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Title: Discrete choice models for tourism destination choice : integrating the role of past travel experience
Authors: Qiu, Tianran
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2019
Abstract: Tourist destination is one essential component in analyzing tourism-related activities. The complexity underlying the tourist destination choice has prompted abundant research from various academic disciplines. Over the decades, many researchers dedicated to the investigation of the factors that influence the tourist destination choice process. By the integration of the typical travel experience of tourists into a model for destination choice of long-haul leisure tourists, this thesis analyzes the preference of tourists towards various aspects of a tourist destination. The concept of "typical travel experience" is defined to represent the ideal pattern of a tourist enjoying the long-haul leisure trip and adopted as the reference that a tourist would refer to while choosing tourist destinations. The conceptualization of "typical" refines the characterization of the past travel experience of the tourists in the sense that it extracts the aspects of destination that tourists enjoy and eliminates the aspects of destination that tourists dislike. Therefore, the "typical travel experience" provides better understanding on the preference of the tourists towards various aspects of a tourist destination. The results of the current thesis consolidate the concept of reference-dependent behavior in the context of tourist destination choice. A new reference-related behavioral bias, namely reference-level bias, is introduced in capturing an inertia of tourists for the quality level of destination attributes they have experienced in their past travels. In addition, distinguished from the existing destination choice literature, where the studies on reference-related behavior are largely limited to the investigation of price and travel time, the current thesis extends the research to a wider variety of destination attributes. This extension further enhances the conceptualization of the two reference-related behavioral biases.
Theoretically, the research findings of the current thesis suggest a significant role of behavioral biases in the process of tourist destination choice. The long-haul leisure tourists are found to exhibit significant loss aversion as well as an inertia for the reference-level. The observation of both behavioral biases put an emphasis on the role of (past) typical travel experience in the destination choice process of tourists. Not only the travel history of tourists reveal their preference towards tourist destinations, but also the places that the tourists has been to shape their tastes. It is also acknowledged that, the preference of tourists between new and previously visited destinations varies in terms of the destination attributes. Some tourists look back to their travel experience and search for the things they like, while others deliberately avoid the lands they have stepped on. The literature of tourist heterogeneity is further enriched by the findings of the current thesis. While the tourists attach different preference weights on various destination attributes, they also exhibit heterogeneous behavioral biases. For example, younger and sensation seeking tourists are more likely to reveal lower degree of loss aversion, whereas the tourists who have more stable travel patterns would be more biased towards reference-levels. The research findings also provide significant implications in managerial perspective. The importance of the way that a destination product is described and the value of the establishment of a unique branding are discussed. The individual-specific preference is also analyzed according to the individual characteristics so that tailor-made promotion strategies could be developed by practitioners.
Subjects: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Tourists -- Psychology
Consumer behavior
Pages: xi, 173 pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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