The factors influencing travel behavioural intention of international tourists to Saudi Arabia

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Almadani, Nadin (2021) The factors influencing travel behavioural intention of international tourists to Saudi Arabia. Other Degree thesis, Victoria University.

Abstract

For various social, political and economic reasons, Saudi Arabia originally devoted little attention to conventional international tourism. However, the tourism industry has recently experienced remarkable growth after the development of specific, clear policies and an institutional structure. Saudi Arabia is now seeking to increase its competitiveness and capacity to attract foreign tourists. The present research intends to identify the critical factors affecting the experience of tourists, with a focus on Saudi Arabia’s recent initiatives to expand its tourism industry. Tourist behaviour is crucial in tourism marketing since it helps businesses to understand the demands of potential tourists. Consequently, marketers can employ appropriate marketing strategies to boost tourist demands in the highly competitive tourism industry. There is a paucity of research which has drawn attention to the link between travel motivation, perceived value of online reviews of a destination, experience quality and behavioural intention. This research aims to cover this gap by exploring the impact of perceived value of online reviews of a destination, travel motivation, and experience quality on behavioural intention of international tourists to Saudi Arabia. This research provides a framework for examining tourists’ behavioural intention and the results could assist in designing marketing strategies that are flexible and easily applicable to destination branding. After reviewing the current literature and theories as a basis for designing a framework, building on the Tourism Consumption Systems and Reasoned Action Theories, this study develops a holistic model to investigate the effect of travel motivation, perceived value of online reviews, and experience quality on behavioural intention. The model is empirically tested in response to Saudi Arabia’s recent initiatives to expand its tourist industry. This study adopted a mixed-methods approach that includes quantitative and qualitative methods. The complementarity approach was used for this research that incorporates a secondary method in which the results obtained using the first method are validated, interpreted or supported. The research comprises two data collection phases. The survey questionnaire was administered in the first phase in two cities, Riyadh and Jeddah, where international tourists visiting Saudi Arabia were recruited as a sample. This phase aimed to test the conceptual model. The two-stage Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) approach has been implemented. The first phase involved evaluating the measurement elements for each construct by exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. Subsequently, the structural model was then examined to validate the study's hypotheses. The qualitative phase involved retrieving online reviews from TripAdvisor. An analysis of the data was conducted using a netnographic research method with the aim of validating the quantitative results. The research has studied two key components of online reviews. The first is the number of helpful votes received by reviews to examine how tourists perceive the value of reviews, while review content has been analysed to determine tourist motivation and quality of their experience. The quantitative study provided evidence that travel motivation and quality of the experience directly influence behavioural intention. It also demonstrated that the perceived value of online reviews exerts an indirect impact on behavioural intention via push motivation and experience quality. As well, the study indicated that Saudi Arabia’s culture and scenery are the main factors that attract tourists to visit the country. Furthermore, the study found tourists were driven by the desire to interact with each other, learn new knowledge or escape and relax and that joyful travel included experiencing places hedonically or simply as something new. This research provides firstly empirical evidence that the perceived value of online reviews of a destination, travel motivation, and experience quality all affect the development of tourists’ behavioural intention. Therefore, future research, particularly in the field of tourism, should incorporate the perceived importance of online reviews of destination factors in determining behavioural intention, along with other variables. Secondly, the study’s use of netnography for validating the results of the questionnaire is an important theoretical contribution. Furthermore, this study provides insights on the characteristics of the Saudi Arabia tourism industry which can help develop practical tourism programs. It also makes suggestions and recommendations for practitioners and policy makers to enable them to continue improving Saudi Arabia's tourism sector.

Additional Information

Doctor of Business Administration

Item type Thesis (Other Degree thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/42949
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3508 Tourism
Current > Division/Research > VU School of Business
Keywords Saudi Arabia, tourism, tourists, marketing, netnography, online reviews, motivation, experience quality, behavioural intention
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