tourism experience's component


The tourism experience’s components As noted in the literature review, a tourism experience may be deconstructed in three phases: needs recognition, with the sub-components of meaning given to travel and motivation to travel; the experience itself; and the evaluation of the experience. Pre-existing scales were used to measures these constructs (Cavagnaro & Staffieri, 2015; Staffieri, 2016; Cavagnaro, Staffieri & Postma, in press). The scales measuring meaning and motivation contained several items that were reduced through PCA to their underlying constructs (Staffieri, 2016). The PCA identified five meanings associated with the travel, and three motivations for undertaking the travel that were labelled by looking at the common denominator of the subtending items (see Table 4). A contribution of this study is to have individuated five meanings and three motivations, thus more clearly distinguishing these two components of the travel experience that are often coalesced in the literature. The individuated meaning, moreover, not only confirms the suggestion that that millennials attribute to travel a self-enhancing and self-transcending meaning (Cavagnaro & Staffieri, 2015; WTO & WYSE, 2016), but also suggest the importance of health as a component and not as an outcome of the travel experience (Fermani, et al., in press). Looking at motivations, it is interesting to observe that the third motivation extracted by PCA connects the items on independency with the item about following a mode. To complete the set of independent variables, in Table 4, destination choice illustrates the experience phase, while satisfaction covers the evaluation phase. After completing the list of independent variables, it is now time to consider whether these have any influence on the perceived change. This is the aim of the next section.

Impact of sociodemographic variables and the travel experience on perceived change The dependent and independent variables have been presented above. This section illustrates the results of the logistic regression models testing the influence of demographic factors and the tourism experience on the perceived change. As explained above, the items measuring change as a benefit from travel have been reduced through a PCA to two dimensions of change: one related to cultural knowledge and openness to other cultures, and one related to introspection and personal change. The first dimension has been labelled “I and You change”; the second “I change”. To assess the influence on these two dimensions of change of sociodemographic variables and of the components of the travel experience, two logistics models were run. The models were tested using the Hosmer-Lemeshow (HL) test, especially suitable in the case of small sample sizes. 

If the HL test statistic is not significant, the model fit is acceptable (Hosmer & Lemeshow, 2000). The HL statistic test confirms the goodness of fit for all of the logistic regression models carried out. The sociodemographic variables (gender, age group, father’s and mother’s education levels) do not seem to have any influence on the two dimensions of change. For this reason these variables are not reported in Table 5 where the results of the logistic regressions are shown. Several components of the travel experience influence the type of change perceived. Four out of five meanings of travel influence change significantly. The meanings “knowledge” and “physical and mental well-being” increase the propensity of feeling changed in terms of cultural growth (“I and you” change). Personal, introspective change is influenced by the meanings “friend/romances, changing/growing” and “sociality”. However, while the first meaning increases the likelihood of “I change”, the second decreases it. Meaning three (“fun, relax”) is not conducive to change. Similarly, the travel motivation “fun, relax, and friend” is also not conducive to change. Respondents who travel in order to learn about different cultures and interact with other people (“knowledge”) are more likely to experience cultural growth. Moreover, the likelihood of being changed both in terms of personal and of cultural growth increases when the motivation to travel is “independency and vogue”.

 Commenting on these results in general terms, it can be noted that they confirm that motivation is a driver of change (Prebensen, Woo & Uysal, 2013). More specifically, the positive influence of the motivation and the meaning labelled “knowledge” on the “I and you” change may be explained with reference to the items constituting these constructs: all point towards the wish to know new cultures, explore new ways of life and deepen understanding of other cultures and people. This result therefore confirms literature suggesting that travelling offers to youngsters the opportunity to transcend themselves (Cavagnaro & Staffieri, 2015) and that cultural exchange and socialisation have the potential to make young people more open-minded (e.g. Gemini, 2008). It is more difficult to understand why the motivation “physical and mental well-being” positively influences this type of change. Tentatively,

 it could be argued that being engaged in a reflective process involving spiritual and bodily health sets a firm psychological foundation from which it is easier to open up to the other. Researchers have only recently started considering psychological health as an antecedent and not as a consequence of travelling (Fermani, et al., in press). A deeper exploration of linkages between psychological health, travel and change through travel is therefore needed to test this explanation. As noted above, the “I” change is positively influenced only by the meaning labelled “friends/romance” and the motivation “independency and vogue”. The items constituting these two dimensions of the tourism experience reflect the emotional component of travelling. This result supports Leed’s (1991) observation that the push towards the other and the push towards the self, interact as mirrors and reflections, and lead to personal growth. The meaning “sociality” decreases the eventuality of being changed. This may be explained because the items composing it (such as no tensions with fellow travellers) are linked to the process of travelling itself. A focus on the actual travel process may distract the traveller from the self-reflection needed to deepen personal values and perceive a change (Higgins-Desbiolles, 2006; Smed, 2009). A similar explanation can be used to clarify why the meaning and motivation connected to the hedonic component of travelling have no influence on change. Moreover, all travelling may be framed as a hedonic activity (Kim, Ritchie & McCormick, 2012) leading to the reflection that this generic characteristic is insufficient to motivate young travellers to change. Interestingly, the chosen destination influences the level to which the travel is conducive to change in terms of cultural growth. Young people who choose a destination outside Italy feel a change in their openness towards other cultures more acutely than those who chose Italian destinations. 

Contrary to literature that considers geographical distance insignificant due to the digital age (Wilson & Gerber, 2008; Ruspini, Gilli, Decataldo & Del Greco, 2013), for the Italian sample the geographical distance covered during a trip does indeed matter: destinations outside Italy lead to encounters with cultures that – being more acutely different from the local, Italian culture – favour the “I and you” change. Whether this is a peculiar characteristic of young Italian travellers may only be assessed in new research covering a sample form different regions. Finally, the perception of satisfaction positively affects change. Even though this is true only for cultural change, it confirms the role of satisfaction as influencer in the evaluation processes of the tourism experience (Prebensen, Woo & Uysal, 2013).

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form