The purposes of this dissertation are to demonstrate how the motivational theories in travel and tourism can be used as a foundation for research into ceasing participation in organized leisure activities, and to discuss methodological implications that emerge from such an approach. The research problem is the identification of three motivational factors that mostly influence the choice of leisure activity in the Lebanese tourism sector. The dissertation will rely heavily on literature review and primary research that used university students and a focus group of industry professionals in Lebanon.

The theoretical background of this study is structured according to Iso-Ahola’s motivational theory. Iso-Ahola’s theory asserts that personal escape, personal seeking, interpersonal escape, and interpersonal seeking motivate tourism and recreation. This dissertation operationalizes and empirically tests Iso-Ahola’s theory for similar tourism and recreation experiences. The motivation dimensions are monitored using scenario-based data for sporting events, beaches, amusement parks, and natural parks. The first investigation used confirmatory factor analysis to explore the efficacy of six competing motivational structures.

Three of these competing models achieved superior and similar fit statistics, with one model incorporating the most parsimonious structure. This model gave equal and direct salience to each of the four motivations. The second investigation examined the differences in motivation levels for tourism and recreation experiences. Tourism experiences exhibited higher levels of motivation, particularly for the personal seeking and personal escape dimensions. The third investigation found no relationship between the number of recent domestic and international vacations and tourism motivations among the subjects.

Chapter I Introduction

This dissertation seeks to explore the rationale for, and difficulties of operationalizing, the measurement of tourists’ satisfaction with their experiences in particular destinations. It suggests that the on-going systematic measurement of satisfaction with destinations is a valuable exercise that will have tangible benefits, but acknowledges the difficulties of doing this in a meaningful manner. The principal argument presented is that the measurement of tourists’ satisfaction with a particular destination involves more than simply measuring the level of satisfaction with the services delivered by individual enterprises. There needs to be a much broader, more encompassing means of measuring satisfaction, one that relates closely to the motivations which tourists have for visiting the destination in the first place.

The tourism industry consists of a number of different sectors including the travel, hospitality and visitor services sector. Within each of these sectors there are a number of individual enterprises that provide a range of services to people who are traveling away from their home environment. This travel could be for a variety of reasons including for pleasure, to visit friends and relatives, to work on a short term basis, to attend conferences, to participate in business activities, or any of a number of specific reasons.

While the industry distinguishes between the various groups according to their purpose for travel, convention has it that all these short-term travelers are defined as ‘tourists” Likewise, the industry distinguishes between various ‘markets’ according to their place of origin (international, domestic, intra-state, interstate, etc). These distinctions are not relevant to this paper which is concerned with all these forms of tourism.

Tourists visit destinations and engage in various activities while there. These destinations can be classified in various ways and at various scales of analysis. For example, Lebanon could be regarded as a destination for international visitors while Beirut could be one for people from northern Lebanon. At a different scale, a city or even a region could be regarded as a destination. This paper is concerned with all these levels. It is not concerned with individual enterprises which exist within certain destinations. As noted below, there appears to be adequate analysis of tourism satisfaction at the individual enterprise level.

What is missing is a broader view that looks at the way tourists respond to the totality of their experiences in a particular destination irrespective of the particular activities that they engage in. I am going to provide an explanation of the Lebanese tourism economy because this market is the model that this dissertation uses as the benchmark for testing Iso-Ahola’s motivational theory. I have chosen this country due to its reputation of being the jewel of the Middle East and one of the most desired destinations in the region. The understanding of the characteristics of this market will play a critical role in laying the foundations for the research and would allow to increase the integrity and reliability of this research.

Moreover, the market is highly concentrated and the geographic area is small; this aspect would play a paramount role in diminishing sources of error; and in case of their occurrence it would be easier to isolate and rectify. In addition, being my home country; I view studying this market as a personal passion which would allow me to present with a high “motivational” level. I will start by providing a review of the state of Lebanese tourism and highlight the trends, review precious research findings, and pinpoint the market characteristics.

Tourism in the Lebanese Economy

Over the last decade the tourism industry has emerged as a significant sector of the Lebanese economy generating approximately $5 billion in income, employing 1 in 9 Lebanese and contributing about $1.5 billion in export earnings.

While approximately 55% of tourism activity involves domestic travel, the fastest growing sector is in-bound travel. This has been increasing significantly over the last decade with Lebanon receiving 1.1 million visits in 2004. Despite the recent downturn in the economies of major source countries, and the unstable political landscape visitor arrivals to Lebanon are expected to grow at an average annual rate of between 5.7 and 7.8 per cent to reach between 1.4 and 1.7 million visitors in 2010.

Being a relatively new industry characterized by growth, the focus has been on marketing, visitor numbers, and length of stay, expenditure patterns and other measures of consumption. As the industry has begun to mature in the last five or so years; there has been an increasing interest in such things as quality of service, accreditation procedures, and measurement of client satisfaction. The issues discussed in this paper should be seen as part of this maturation process in which the industry is looking to achieve long-term sustainable growth that generates benefits for the industry, the clients and the community as a whole.

Methodology of Research

Collecting data in marketing research often involves several different strategies, such as interviewing and analyzing documents (Merriam, 1998). Using multiple sources of information is useful in our research since we have doubts that a single source of information will provide a complete and comprehensive understanding of the research problem, so in our research we use multiple sources of information. Basically, there are two forms of data: primary and secondary data. While writing the dissertation, I will use several different sources when collecting data in order to increase the validity of the collected data.

Secondary data is the data that has been previously collected and published. The secondary data used in the beginning of our research, originated from various sources. In the preparatory period, we have started by studying literature related to relationship tourism marketing, tourism buying and motivational behavior and motivational marketing concepts in order to get deeper insight into and understanding of the researched area.

The other sources used for collection of our secondary data were: newspaper and magazine articles, course materials, on-line sources (Internet databases) and tourism companies’ materials (internal and external).

The methodology used for primary research will be depicted at greater length in the third chapter.

Current Measurement of Tourist’s Satisfaction Levels

Despite the large body of literature available on satisfaction research in general, only a few academic studies have focused directly on customer satisfaction amongst tourists. Of these, an even more limited number have been undertaken in Lebanon. The major studies include Fick and Ritchie (1991), Reisinger and Waryszak (1994), Arnold and Price (1993), Crompton and Love (1995), Geva and Goldman (1991), Maddox (1985) and Ryan (1995). Because of the limited material available in the academic literature, a preliminary survey of organizations that may have investigated tourist satisfaction was undertaken.

Given the broad focus of the paper and the limited space, no attempt was made to look at individual tourism enterprises measuring the satisfaction level of clients as part of their on-going quality assurance program. The most common example of this is the questionnaire that is left in individual hotel rooms. These vary from single response questions to sophisticated instruments designed to elicit quite detailed responses from guests.

Most of these are diagnostic in the sense that they are aimed at identifying specific measures that can be taken to improve the service. Some specifically enquire about customer’s perceptions of the service’s value for money. In some instances, particularly amongst 5 star hotel chains, these are used for benchmarking or as performance indicators.

Because of this decision to exclude individual enterprises, the preliminary survey focused on the following organizations:

  • Academic departments of Lebanese universities
  • State tourist offices
  • Non-government tourist industry organizations and associations

The search found a range of studies has been completed most of which are primarily data-gathering research exercises rather than conceptual studies. The prime studies are described in appendix I.

It is clear that some work has been done in this area by a smattering of agencies each of which approaches it from a quite different perspective. Despite acknowledgement of the potential value of the data, current efforts are not coordinated resulting in a lack of comparability that makes it impossible to identify trends and monitor changes in a systematic fashion. More importantly, the diversity of approaches demonstrates a need for substantial conceptual work on the nature of tourist satisfaction in general and the measurement of tourist satisfaction with destinations in particular. What is required is further exploration into the application of concepts and ideas drawn from the broader consumer literature to the specific challenge of measuring the satisfaction of tourists with particular destinations. This may require a quite different approach to that adopted for other services.

Why measure satisfaction at the level of the destination?

There are a number of reasons why it would be appropriate to look at extending the measurement of tourist satisfaction to the more global level of the tourist destination. It is critical to understand the underlying motivational factors in order to be able to get a clearer barometer for the measurement of satisfaction of tourists. Without pre-empting the nature of this measurement, these reasons include:

  • Millions of dollars are spent each year on destination marketing by national and state tourism offices, airlines and regional tourism bodies. This includes detailed surveys of potential markets as well as extensive advertising and promotional campaigns in source countries. While there is considerable research into the impact of the promotional effort through awareness studies, tracking studies, etc, these all concentrate on the inputs (i.e. has the campaign reached its target audience?). What is missing is an understanding of the client’s reaction to the product offering, in particularly whether it meets the needs of the target market. This would become an integral part of the understanding what the market(s) is/are seeking.
  • Peak organizations in the tourism industry recognize the need to encourage both new and repeat business. The latter can best be achieved by ensuring that our current offerings are satisfying the needs, expectations and desires of current tourists and their propensity to recommend the destination to others.
  • The measure could become a barometer of the ‘health’ of the industry for strategic planning purposes.
  • The tourism industry itself is grappling with the issue of service quality and recognizes that this is the key to long term success. At present its focus is on establishing accreditation mechanisms to ensure that individual firms conform to appropriate standards. Monitoring tourists’ satisfaction at the more global level would provide a valuable framework for this and enable comparison between the efforts of the individual enterprise and those of the industry as a whole.
  • Government agencies are now recognizing the value of assessing the success of their programs in terms of outcomes rather than inputs. As Lebanese government agencies move in this direction the need for the systematic collection of the type of data proposed will increase. In the case of tourism, this is particularly relevant to national, state and regional tourism development bodies responsible for destination marketing. Using the level of satisfaction experienced by visitors to their destination as a measure of success would transfer the focus away from the efforts of the organization towards their achievements.
  • Governments of all persuasions are looking critically at their financial commitments and questioning whether they should continue the traditionally high level of support. If the industry can demonstrate a relationship between the level of support and the satisfaction of visitors to their destination then the argument for continued support would be strengthened greatly. This would complement other measures such as visitor numbers, expenditure, etc.
  • With an appropriate measurement instrument it could be possible for individual sectors of the industry to be compared with other sectors. In an industry where the success of the whole depends on the contribution of each part, this information will help to identify those sectors that need to improve.
  • Recent developments in consumer protection have extended into the area of satisfaction. The 1993 European Union Directive on Travel has required member states to implement laws giving tourists the right to obtain compensation from packaged tour operators in the event that they are ‘dissatisfied’ with their holiday. This applies in all destinations, including Lebanon. The results of the proposed survey will help to focus the attention of the industry on this issue and provide data on how the industry is going and what needs to be improved.
  • Perspectives on Measuring Tourists’ Satisfaction with a Destination

Measuring tourists’ satisfaction with a destination is conceptually different from measuring satisfaction at the transaction specific level. Moreover, it is contended that while satisfaction at the destination level is influenced by the various transactions that occur at that destination, an individual’s level of satisfaction is influenced by much broader, global factors, some of which are beyond the capacity of the tourism industry to affect. The purpose of this section is to outline some ideas that should be taken into account when developing a method to measure satisfaction at this relatively abstract level.

Johnson, Anderson et al., (1995) have distinguished between two different general conceptualizations of satisfaction: transaction-specific satisfaction and cumulative satisfaction. The former is concerned with “satisfaction as an individual, transaction-specific measure or evaluation of a particular product or service experience” (Johnson, Anderson et al. 1995).

Cumulative satisfaction, on the other hand, is “a cumulative, abstract construct that describes customer’s total consumption experience with a product or service” (Johnson, Anderson et al., 1995). As a customer’s overall evaluation of the purchase or consumption experience, cumulative satisfaction is the most relevant conceptualization when the focus is on the tourist’s evaluation of their overall experience at a destination. This is sometimes referred to as market-level satisfaction.

The literature suggests that satisfaction measurement must be treated differently at these two levels of abstraction. Moreover, when considering consumer satisfaction with their consumption experiences, a major distinction has been made between the consumption of goods and services (Lovelock, 1991).

Measures of satisfaction are not the same for these different consumption experiences, largely because of the role of the consumer in the service encounter. It could also be argued that tourism is a ‘special’ service in that, like recreation or education, it is largely self-produced (Williams, 1988). The individual plays a central role in determining the experiences achieved and the benefits derived.

The ‘special’ nature of tourism can be understood by adopting the behavioral perspective first developed within the recreation and leisure literature. This literature demonstrates the value of perceiving recreation as activity that creates experiences which, in turn, result in benefits for the individual (Driver and Tocher, 1970; Mannel and Iso-Ahola, 1987). This created a focus on the factors which determine the quality of those experiences and the benefits derived. Measurement of satisfaction has therefore involved an assessment of whether the experiences have resulted in the desired benefits sought by the individual. In his seminal paper (Wagar 1966) suggested that the quality of recreation experience depends upon how well desired outcomes are realized.

Satisfaction is therefore more a function of the needs and interests of the individual than the attributes and characteristics of the service provided. These ideas have gradually become the basis of the conceptualization of the tourist experience and informed much of the work about tourist motivations and expectations (Crompton and Love, 1995; Ryan, 1995). Therefore tourist experiences can be regarded as the result of an active endeavor by the individual to create a situation in which to achieve satisfaction. It is this active involvement of the individual in the creation of his or her personal experiences that needs to be acknowledged.

In a similar vein, the early recreation literature also recognized the implications of this approach for the assessment of recreation service quality. It was recognized that “the quality of the experiences can be influenced by input factors provided by managers . . . but to a considerable extent the quality of experiences depends upon choices made by recreationists and how they use the many factors of production” (Brown, 1988: 413). In other words, the satisfaction levels experienced by recreationists are recognized as being a function of a number of different variables including those brought by the recreationist him/herself which are beyond the influence of the service provider.

Drawing on the consumer literature, it is too easy to assume that the outcomes of the tourist activity are solely the creation of the tourist operators/industry. However, it is perhaps more enlightening to adopt a ‘transactional perspective’ outlined in the recreation literature. Here, the tourist “actively creates the recreation(tourist) experience, through a transaction with the physical and social setting, including what the recreationist (tourist) brings to the process in terms of history, perceptions, companions, skills, equipment, identities, hopes and dreams” (Williams, 1988). With this perspective, more emphasis is placed on the behavior of the individual and their role in creating the experience. Not all the responsibility for creating high levels of satisfaction rests with the service deliverer.

With this in mind, (Crompton and Love, 1995) make a distinction between quality of opportunity and quality of experience.

“Quality of opportunity is defined as qualities of the attributes of a service that are under the control of a supplier. Evaluation is concerned with judgments about the performance of the leisure opportunity supplier. . . . In contrast, quality of experience involves not only the attributes provided by a supplier, but also attributes brought to the opportunity by the visitor or recreationist. . Quality of experience is a psychological outcome or emotional response. . Satisfaction is measured by how well leisure activities are perceived to fulfill the basic needs and motives that stimulated the idea to participate in the activity (Crompton and Love, 1995:12)”.

When the objective is to measure satisfaction with a holiday in a particular destination, it will be important to note this distinction and ensure that both aspects are included in the assessment. We have been reasonably good at assessing tourists’ perceptions of the quality of opportunity but largely ignored the question of quality of experience.

A further perspective that could be of relevance here is that of Herzberg (1966). While his work mainly focused on the workplace, his theory of motivation has relevance to the expenditure of discretionary time such as going on a holiday. Herzberg (1966) suggests that all aspects of an experience can be classified as either a motivational or a hygienic factor. Motivational factors are those that positively encourage people to do something. For example, a desire to make new friends may motivate people to go on an organized tour rather than travel alone. On the other hand, hygienic factors are those things which would not encourage one to travel, but their absence would discourage such travel.

A good example is the availability of clean drinking water. Having this available is unlikely to motivate someone to travel, while its absence could cause someone to not choose a particular destination. According to Roger James & Associates (1996) “the absence of motivational factors does not lead to ‘dissatisfaction’ but rather to ‘unsatisfaction’ a sense of emptiness rather than a sense of anger or disappointment. On the other hand, the absence of a hygienic factor will lead to dissatisfaction. The presence of such a factor will not lead to ‘satisfaction’ but rather to ‘satisficing’, that is, a passive (albeit benign) feeling” (Roger James & Associates, 1996 : 34).

If we adopt this framework it could be suggested that we have tended to focus on the hygienic factors which are represented by the measurement of how well the services (hotels, airports, travel companies, etc) are provided. These are important because without these being done well, the customer would be very dissatisfied. However, we have not also measured the motivational factors. These are akin to the experience factors - how well the destination facilitates the satisfaction of personal needs. The best way of ensuring that we are providing this is to understand the client’s needs, etc and to develop product that is relevant to these. In turn, this is linked to the benefits to be derived from the experience thus creating satisfaction.

The work by Arnold and Price (1993) confirms the role that needs and desires play in the consumer’s evaluation of a particular experience. They present very clear evidence that the satisfaction of participants in this recreational (or possibly tourist?) activity is related to the extent to which the experience enhances their individual cultural script and are “interpreted within the broader narrative context of the consumer’s life” (Arnould and Price, 1993). They suggest that “satisfaction with river rafting . . . does not seem to be embodied in attributes of the experience such as amounts of time spent freezing in wet clothes, uncomfortable toilet facilities, bad food or any summary index of specific attributes of the trip” (Arnould and Price, 1993).

These general thoughts appear to be in line with the fundamentals of the marketing concept most commonly described as “satisfying the needs and desires of the consumer” (Keith, 1960 :38) and the whole notion of benefit segmentation which suggests that purchases are selected on the basis of the benefits derived by consumers (Haley, 1968). It is also consistent with the recent work of Spreng and his associates which emphasizes the role that desires, as opposed to expectations, plays in determining satisfaction within the disconfirmation framework (Spreng, Mackenzie et al., 1996).

Proposed Path

Space does not permit an exhaustive examination of the extensive literature outlining the various models used as the basis for measuring customer satisfaction and gauging the behavioral aspects (see Parasuraman, Zeithaml et al., 1994). However, a review of this literature has uncovered a model that could be developed to provide a satisfactory method of evaluating tourists’ satisfaction at the level of the destination and their motivational map. This model has been developed by Iso-Ahola and has become the basis of extensive work at the national and international level.

The index provided by the Iso-Ahola model provides a cumulative evaluation of a sector’s market offering coupled with individual evaluation of a specific transaction. Called the ‘Customer Satisfaction Index/Barometer’, it has been introduced in: Sweden, Germany and the United States of America (Fornell, Johnson et al, 1996). Taiwan and New Zealand are also in the process of introducing a similar national satisfaction indicator. While much work still needs to be done, the framework provided by Iso-Ahola model provides a good starting point. It should be possible to make the necessary changes required to produce a useful index that will contribute to the on-going development of this important industry.

Chapter II

Literature Review

It is imperative to start with a review of literature that addressed motivation in the travel and tourism industry. By adopting this approach we will be able to present a much more comprehensive and inclusive approach to understanding the theories of motivation in the travel and tourism industry; and thus, we will be able to lay the foundations of clear parameters that can help scholars and decision makers measure the satisfaction of tourists and the underlying motivational factors. This part of the paper is dedicated to reviewing the literature that currently assesses the main theories of motivation. These theories span across a wide spectrum; therefore we will tackle the various theories of travel motivation in the first part and then we will focus our discussions on Iso-Ahola’s motivational theory.

The main theories of travel motivation

Knowledge of people's travel motivations and its association with destination selection plays a critical role in predicting future travel patterns. The essay talks about the various theories propounded by the theorists and analyses their practical benefits for the tourism industry.

Tourist motivation can be defined "as the global integrating network of biological and cultural forces which gives value and direction to travel choices, behavior and experience". (Pearce, Morrison & Rutledge, 1998) as cited by Allan R. Rhodes Espinoza. According to Seaton (1997) motivation is a state of arousal of a drive or need which impels people to activity in pursuit of goals. Once the goals have been achieved the need subsides and the individual returns to the equilibrium-but only briefly because new motives arise as the last one is satisfied.

Krippendorf (1987), as cited in Seaton (1997) suggests that the motivation of the individual person to travel, to look outside for what he cannot find inside have been largely created by society and shaped by everyday life. People who live in cities, for example, are motivated to travel as tourists to wilderness areas because they need to escape from an artificial, monotonous environment. (Dann & Matley, 1976) as cited in Mansfeld 1992). Gray's travel-motivation theory, as noted by Mansfeld (1992), gives us two motives about why people go to natural settings. The first motive is the desire to go from a known to an unknown place, called in Gray's theory wanderlust'.

Secondly, a place "which can provide the traveler with specific facilities that do not exist in his or her own place of residence", referred in Gray's theory as sun lust' (Mansfeld, 1992). It is a common practice to consider traveler or tourist types as potential market segments for travel and tourism marketing (Smith, 1989 as cited in Theobald, 1996).Some of the motives which determine their travel choices are recreation, pleasure, new experiences, cultural interest, shopping.

Any reader of literature of tourism motivation cannot help being struck by the similarity in findings by many researchers. The adjectives and categorizations of tourists based upon motivations may differ in number, but recurrent themes emerge. For example the need to escape from everyday surroundings for the purpose of relaxation, and discovering new things, places and people are often alluded to.

According to Crompton (1979), as cited in Bello & Etzel (1985), the need for relaxation, exploration, social interaction and enhancement of kinship relationships act as dominant push motives in the vacation decision. Reversely, pull motives are aroused by the destination and include factors like scenic attractions, historical sites. Push factors are thought to establish the desire for travel and pull factors are thought to explain actual destination choice. Seaton (1997) suggests that the push factors include avoidance of work, cultural/social pressures at home. The pull factors include seeking leisure /play, freedom and escape.

Maslow (1943) identified two motivational types: tension-reducing motives; arousal-seeking motives. According to Maslow, there are five needs forming a hierarchy, progressing from the lower to the higher needs. Maslow argued that if the lower needs [physiological {hunger, thirst, rest}, safety {security}, belonging and love {affection, giving and receiving love}] are fulfilled the individual would be motivated by needs of the next level of the hierarchy [esteem {self-esteem and esteem for others}, self-actualization {personal self-fulfillment}].

Cooper et al(2005) criticizes Maslow's theory saying that why and how Maslow selected the basic five needs remain unclear, although Page(2003) feels that it has relevance in understanding how human action is understandable and predictable compared to research which argues that human behavior is essentially irrational and unpredictable. Cooper et al (2005) also questions the arrangement of the needs. Though Cooper et al (2005) criticizes much about Maslow's theory, he feels that tourism industry has borrowed a lot from Maslow because he provides a convenient set of containers that can be relatively labeled.

Hudman (1980) as cited in Davidson and Maitland (1997) argue that Maslow's (1943) hierarchy of needs provides a useful framework for understanding psychological motivational factors in tourism. Thus, for example, although the apparent purpose of a trip may be to visit friends and relatives, the underlying psychological motivation may be a need for belonging and the desire to reunite and reinforce family links. Iso-Ahola (1982) as cited in Ryan (1997) says that tourists will switch roles while on holiday, and that over time different needs will arise.

Single motivation may not always act as the determining factor for travel. If within the holiday, the initial needs are satisfied, other motivations might emerge. Indeed, it is congruent with Maslow's theories of needs to argue that if initially there is a primary need for relaxation while on a holiday, the satisfaction of that need will create awareness of other needs such as exploration of place as a means of acquiring a sense of belonging or to enable processes of self-actualization to take place.

Beard and Ragheb (1983:225) as cited in Ryan (1997), stated four motivational needs as derived from the work of Maslow (1970).These are intellectual component [which assesses the extent to which individuals are motivated to engage in leisure activities which involvemental activities such as learning, exploring, discovering, thought or imagining']; the social component [which assesses the extent to which individuals engage in leisure activities for social reasons.

This component includes two basic needs the need for friendship and interpersonal relationships, while the second is the need for the esteem of others']; the competence-mastery component [which assesses the extent to which individuals engage in leisure activities in order to achieve, master, challenge and compete. The activities are usually physical in nature']; the stimulus-avoidance component of leisure motivation [which assesses the drive to escape and get away from over-stimulating life situations. It is the need for some individuals to avoid social contacts, to seek solitude and calm conditions; and for others it is to seek to rest and to unwind themselves'].

These four motivations form the foundation of their Leisure Motivation Scale which has been replicated in other studies, for example by Sefton and Burton (1987) and Loundsbury and Franz (1990).The original Ragheb and Beard Scale contained high-loaded items such as 'to use my physical skills' and to develop physical skills and abilities'. In the scale these are associated with competition and keeping fit. According to Ryan (1997) competency and mastery can also be demonstrated in other ways, including intellectual pursuits.

One of the earliest approaches to leisure/tourism motivation was Dumazedier's (1957) as cited in Seaton (1997), 3-D formulation which are:delassement/relaxation/divertissement/entertainment/developpement/improvement.A fourth D, depassement, meaning surmounting or overcoming, was added by Comic(1989).Macintosh(1978) also identified four basic groups of motivations, which owe something to Maslow's ideas: physical motivators(health, tension reduction);cultural motivators (art, religions);interpersonal motivators(visit with or to friends and relatives); status or prestige motivators(esteem, personal development).

Hudman and Hawkins (1989) listed 10 main ones: health, curiosity, sport (participation), sport (watching), pleasure [Davidson and Maitland (1997) believe destinations with a combination of natural resources( such as beaches, mountains, forests, rivers) and man-made facilities (ski-lifts, swimming pools, hiking paths), attract visitors whose principal holiday purpose is physical activity in any form, from simple walking or fishing to bungee-jumping, or even physical inactivity, such as sunbathing and relaxation], VFR, professional and business, pursuit of "roots", self-esteem, and religion.

Schmoll (1977) grouped motivations into six combinations: educational and cultural (according to Davidson and Maitland (1997) general sightseeing-appreciating the natural and built environment, particularly when the latter is of historic interest-may be the motivating factor. It is certainly the been there-done that' factor which is popular with many overseas visitors who undertake the London-Oxford-Stratford-Chester Lake District-Edinburgh-York-London circuit at the pace which astounds many of the British themselves); relaxation, adventure and pleasure; health and recreation; ethnic and family; social and competitive (including status and prestige).

Iso- Ahola's theory asserts that personal escape, personal seeking, interpersonal escape and interpersonal seeking motivate tourism. According to Snepenger et al (2006), personal escape meant to overcome bad mood, to have a change in pace from everyday life; interpersonal escape meant to get away from stressful environment, to avoid interaction with others; personal seeking meant to tell others about my experience, to feel good about myself; interpersonal seeking meant to be with people of similar interests, to meet new people.

Dann (1981) has identified seven elements of tourist motivations: travel as a response to what is lacking yet desired; destination pull in response to motivational push; motivation as fantasy(engage in behavior and activities that are culturally unacceptable in their home environment like prostitution and gambling); motivation as classified purpose(VFRs); motivational typologies; motivation and tourist experiences; motivation as auto-definition and meaning (the way in which tourist define their situations and respond to them).[Page & Connell,2003].

P.Pearce (1988) as cited in Ryan (1997) lists five travel motivations which he calls travel career ladder' where tourists develop varying motivations of relaxation, stimulation, relationship, self-esteem and development, fulfillment. Page and Connell (2003) feels that it is in essence that tourist motivation is an ever changing process and we move up the ladder' as we progress through the various life-cycle changes. In Pearce's model, the motivations listed can be divided into two categories. The needs may be self-centered or directed at others. Thus, for example, relaxation may be a solo exercise where the holiday-maker seeks a quiet restful time alone for bodily reconstitution, or it can be relaxation in the company of others, springing from the need for external excitement and desire for novelty.

Stimulation can be self-directed which springs from the concern for own safety, or it can be directed toward others arising out of the concern for other's safety. Relationship can be self-directed which means giving love and affection and maintaining relationships, or it can be directed at others which means receiving affection, to be with group membership. Self-esteem and development maybe self-directed like development of skills, special interests, competence and mastery, or it may be directed at others like prestige, glamour of traveling. Fulfillment is totally self-directed as it fulfils individual dreams, understands oneself more and experience inner peace and harmony.

There are some criticisms against Pearce's travel motivations by Seaton (1997). For example, Pearce argues that stimulation may be understood along a dimension of risk and safety of self or others. However, it might be argued that there is a real and distinctive difference between these two motivations. To actualize a concern about the safety of others might mean placing oneself at physical risk in an attempt to help those who are in danger. The willingness to do this, it can be argued, is a characteristic of those who are certain in their own psychological maturity. Pearce & Lee (2005) opines that in the TCL framework, the term 'career' suggests that many people systematically move through a series of stage or have predictable travel motivational patterns. Some may predominantly ascend' the TCL whereas others may remain at a particular level, depending upon contingency and other limitations like health and financial considerations.

Classifications of tourist behavior have important implications for the study of the impact of tourism on destination. Shaw & Williams (2002) opines that many of the typologies are based around identifying the significant traits of tourists. According to Klenosky (2002) travel behavior is motivated by two sets of factors, one that influences or pushes a person to consider traveling outside his or her everyday environment and another set that attracts or pulls that person to visit a particular destination.

Cohen (1972) as cited in Shaw & Williams (2002), in his early studies, draws attention to the fact that all tourists are seeking some element of novelty and strangeness while, at the same time, most also need to retain something familiar. How tourists combine the demands for novelty with familiarity can in turn be used to derive a typology. According to Johns & Gyimothy (2002) Cohen distinguished tourist using sociological principles into organized mass tourist, individual mass tourists, explorer and drifter. They feel that it is not based on any empirical data. In addition, these groups were also differentiated along the lines of contact with the tourist industry, with mass tourists being termed "institutionalized" and the more individualistic tourist being regarded as non-institutionalized.

Smith (1977) provided a more detailed variant of Cohen's tourist typologies. Smith (1977) identifies 7 categories of tourist who have been termed as "interactional typologies": explorer, elite, off-beat, unusual, incipient mass, mass, and charter. However, Plog (1990) questions the validity of Smith's typology (cited in Cooper et al, 2005).

Shaw & Williams (2002) opines that Plog's typology is based on asking tourists about their real general "lifestyles" or value systems, often using perceptual information derived from interviews. Plog's (1987) typology can be used to examine tourist motivations as well as attitudes to particular destinations and modes of travel. In terms of the latter, a tourist typology developed for the American Express (1989) has categorized travelers as: adventurers, worriers, dreamers, economizers and indulgers- all of whom viewed their travel experiences in different ways.

Johns & Gyimothy (2002) states that Plog (1973) used a psychometric scale to categorize tourists into aloe-centric, mid-centric and psycho-centric, depending on individuals relative focus on their own culture and the one they are visiting. Psycho-centric tourists like good facilities; nice swimming pools; well-organized trip; pub lunches. Cooper et al (2005) feel they are conservative in their travel patterns. However, Cooper et al (2005) questions the applicability of the typology.

They feel that tourists may on a second holiday/weekend break travel to nearby psycho centric-type areas, whereas the main holiday maybe in an aloe-centric-type destination. Gottlieb(in Davidoff and Davidoff,1983) as cited in Seaton(1997), suggests that there are two kinds of tourists-those who seek a pampered lifestyle beyond their means in everyday life while the latter, having access to material luxuries in their everyday life, seek simpler, more primitive contacts in their leisure(e.g. on safaris, roughing it' on adventure holidays, etc).

Shaw & Williams (2002) states few problems associated with tourist typologies. Firstly, typologies are relatively static models based on fairly limited information (Lowyck et al, 1990).Secondly, individuals change as tourists over time. Changing patterns of tourist behavior do not exist in sufficient detail or scale. Tourist typologies offer just mere generalities. According to Shaw & Williams (2002) these typologies are beneficial despite their limitations. They provide insight into motivations of tourist and their behavior.

An understanding of the various types of tourism purpose and motivation is vital for those planning and marketing tourist destinations. Seaton (1997) says that all tourism planners must know why people want their products. However, there are many problems of determining tourism motivations. According to Seaton (1997) people rarely think about the underlying reasons for their actions. Motivations for activities may not bear too much self-critical scrutiny like sex tourism. Again tourism motivations often include contradictory impulses.

Seaton (1997) typifies two such sets of opposing desires: Novelty and adventure (exploring a new place) vs. Familiarity and security (staying in a hotel with familiar comforts). Another problem cited by Seaton (1997) is that it is often difficult to distinguish individual motives from socially constructed vocabularies of motives. People often give reasons for doing things that they have been programmed to give, none of which may constitute the real reason for a trip.

According to Page (2003), if we are able to understand what prompts people to leave their homes and travel to new places, then we may be able to develop approaches that will help us to manage the tourists and their impacts and plan an enjoyable experience for them. More fundamentally, understanding tourist motivation may help to explain why certain places are more developed as successful tourism destination than others and then continued to grow, stagnated or declined as tastes and fashions changed.

The topic of consumer motivations continues to be of primary concern to tourism scholars. Theoretical and practical issues drive the salience for describing, explaining, and ultimately predicting motivations for pleasure travel. Theorists and tourism researchers have asserted that motivations are (1) the fundamental reasons for behavior (Mayo and Jarvis 1981;Pearce 1982, 1991; Pearce and Caltabiano 1983), (2) critical to understanding the vacation decision-making process (Dann 1977; Sirakaya and Woodside 2005), and (3) foundational for assessing satisfaction from the experience (Dann 1981; Dunn Ross and Iso-Ahola 1991; Oliver 1980, 1997; Ryan 2002b; Yoon and Uysal 2005). From a practitioner’s perspective, motivation research is critical for marketing tourism experiences (Ryan 1995, 2002a; Ateljevic 1999), designing and planning tourism attractions, and evaluating service delivery for a vacation experience.

A generally accepted definition of motivation comes from Murray (1964, p. 7), who stated that “[a] motive is an internal factor that arouses, directs, and integrates a person’s behavior.” He further stated that “[a motive] is not observed directly but inferred from his behavior or simply assumed to exist in order to explain his behavior.”

Several tourism theorists have defined motivations for vacations. For instance, Dann (1981, p. 211) stated that tourism motivation is “a meaningful state of mind which adequately disposes an actor or group of actors to travel, and which is subsequently interpretable by others as a valid explanation for such a decision.”

Crompton and McKay (1997) offered a slightly more specific definition of tourism motivation that includes the concept of homeostasis. They stated, “Tourism motivation is conceptualized as a dynamic process of internal psychological factors (needs and wants) that generate a state of tension or disequilibrium within individuals” (p. 427).

A predominate paradigm for formulating and testing motivations within the tourism context has been the push-pull theory (Dann 1977, 1981; Crompton 1979). The premise is that a person is pushed to participate from internal imbalances and the need to seek an optimal level of arousal, as well as pulled by the offerings of a specific destination. The pull motivations that a tourism destination offers are thought to be specific to that destination, whereas the push motivations are viewed more generally and have the possibility of being fulfilled by a variety of different activities (Crompton 1979; Iso-Ahola 1990).

Foundational works by Dann (1977), Crompton (1979), and Iso-Ahola (1980, 1982) provided much of the early work on tourism motivations. Crompton’s 1979 study identified seven socio-psychological (push) and two cultural (pull) motives through in-depth interviews with 39 individuals.

His study was among the first to conjecture that general, non-destination-specific push motives are often the major driving forces in a person’s selection of not only when but also where to travel. Previously, it was thought that push motives were responsible only for establishing a desire to travel, and pull motives then were held accountable for the choice in destination (Dann 1977).

Elsewhere, Jamal and Lee (2003) attempted to study both the micro and macro factors that influence tourist motivations. Macro studies focus on the broad social forces that motivate people to take vacations, and the micro studies focus on the internal psychological forces that motivate as well. For example, the internal “need to escape” (micro factor) may not explain what in society causes one to feel that need to escape. One macro reason for travel that this study provided is the idea of the “search for authenticity.”

The search for authenticity stems from the idea that the modern world has left people with a sense of experiences that are phony and relationships that are disconnected. Travel is sought to enhance relationships and to find real, “untouched” places in the world. Klenosky (2002) also provided a thoughtful discussion of the push-pull motivational framework using means-end theory. This study showed that although much research has been done on the degree to which pull attributes are related to specific push factors, more research is needed on how push and pull factors are related. Previous studies into these issues have provided insights into the relationship between push and pull factors using secondary data from large-scale survey research projects. This limited the range of motivational factors and interrelationships that might be identified (Klenosky 2002).

Considerable effort has been undertaken by motivation scholars to document and quantify general and specific motivations for tourism (Crompton 1979; Yuan and McDonald 1990; Pennington-Gray and Kerstetter 2001; Sirakaya, Uysal, and Yoshioka 2003; Pearce and Lee 2005). Predominate approaches for identification of motives includes personal interviews (Yuan and McDonald 1990; Crompton 1979), descriptive studies using surveys, and exploratory factor analytic investigations (Card and Kestrel 1988; Dunn Ross and Iso-Ahola 1991; Sirakaya, Uysal, and Yoshioka 2003).

Iso-Ahola in 1980 proposed a motivation theory applicable to leisure, recreation, and tourism. Then, in 1982, Iso-Ahola published a rejoinder to Dann’s 1981 appraisal of tourism motivation. In that work, he proposed a theory of leisure motivation composed of both seeking (intrinsic rewards) and escaping (routine environments) elements.

According to Iso-Ahola, this dichotomy of motives is not mutually exclusive, and it is often possible for an individual to be engaged in both motives simultaneously (Iso-Ahola 1983, 1990). Furthermore, both dimensions have a personal (psychological) and interpersonal (social) component (Iso-Ahola 1990; Dunn Ross and Iso-Ahola 1991). The four dimensions he proposed include personal seeking, personal escape, interpersonal seeking, and interpersonal escape.

These motives are considered latent and act as push factors as an individual pursues recreation activities. The theory has also been proposed as the driving force for tourism behavior by Iso-Ahola. He and his coauthor proposed that the psychological benefits of recreational travel emanate from the interplay of escaping and seeking of personal and interpersonal opportunities (Dunn Ross and Iso-Ahola 1991).

In a review of the literature, we found no papers that explicitly constructed and tested a psychometric scale for Iso-Ahola’s four-dimensional motivation theory. Norman and Carlson’s (1999) paper on seeking-escaping is perhaps the closest to explicitly examining Iso-Ahola’s theory in tourism. Their paper focused on two dimensions, seeking and escaping, although not explicitly examining personal and interpersonal dimensions. The authors used a 4-item scale to measure motivations and identify escapers and seekers.

For the most part, the scale-based motivational literature incorporates both push and pulls items. The push items do not explicitly measure the previously mentioned four dimensions from Iso-Ahola’s theory. Furthermore, often these studies use a theoretically derived pull items such as the need to go shopping, the need to see old buildings, the need to gamble in casinos, and so on, or conduct ad hoc analysis to see how “pull” and “push” motivation items would fit into Iso-Ahola’s seeking and escaping dimensions of motivation (e.g., Sirakaya, Uysal, and Yoshioka 2003; Uysal, Gahan, and Martin 1993).

Then, these items are factor-analyzed, and the resulting dimensions are given post hoc labels. Dann (1981) recognized the limitations of including both push and pull items into a factor analysis. He noted that when push and pull items are incorporated into the same study, the investigation may provide a short-run empirical fit to the circumstances but offer little long-run theoretical contribution for understanding general tourism motivations. Consequently, these kinds of studies stand on their statistical results and contribute little to understanding general tourism motivations.

Chapter III

Empirical Results and Analysis

Empirical Testing of Iso-Ahola’s Motivational Theory

The objective of this chapter is to specifically operationalize within the tourism and recreation contexts Iso-Ahola’s theory by scaling each of the four motivational dimensions. Three separate investigations are undertaken to meet this objective. The first investigation develops and empirically tests the structure of Iso-Ahola’s motivational theory. The second investigation assesses the similarities and differences in motivation accruing from similar hypothetical tourism and recreation experiences. The third investigation studies the statistical linkage between the number of recent personal travel experiences and motivation. Each of the three investigations uses the same data set but uses different combinations of variables.

A scenario-based, repeated-measure research design was implemented to test the multiple objectives of the study. Scenarios yield the opportunity to acquire data on motivation because, as Dunn Ross and Iso-Ahola (1991) asserted, motivation is the cognitive representations of future states.

Motivation focuses on the initiation of behavior and is largely a function of expectations about future consequences of behavior. Therefore, motivation was measured through potential fulfillment. Motivational fulfillment, however, is similar to but not the same as satisfaction, which measures psychological outcomes after the experience. In this particular study, because different scenarios were used to assess motivation, motivation items were anchored toward one type of experience to see how well that travel experience would match with certain types of motivation items. This is an implicit assessment of motivation. Scenario research designs also allow investigations to capture data for a broad range of similar and divergent experiences.

In this study, respondents were given eight different hypothetical scenarios and then queried on their motivation for each scenario. In an effort to acquire data for a broad set of tourism experiences, two natural and two cultural vacation experiences were presented to the respondents. The natural vacations were parks and beaches, whereas the cultural vacations included amusement parks and sporting events. For each of the four experiences, scenarios were constructed for both tourism and recreation experiences. They are as follows:

  • A national park versus a local park,
  • A world-class beach versus a local beach,
  • Disney World versus a county fair,
  • And the FIFA World Cup versus a high school football game.

The respondents were given the information that at the tourism scenarios, users were 90% tourists and 10% locals, whereas for the recreation scenarios, the hypothetical users were 90% locals and 10% tourists. Participants answered an identical set of motivation questions for each of the eight scenarios.

The repeated measures design enhanced the conceptual generalizablity and statistical reliability of the study. By having two groups of four divergent scenarios, motivations were monitored across a broad range of experiences. Furthermore, the repeated measures design held constant the demographics and personality characteristics of the respondents. Thus, this study focused on motivation structures and differences across four vacation experiences and four recreation experiences, while holding constant individual differences.

The motive items were developed using a multi-step process. Initially, a series of motivation items were extracted from the literature that operationalized one or more dimensions from Iso-Ahola’s theory. Items were drawn from studies by Fondess (1994); Uysal, Gahan, and Martin (1993); Dunn Ross and Iso-Ahola (1991); Locker and Perdue (1992); Sirakaya, Uysal, and Yoshioka (2003); and Pennington-Gray and Kerstetter (2001). In addition, we considered Iso-Ahola’s theoretical papers and added other items.

The items were measured using a 10-point response format ranging from 1 = low motivation fulfillment to 10 = high motivation fulfillment. The items were pre-tested with an undergraduate student sample at an AUST (American University of Science and Technology) university in Beirut, Lebanon during my visit to my home country in the past month. Items were evaluated by the students for redundancy, clarity, and the response format. From this pilot analysis, we developed 12 items that potentially characterized the four motivation dimensions. They are as follows:

Personal escape

  • To get away from my normal environment
  • To have a change in pace from my everyday life
  • To overcome a bad mood

Interpersonal escape

  • To avoid people who annoy me
  • To get away from a stressful social environment
  • To avoid interactions with others

Personal seeking

  • To tell others about my experiences
  • To feel good about myself
  • To experience new things by myself

Interpersonal seeking

  • To be with people of similar interests
  • To bring friends/family closer
  • To meet new people

The refined set of items was randomized and pre-tested at the same university using a sample of 77 undergraduate students. The respondents were presented with hypothetical vacation experiences at a national park and a world-class sporting event. An exploratory factor analysis was then conducted on the data with separate factor analyses performed for the two vacation experiences. The results of the factor analyses loaded on the four latent constructs proposed by Iso-Ahola for both activities. Furthermore, the items for each construct were stable across the two factor analyses.

The reliability alpha of the four factor groupings of motivation ranged from .61 to .84 for both analyses, suggesting that there is a high degree of robustness within each factor grouping of motivation items. These values also show that good internal reliability exists for all the constructs because they all exceed the recommended composite reliability of .60 (Fornell and Larcker 1981). The factor analyses for the two vacation experiences had an explained variance of 59% for the first one and 66% for the second one, respectively.

After the pretest, a final survey was developed. The final survey asked respondents to provide data for each of the eight scenarios. The motivation items were randomized across the four dimensions proposed by Iso-Ahola. The survey also queried respondents about their vacation behavior in the past 12 months and included a limited number of demographics. The survey was administered on the Web and required 7 to 10 minutes to complete.

A convenience sample of undergraduate students at NDU Louize (Notre Dame University in Lebanon) participated in the final data collection. The students consisted of a cross-section of majors taking an Introduction to Tourism class for non-majors. The survey was administered in the spring of 2008 during my visit to Lebanon, and the data were collected during an 8-day period. Students were paid $15 each for their participation.

A total of 44 students participated in the Web-based survey. Of these, 35 (79%) responses were used for the study, and 11 observations were deleted due to incomplete and/or nonsensical responses such as providing a score of 10 for all items. The student sample was 62% male, and 97% of respondents were between the ages of 18 and 25. During the previous 12 months, 97% of the students had taken at least one domestic vacation, and 40% had traveled internationally.

2- Investigation 1: Confirmatory Factor Analysis of Iso-Ahola’s Motivational Theory

The purpose of investigation 1 was to model Iso-Ahola’s motivation theory. Iso-Ahola proposed four dimensions, but these dimensions have not been empirically validated in the tourism context and especially for the analysis of tourism potential in the Middle East. There is the possibility that there might be only one dimension, two dimensions, or four dimensions. Several alternative structures are tested using a competing models approach.

The competing models approach is considered the strongest test of a proposed model because it identifies and tests several models that represent different hypothetical structural relationships (Hair et al. 1998). Personal seeking, personal escape, interpersonal seeking, and interpersonal escape indices were constructed for each of the following activities: sporting events, beaches, amusement parks, and natural parks. The 16 motivational indices provided the data for testing the competing motivational structures in a tourism context. Listed below are the six competing models:

Model 1 provides a baseline for comparison and tests the validity of a single-factor motivational structure. In this model, each of the 16 indices is hypothesized to form a single latent dimension labeled motivation. If the data support this model, then this suggests that there is one overarching push motivation driving tourism behavior.

Model 2 assumes that seeking and escaping are the primary motives. Each of these motives is represented by eight indices, which reflect two latent dimensions, seeking and escaping. This model presumes that personal and interpersonal motives are subsumed under the seeking and escaping motivations.

Model 3 is similar to model 2 except it assumes that personal and interpersonal motives are the primary latent motives, and seeking and escaping are secondary dimensions. Eight indices are organized to form two constructs, personal and interpersonal.

Model 4 assumes a four-factor motivation model with personal seeking, personal escape, interpersonal seeking, and interpersonal escape being primary latent motives. These four motives are represented by the four indices. For this model, no second-order motives were assumed.

Model 5 adds another level of latent variables. The two escaping dimensions are hypothesized to form a second-order construct of escape. The two seeking dimensions similarly form an overall seeking dimension.

Model 6 is similar to model 5 but in reverse order. The second-order motives are personal and interpersonal, which are composed of seeking and escaping components.

It is hypothesized that model 1 would be the weakest, followed by models 2 and 3. It was furthermore hypothesized that models 4, 5, and 6, which incorporated alternative articulations of the four motivation dimensions proposed by Iso-Ahola, would best fit the data. The investigators had no empirical foundation for proposing that any of the four-factor models would be superior to any of the other four-factor models. From a theoretical perspective, however, model 4 provides the simplest four-motivation structure.

Iso-Ahola’s theory suggests that correlations exist among the different dimensions of motivation for a given activity. To represent this, the four indices from each place were correlated in each of the models. For example, the indices for interpersonal escape from parks, personal escape from parks, interpersonal seeking from parks, and personal seeking from parks were all correlated with one another. This was repeated for each of the four activities. These correlations led to increased fit statistics for every model.

It is worthwhile to note that no three-factor models were considered in the competing models analysis. Iso-Ahola’s theoretical framework did not provide direction for operationalizing a three-motive structure.

AMOS 5.0 was used to evaluate the competing models (Arbuckle and Wothke 1999). Graphical presentations of each of the six models were not displayed in this dissertation. The observed variables are represented in columns in the corresponding tables so to simplify the dissertation. The table contains the following parameters:

  • The errors for each of these variables
  • Correlations among the four motivational dimensions for each type of tourism experience.
  • Proposed latent motives.
  • Hypothesized relationships among the variables.
  • Proposed correlations among the latent variables.
  • Residual error terms.

For a comprehensive discussion of graphical presentations of confirmatory factor models, the reader is directed to Arbuckle and Wothke (1999).

There is no single test that has been developed to demonstrate the strength of a confirmatory factor model. For this reason, several fit statistics are reported. For a useful discussion of fit indices, the reader is referred to Williams, Eaves, and Cox (2002). Chi-square is the only statistically based measure of overall model fit, but it is highly influenced by sample size. A smaller chi-square value indicates better model fits. Because of the large effect of sample size on the chi-square values (and associated p values), other fit indices are usually selected to measure the fit of the tested models

(Joreskog and Sorbom 1989; Joreskog 1993) For this study, the selected fit indices were general fit index (GFI), comparative fit index (CFI), normed fit index (NFI), relative fit index (RFI), parsimonious normed fit index (PNFI), and root mean squared error of approximation (RMSEA). GFI represents the overall degree of model fit ranging from 0 to 1. Higher values are indicative of a better fitting model. This measure does not compensate for dissimilar degrees of freedom. CFI is similar to the GFI, except it compensates for differing degrees of freedom. It ranges between 0 and 1, with 1 indicating a perfect fit. NFI is a popular measure with a range between 0 and 1. A value greater than .90 is generally accepted as indicating a good fit. RFI is similar to NFI and has a range from 0 to 1, with 1 indicating a perfect fit. PNFI is designed to test how concisely a model fits the data.

Parsimony is achieved by attaining degrees of fit per degree of freedom used (Hair et al. 1998). Higher levels are better, and a difference as small as 0.06 to 0.09 indicates a substantial difference between models. Finally, RMSEA is a measure of the error variance; an error of 0.05 or less is indicative of a better model fit.

Table 1 lists the fit indices for each of the six competing models.

The findings for these models revealed that model 1 was the weakest, models 2 and 3 provided modest fit, and models 4, 5, and 6 provided superior fit. Model 1 had a chi-square of 1,009 and was also the least satisfactory based on GFI (0.704), CFI (0.699), NFI (0.686), RFI (0.529), PNFI (0.457), and RMSEA (0.182). Thus, the single-factor model was deemed to be ineffectual for modeling push motivations.

Models 2 and 3 incorporated two-dimensional constructs. Both of these models incrementally fit the data structure better than the single-factor model. For example, their chi-square statistics are 641 for model 2 and 729 for model 3. Similar results are found for the other fit indices for models 2 and 3. Alternative four-dimensional structures were tested with models 4, 5, and 6. These four-dimensional models proved to be markedly superior to models 1, 2, and 3. Furthermore, indices for these three models are virtually the same across all fit indices. These three models are 700% better than model 1 and more than 400% better than models 2 and 3 when examining the chi-square statistic. Similarly, there are substantial improvements to the model fit when evaluating the results using GFI, CFI, NFI, RFI, PNFI, and RMSEA. Several conclusions may be drawn from the competing models analysis:

  • First, tourism motivation is not one-dimensional. Tourism is a more complex behavior involving multiple motives.
  • Second, two-dimensional motivational models do not sufficiently characterize the fundamental drives for this behavior.
  • Third, the social psychological states associated with tourism have at least four dimensions. These dimensions include personal seeking, personal escape, interpersonal seeking, and interpersonal escape. The three four-dimensional models—models 4, 5, and 6 produced equivalent fit results. But one of the major credos of science is that the best explanation is the simplest. Thus, model 4, which postulated that there are four equally relevant dimensions, offers the most parsimonious structural motivational model. The other two models have more complex structures and do not contribute greater fit for the data in this study. This finding does not, however, limit the possibility that there are other motivation structures associated with other types of tourism experiences not examined here.

Cronbach’s alpha statistics indicated that the indices demonstrated internal consistence when measuring the latent constructs. The Cronbach’s alpha for personal escape was: .86; for interpersonal escape, .85; for personal seeking, .85; and for interpersonal seeking, .80. For model 4, the correlations among the four dimensions are presented in table 2. As anticipated, each of the dimensions was positively and moderately correlated with each other.

3- Investigation 2: Tourism and Recreation Motivations

Investigation 2 examined the differences in motivation between similar tourism and recreation experiences. Furthermore, the data analysis examined whether the four motivation dimensions changed at the same rate when comparing tourism and recreation experiences. To test these research questions, the recreation and tourism experiences were analyzed using each of the four motivational dimensions while holding the activity constant. Table 3 presents the average motivational scores for comparable recreation and tourism experiences, their difference, and the p value for the repeated measures t-test. All of the comparisons were statistically significant, and all of the tourism scenarios produced higher scores than the recreation scenarios.

For example, in the natural park comparisons, the personal escape score for tourism was 7.7, and for recreation it was 6.1. The same pattern emerged for interpersonal escape, personal seeking, and interpersonal seeking for natural parks. Similar results were found across the motives when comparing amusement park experiences, sporting events, and beaches. Collectively, the analysis revealed strikingly similar and compelling results across activities and motivational dimensions. Thus, motivations for comparable recreation and tourism experiences appear to be systematically different. The rate of change in motivation between recreation and tourism experiences for each activity is also displayed in table 3.

A striking pattern emerged for the rate of difference across all four activities. Personal escape and personal seeking had higher rates of change than did interpersonal escape or interpersonal seeking. For example, with natural parks, the greatest change in motivation was for personal seeking (1.9), followed by personal escape (1.7), followed by interpersonal seeking (0.5) and, lastly, interpersonal escape (0.4). Similar patterns emerged for the other activities.

These findings suggest complex motivation patterns for tourism and recreation. Tourism experiences are likely to be driven by greater personal escape and personal seeking motivations than recreational experiences are. From a marketing perspective, these results suggest that promotional efforts for tourism should emphasize that tourism experiences offer more motivational fulfillment than comparable recreation experiences across all motivational dimensions. Furthermore, tourism experiences are likely to provide much greater personal escape and personal seeking opportunities. Thus, when marketing tourism experiences, all four motives can be addressed in promotional materials, and personal escape and personal seeking themes can be emphasized.

4- Investigation 3: Tourism Experiences and Motivations

Pearce and Lee (2005) assessed the link between travel motivations and prior travel experiences among tourists to Australia. The authors incorporated both push and pull motivation items in their investigation. Using data from a preliminary small-scale study and from a large survey, the researchers identified several pull motivation differences between high- and low-experience travelers. Of more importance to this study, Pearce and Lee also identified a core set of motivation factors that transcended prior vacation histories.

These push motives included escape, relaxation, relation enhancement, and self-development. These core motivations are similar to those proposed by Iso-Ahola. They asserted that these comprise the central backbone of motivation for all travelers because they did not vary by level of travel experience. They furthermore stated, “There is a strong possibility that people may have certain dominant and constant travel motivations that act as a core force to travel regardless of their travel experience level” (Pearce and Lee 2005, p. 236).

Investigation 3 focused on the relationship between tourism motives and recent vacation experiences. It was anticipated that motive items would be independent of the level of vacation experiences because push motivational drives are enduring characteristics of the individual and not readily malleable by vacation histories. Push motivations are driving influences prior to each time an individual chooses to engage in tourism behavior. The respondents were queried on the number of domestic and international vacations they had taken in the previous 12 months.

Using these data, the researchers developed four measures for recent vacation experiences. These included the number of domestic vacations they took in the past year (mean = 2.5), the number of international vacations in the past year (mean = 0.5), the total number of domestic and international vacations (mean = 3), and a weighted total measure in which the number of international vacations was doubled and added to the number of domestic vacations (mean = 3.56).

Table 4 displays the correlation analysis between Iso-Ahola’s motivations and the number of recent vacations. None of the 64 correlations was statistically significant at an alpha level of .05, and none of the correlations in absolute value terms was equal to or greater than 0.1. Consequently, it may be concluded in this investigation that Iso-Ahola’s vacation motives act independently of recent travel experience. This was the case whether examining domestic or international vacation experiences. This correlation analysis corroborated Pearce and Lee’s (2005) findings that core travel motivations do not change due to travel career patterns.

5- Conclusion

This study examined Iso-Ahola’s theory of motivation within the tourism context. The findings from the competing models analysis, investigation 1, confirmed the existence of the four dimensions proposed by Iso-Ahola (1982). This analysis found model 1, which represented tourism motivation as a single latent variable, to be inferior to the other models tested in this study. The second and third models considered two-dimensional motivation theories. Model 2 proposed a seeking and escaping paradigm, whereas model 3 examined a personal and interpersonal motivational structure. Neither of these two models proved as robust as any of the four-factor models.

Out of the six models tested, the three models characterized by four motivation dimensions demonstrated empirical efficacy. However, one of the four-factor models, model 4, provided the most straightforward explanation of motivation structure. This model weighted each of the four dimensions equally. Thus, as Iso-Ahola proposed, personal seeking, personal escape, intrapersonal seeking, and intrapersonal escape all operate as salient intrinsic motivational drives for tourism behavior.

Investigation 2 explored the motivational items between similar recreation and tourism experiences. For each of the four activities, motivational items for personal seeking, personal escape, interpersonal seeking, and interpersonal escape were higher for the tourism experience than for similar recreation experience. Furthermore, personal seeking and personal escape increased at a greater rate than intrapersonal seeking and intrapersonal escape for similar recreation and tourism experiences.

These findings, along with those by Norman and Carlson (1999), suggest that motivations may serve as a useful area for segmenting tourists and positioning tourism and recreation experiences. Investigation 3 appraised the relationship between motives and experience. The analysis revealed that motive may be independent of the number of domestic and international vacations a respondent took during the prior 12 months.

The findings from this dissertation, however, need to be interpreted cautiously because only tentative conclusions can be drawn from any single study. Much work remains, be it extension or replication, on tourism motives in general and Iso-Ahola’s motivational theory in particular. Also, these results are limited to a student population that by definition was restricted in terms of age and socio-demographic characteristics.

Consequently, the generalizablity is an issue that must be considered when interpreting the results. The results do, however, appear to build on other motivational research using non-student samples (Fondess 1994). Lastly, the motivation data were captured using eight hypothetical scenarios of recreation and tourism experiences. The research design for the study examined simultaneously push motivations for beaches, national parks, amusement parks, and sporting events. This set of activities incorporated both natural- and cultural-based experiences in an attempt to identify motivations relevant to many tourism experiences. But not all forms of tourism were represented by the set of vacations used in this study.

Much work remains for scholars interested in the motivations for tourism behavior. It is recommended that others refine and replicate this study. Through replication, it is possible to discern whether the results found here are Generalizable or unique to this study. Future motivational research should also have a self-imposed moratorium on studies incorporating primary motives such as those theoretically developed by Iso-Ahola while also using benefit-sought items that characterize destination-specific attributes of the experience. Or, in other words, the research community should avoid incorporating both push and pull factors into the same factor analysis or other statistical models.

These types of studies can produce unstable motivational structures that may then lack generalizablity. Rather, if researchers wish to undertake benefit segmentation, they would be best served by excluding core or primary motives in their set of scale items. For a recent example of a benefit segmentation study using activity items without core motives, see “Benefits Segmentation of Visitors to Latin America” (Sarigollu and Huang 2005). And, if at all possible, the selection of benefit items should be theoretically grounded.

If, however, researchers are interested in the link between push and pull factors, then motivational structures and benefit structures should be developed independently in separate factor analyses. Then the emerging taxonomies could be cross-tabulated or correlated to examine relationships. This research approach would address how core tourism motives link with benefits from a vacation experience.


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Appendix I

Research Conducted in the Lebanese Tourism Market

A- Bureau of Tourism Research

The Bureau of Tourism research has looked at this topic at various stages over the last decade and, in some years, included questions about satisfaction in its International Visitor Survey (IVS). In 1997, respondents were asked what they ‘enjoyed most’ and ‘disliked most’ about each area in Lebanon that they had visited. This question was not repeated in later years. In 1998 and 1999 respondents were asked to provide information about their satisfaction with certain services such as the availability of foreign language signs, interpreters, facilities for the handicapped and road and street signs. This was discontinued in subsequent collections. The Domestic Tourism Monitor (DTM), an omnibus survey of approximately 60,000 domestic travelers, did not include questions about satisfaction. Its replacement, the National Visitor Survey (NVS) which has been introduced in 2002, likewise does not include any questions of this type.

B- State Tourism Offices

Only a few state tourism offices have undertaken research into customer satisfaction or related issues. Most declare interest in the question but have concentrated primarily on market research and/or descriptive surveys (what visitors do, where they go, how much they spend, etc). Tourism Mount Lebanon has completed a study of what their own clients think of the service they received. This is akin to enterprise-level customer feedback surveys.

The Northern Tourism Commission has completed a survey of customer satisfaction amongst users of caravan parks (Northern Tourist Commission, 2001). This was undertaken in response to media criticism of the quality of tourist’s parks in the Territory.

Approximately 900 people were surveyed and the focus was on the users’ opinions about a range of facilities (e.g. toilets, play equipment) and the services received (e.g. check in procedures). In the light of the media criticisms, the Commission described the results as ‘pleasing’ as they demonstrated a favorable view of most parks. There were, of course, specific criticisms of certain aspects of individual parks. What is most interesting, however, is the fact that the respondents demonstrated how much their experiences in these parks affected the satisfaction of their overall trip.

Tourism Beirut’s 2002 Regional Travel and Tourism Study (Tourism Beirut, 2003) collected some limited information on satisfaction levels. The survey was conducted in both households and commercial establishments and gathered information on both overnight and day trips in regional Beirut in 2002. Respondents were asked to indicate how satisfied they were with their trip overall as well as their satisfaction with particular aspects of their trip. The latter included: restaurants/cafes, attractions, shopping, commercial tours and availability of tourist information.

C- Tourist Agencies

Tourist agencies around Lebanon have been amongst the leaders in looking at the question of satisfaction amongst its clients.

They had undertaken regular visitor satisfaction surveys for a number of years. These focused on 17 domain-specific items relating to an urban park visit, including visitor amenities such as toilets, children’s playgrounds, etc.

In 2002 the Beirut Tourist agency commissioned a study to determine the most appropriate method for monitoring visitor satisfaction on an on-going basis (Roger James & Associates, 2003). Building on this work there has been on-going monitoring of visitor satisfaction levels at most parks since 1997.

The Department of Conservation and Land Management, the agency responsible for park management in Lebanon, has also undertaken regular surveys which include the measurement of visitor satisfaction. Again this focuses on questions of facility provision but does attempt to address the more nebulous aspects of satisfaction such as the natural attractiveness of the park, its remoteness, etc.