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It could be argued that the verb “to travel” encompasses many connotations as people around the world, from different backgrounds, socio-cultural, linguistic and professional, choose to travel to a particular destination for different reasons, influenced by a variety of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Throughout the years, many researchers in the field have sought a more academic answer to the question “Why do people travel?”

It is the aim of the present paper to critically examine different authors’ views on travel motivations and tourist typology models and discuss their practical applicability to the type of destination choice. The first part of the discussion focusing on leisure travel motivations will be based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Dann’s perspective on the factors that propel an individual’s desire to travel (push factors) and factors influencing the type of destination selected (pull factors), as well as Urry’s tourist gaze, and the latter half, in which tourist typologies will be analysed, will look at Cohen’s tourist categories, continuing with an analysis of Plog’s psychographic travel model followed by a brief examination of Gibson and Yiannakis’ investigation of the relationship between tourist role preferences and adult life-course.

Why the need to study tourist motivation? Prior to looking at the way in which tourist motivation has been approached by various researchers, Sharpley (1994 p.97) suggests it is essential to understand “the role of motivation within the overall consumer making process”. The study of motivation as a subject represents, according to Page and Connell (2006 p.63), an “integral part of the study of consumer behaviour in tourism.’’ The same two authors argue that a deep understanding of the decision-making process and what motivates tourists to travel is essential for both planning and economic considerations. Destinations require strategic planning and management in order to meet the changing needs of...

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