Motivation for Travel | Theory: Plog, Maslow, Hudman, Krippendorf, Nickerson, General Theory

  • Post last modified: 13 January 2023
  • Reading time: 33 mins read
  • Post category: Tourism

What is Motivation for Travel?

Travelers are motivated to satisfy a need, and they have a perception of what will satisfy their needs. At the same time, travelers have a perception of the attractions of the destination and whether the attractions satisfy their needs. If both sides are agreed, travelers are motivated to visit that destination.

Table of Content

  • 1 What is Motivation for Travel?
  • 2 Travel Motivations
  • 3.1 Economic Capacity
  • 3.2 Spare Time
  • 3.3 Psychological Factors
  • 3.4 Group, Family and Social Atmosphere
  • 3.5 Relaxation and Health
  • 3.6 Exploration and Risk-Taking
  • 3.7 Spirit and the Appreciation of Beauty
  • 3.8 Social Interaction
  • 3.9 Business Affairs and Official Matters
  • 3.10 Family Responsibilities
  • 4 Plog Theory
  • 5.1 Psychological Needs
  • 5.2 Safety Needs
  • 5.3 Personal Interaction Needs
  • 5.4 Esteem Needs
  • 5.5 Self Actualization Needs
  • 6.3 Pleasure
  • 6.4 Religious and Spiritual Appreciation
  • 6.5 Professional and Business
  • 6.6 Friends and Relatives
  • 6.7 Roots Syndrome
  • 7.1 Recuperation and Regeneration
  • 7.2 Compensation and Social Integration
  • 7.4 Communication
  • 7.5 Broadening of the Mind
  • 7.6 Freedom and Self-Determination
  • 7.7 Self Realization
  • 7.8 Happiness
  • 8.1 Physiological Needs
  • 8.2 Safety Needs
  • 8.3 Personal Interaction Needs
  • 8.4 Esteem Needs
  • 8.5 Self Actualization Needs
  • 9.1 Travel Personality
  • 9.2 General Personality

The Definition of “Motivation” A motivation is a wish that prompts people to take action, work hard to achieve a goal, and satisfy a certain kind of need. For example, when a person is hungry and there is a need to appease his or her hunger, a motivation to search for food is formed.

Therefore, people’s activities of all kinds are driven by their motivations, and they govern people’s actions.

Travel Motivations

  • Why do we go travelling?
  • Why do we choose to travel to a certain place?
  • Why do we participate in a certain travel activity?

These are essentially questions about tourists’ travel motivations. Travel motivations directly spur people’s travel activities.

A travel motivation is the psychological need of a person to participate in travel activities, and this kind of need will directly promote travel motivation; if you have motivation, a travel action will result.

However, in real life, the process from the formation of a travel motivation to the occurrence of an actual journey, action is a complex one.

During this process, when people have a need to travel, they must also have corresponding individual factors and external environmental conditions, such as physical fitness, financial status, weather and transport, etc Factors that Influence Individual Travel Motivations

10 Motivation for Travel

These are the motivation for travel which discussed below:

Economic Capacity

Psychological factors, group, family and social atmosphere, relaxation and health, exploration and risk-taking, spirit and the appreciation of beauty, social interaction, business affairs and official matters, family responsibilities.

Economic capacity is the basis on which all needs are formed. Because travel is a kind of consumer behavior, the ability to pay the various types of charges involved is of course necessary. When a person’s economic income can only support his or her basic living needs, he or she will not form a motivation to go traveling.

As an economy develops, in countries and regions where citizens’ income increases, the tourism industry becomes more developed, and the number of people who go traveling climbs, or drops when the opposite applies.

Spare time refers to the time that people can freely allocate to taking part in pastimes and entertainment or anything else they enjoy participating in after their daily work, study, living, and other compulsory time commitments.

Therefore, spare time is an important condition for the realization of travel activities. In developed countries, labor protection laws are relatively strong and workers have statutory holidays, both of which ensure that people can form travel motivations.

Travel motivations are a form of individual psychological activity and are inevitably influenced by various aspects such as individual interests, hobbies, profession, attitude to life, understanding of the surrounding environment, level of education, and family.

Social Factors that Influence Travel Motivations. It is only when the economy of a country or region is developed that it will have enough resources to improve and construct travel facilities, develop tourist attractions and promote transport development.

Road transport facilities, accommodation, catering, and service standards at a destination are important factors in the tourists’ choice of destination, and also affect their formation of travel motivations to a large degree, especially for tourists with relatively high hospitality expectations.

Group or social pressure can also influence people’s travel motivations. For example, travel activities organized by enterprises, or travel awards, etc. encourage people to form their own travel motivations involuntarily, and travel activities subsequently take place.

Social surroundings can also influence people’s travel motivations. Colleagues, friends, and relatives travel behavior and travel experiences can always influence others, or lead to the formation of comparative psychology, making people form identical travel motivations, and leading to the formation of a kind of imitative travel behavior.

People who have stressful or monotonous daily lives or work participate in travel activities such as relaxing travel and recuperation holidays in order to relax and loosen up, as well as keeping healthy and finding entertainment.

For example, natural scenery, historical monuments, parks, the seaside, hot springs recuperation areas, etc., are all tourist choices for this type of travel motivation.

Travelers who are curious, knowledgeable, and adventurous, such as the Himalayas climbing parties and North Pole explorers.

For travelers with this kind of motivation, their travel activities are mainly directed at distinctive, beautiful things and phenomena in the natural world, as well as to visiting museums, exhibition halls, and famous tourist attractions, and participating in various types of theme-based travel activities, etc.

People all go traveling to meet friends and relatives, to find their roots and search for their ancestors, and to get to know new friends, etc.

Travelers in this category require that the personal relationships they maintain in the course of their travels be friendly, cordial, and warm-hearted, and want to care for Religious Faith People who have a religious faith go traveling to participate in religious activities and take part in religious studies, and those who travel driven by religious faith motivations do so mainly to satisfy their own spiritual needs. Religious travel is divided into two categories: pilgrimages, and missionary work.

People go traveling for various types of business and official activities, such as special trips to buy goods or diversions to a certain place to go traveling; business trips to a certain place to take part in academic observation, communicate, etc.

Travel activities participated in by groups, government delegations, and business associations, etc., that go to a certain place for discussions, etc.

Because they are busy at work, people will normally neglect to take care of and look after their family members and friends. For these people, they go traveling to satisfy a responsibility or obligation to their parents, wife or children, or to relax and have fun with friends.

Therefore, every summer, the number of family-based tour groups will increase greatly.

Plog Theory

Based on Plog’s theory, travel motivations are related to a very narrow spectrum of psychographic types:

  • Educational and cultural motives to learn and to increase the ability for appreciation, scientific research; trips with expert leaders or lecturers.
  • Study of genealogy such as visits to their ancestor’s homeland to trace their root.
  • Search for the exotic, such as the North Pole and the South Pole, the Amazon, etc.
  • Satisfaction and sense of power and freedom such as anonymity, flying, control, sea travel, fast trains.
  • Gambling – Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Monte Carlo, Bahamas, Puerto Rico.
  • Development of new friendships in foreign places.
  • Sharpening perspectives such as to awaken one’s senses, heighten awareness.
  • Political campaigns, supporting candidates, government hearings.
  • Vacation or second homes and condominiums Near-Allocentric Motivations.
  • Religious pilgrimages or inspiration.
  • Participation in sports events and sports activities.
  • Travel as a challenge, sometimes a test of endurance such as exploring mountain climbing, hiking, diving.
  • Business travel, conference, meeting and conventions.
  • Theatre tours, special entertainment.
  • A chance to try a new lifestyle Midcentric Motivations.
  • Relaxation and pleasure travel just for plain fun and enjoyment.
  • Satisfying personal contacts with friends and relatives.
  • For health reasons such as to change the climate, sunshine, spas, medical treatment.
  • The need for a change for a period of time.
  • An opportunity to escape from life’s problems.
  • The real or imagined glamour of the destination.
  • Appreciation of beauty such as national and state parks, forests, lakes, wilderness areas, canoe trips, ocean shores.
  • Sensual indulgence such as food, comforts, luxuries for the body, romance, sexual.
  • Enjoyment, rest, relaxation.
  • Shopping such as souvenirs, gifts, expensive possessions like cameras, jewels, furs, cars, antiques, art.
  • Joys of transportation – cruise ships, gourmet meals, buffets, comfortable trains, buses, airplanes, autos.
  • Pleasure of pre- and post-travel includes planning the trip, anticipation, learning, dreaming. family or personal matters.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow (1971) distinguished five different levels of psychological needs ranging from physiological needs to self-actualization. According to his theory, the satisfaction of people’s basic needs is a prerequisite for the satisfaction of the higher needs.

Maslow argues that all behavior is motivated by psychological needs, for behavior serves to fulfill those needs physiological needs:

Psychological Needs

Safety needs, personal interaction needs, esteem needs, self actualization needs.

These are needs required by humans to sustain their existence and prolong their lives and are the minimum basic needs, including needs relating to food, water, oxygen, sleep, a place to live and warmth, as well as clothing, food, shelter, mobility, sex, and other psychological functions.

If these needs cannot be fulfilled, human existence becomes a problem.

These are needs that represent human desires to protect their own bodies and minds from injury and to guarantee safety and stability. For example, needs relating to health, a safe and orderly environment, a stable career, and the avoidance of unforeseen accidents.

When a person’s physiological needs have been fulfilled, he or she will want to fulfill such safety needs.

Personal interaction needs include the need for love and a sense of belonging. The need for love refers to the fact that people all hope to achieve harmonious relationships with friends and colleagues or to maintain friendships; everyone wants to love others and be loved.

In addition, the need for a sense of belonging refers to the fact that people all want to have a sense of belonging, and want to gain the acceptance of a certain group and to be included and valued by it, as well as for its members to care for and look after each other.

These are human desires to gain other people’s respect, a satisfactory status, due human rights, reputation, and prestige, and to realize a certain social position.

These are human desires for the need to give full play to one’s own potential and to realize one’s own ideas and aspirations, including the seeking of knowledge, the appreciation of beauty, creativity, achievements, etc.

Maslow considered self-realization to be mankind’s highest level of needs, which signify a full, enthusiastic, wholehearted experience of life.

Hudman’s Motivators of Travel

These are some hudman’s motivators of travel theories :

Religious and Spiritual Appreciation

Professional and business, friends and relatives, roots syndrome.

People travel for improving their health. They would go for leisure and medical treatment to relax and entertain themselves. Natural landscapes, historical sites, coastline, spas, and resorts are the destinations of these travelers.

Curiosity People travel because of curiosity, inquisitiveness, and adventure. Politics, culture, public figures, physical features, and disaster would attract these travelers.

People travel for sports to release their pressure and fantasize about being an athlete. Being a spectator could experience the atmosphere of the competition, and have social contributions such as connecting with other audiences and meet new friends.

Vocation relates to pleasure because it could give routine life a break. People would try new things and participate in activities that would make them feel happy, such as visiting art museums, watching operas and gambling, etc.

People travel for spiritual needs. They visit religious headquarters usually because of religious reasons. In this way, they could have a stronger belief in their religion. On the other hand, many travelers gain satisfaction by the appreciation of natural landscapes, art performances, and visiting museums and historical sites.

People travel for business such as scientific expeditions, business meetings, conventions and education.

People travel because they want to visit their friends and relatives; it shows their care of family and friends.

People travel to trace the root of their family or the culture of their homeland. Pedigree research and hometown exploration are the common activities of these travelers.

Many people travel for gaining respect from others and a satisfying social status because one with plenty of travel experience and knowledge of different countries is usually admired by others.

Krippendorff Reasons for Travel

Research on reasons for travel uncovers an endless list of travel motivations. Apparently, people want to ‘switch off, relax’. They want to ‘get away from everyday life, ‘recover strength’ and ‘experience nature’ ( Krippendorff, 1997 ). Krippendorff (1997) distinguishes eight reasons for travel:

Recuperation and Regeneration

Compensation and social integration, communication, broadening of the mind, freedom and self-determination, self realization.

People get tired during working weeks, and use vacations to replenish their ‘bodily and mental strength’.

Tourism compensates for everyday social failure by presenting another world next to everyday dreariness.

Everyday life contains more and more aspects of stress; people want to escape from this.

Traveling abroad gives people a chance to gain human warmth, to establish contact with other people.

People want to satisfy their interests in other cultures and nature.

Tourists are in a position to largely make up their own rules; they are free from any obligations.

An unfamiliar and strange environment offers a great chance for investigating and enhancing the Self.

Vacations are highly associated with joy and pleasure, so happiness becomes a reason for embarking on a holiday trip.

Travel is a complex social action, and tourists use to travel to satisfy their own various needs. At the same time, under the influence of external environmental conditions, motivations always change as the environment changes.

Therefore, the same tourist’s motivations for going on different trips will differ from each other. At the same time, a lot of travel motivations do not just involve one motivation but may include various kinds of motivations.

Nickerson’s Travel Motivations

Furthermore, following the above reasons for travel, tourism seems to serve psychological needs. Nickerson (1996) argues that deep psychological needs are the basic motivators for tourism. She uses Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”, a theory about psychological needs and motivation to describe people’s motivation to travel.

Nickerson applied the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to describe travel motivations as below:

Physiological Needs

This can explain why people go to the seaside or a mountain retreat to avoid the heat; these are all actions required to be performed by certain physiological conditions inside the human body.

To travelers, safety needs are expressed in terms of the safety of people’s life, property, and psychology. They hope that in the course of a journey, no vehicle or boat accidents occur, they don’t get sick, they’re not robbed, they don’t have things stolen, and that they safely complete the entire journey, etc.

They also hope to achieve a psychological feeling of security. For example, they hope there is no political upheaval or war in the country they go to and that social order is sound there, etc.

Although the natural scenery and human cultural landscape of some countries are extremely rich, tourists would lose the motivation to travel there if the country has been involved in a long period of upheaval or war.

Therefore, the need for safety is one of the most important factors that influence people’s travel behavior.

Tourists’ personal interaction needs have diverse characteristics. People who go traveling all want to be able to travel together with close friends, get to make new friends in the course of their journey, understand different cultures and customs through interaction with local people, or enhance their friendships by visiting friends and family.

Therefore, travel is one of the most effective activities for people to make new friends, meet up with old friends around the world, and promote contact between people.

A person who has experience of frequent travel and knows a lot about different countries and regions is often admired and respected by others, which helps to fulfill the need to be respected as an individual.

Travel can involve a search for stimulation, challenging oneself, and acquiring knowledge about new things, and this kind of travel involves expressing one’s own self-value to fulfill self-actualization needs. For example: climbing Mount Everest.

The Push-and Pull Theory In 1977, Dann, a U.S. academic, put forward the push-pull theory of travel motivations. He considered that travel behavior was influenced by both push factors and pull factors. People travel because they are “pushed” into making travel decisions by internal, psychological forces, and “pulled” by the external forces of the destination attributes.

Travel Personality and General Personality Theories

Travel personality, general personality.

As stated before, motivation, opportunity, and ability are not the only determinants of tourist behavior. Personality influences traveling behavior too. For example, people who want to climb Mount Everest, in general, have certain personality traits in common.

Most of those people will have a tendency to sensation seeking, for climbing mountains is performing risky behavior.

The personality dimensions used are commonly used in personality psychology. Therefore it seems relevant to explore a few basic aspects of these theories. Four personality dimensions are used to describe tourists in order to indicate motivations for different types of travel:

  • Activation: A guest’s level of excitement, alertness or energy.
  • Variety: The need for change or novelty.
  • Extraversion or introversion: The extent to which a person is outgoing and uninhibited in interpersonal situations.
  • External or internal locus of control: The way people perceive whether or not they themselves are in charge of the happenings in their lives.

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Tourism Beast

Travel Motivation

There is always a motive behind everything happens in this world. Always there is a motivation in doing any work or anything. There are mainly two factors in behind happening anything it may be pull factors or push factors. In tourism, behind the movement of tourist there are various motives, it may may be leisure, business, pilgrimage or any other.

As we know tourism is a people centric and one of the fastest growing industry. Assessing behavior and motivations of tourist is a critical task as travel decisions of tourist depends on it. Travel has been a nomadic urge in human earlier in quest of food. As humanity grows desire for shelter came into being and with the rises of civilization search of trade bundles with safety and security. The game changing moment for mass tourism comes with the rise of leisure time. Assessing motivations of tourist is a critical task as travel decisions of tourist depends on it.

Motivation is an intrinsic property of a human-being that arises from the inside or of psychological origin. A combination of internal and external forces that motivates to drive the tourism industry. To satisfy all the levels of needs such psychological, physiological, etc. humans travels. It tells of tourist attempt to satisfy their recognized need and strongly influence decisions made by tourist in every steps of decision. Various theories have been developed to reveal the most important question why people travel?

The answer to this question is influenced by the nature of the travel motives.

4.  Types of Motivation  

Motivation can be classified into categories:  

1.  Intrinsic Motivation:  

this type of motivation comes from the inside through the core of the heart and mind of the tourist to do any specific work. t is defined as the performing of an activity for its intrinsic motivation that emerges from an individual’s inherent satisfactions, enjoyment, challenge entailed, interest or the feeling of inner pleasure that drives from the task rather than for some external pressures, or rewards or any separable consequence.

2. Extrinsic Motivation:  

  All the external factors which tends and individual to do any specific work. Individuals performs certain activities in order to attain or receive something from the outcomes. It involves executing an action influenced by the outer stimuli, to attain an external reinforcements or rewards from others such as money, praise, status etc.

Travel Motivation Theories

The tourist selecting to travel for business, leisure, pilgrimage, adventure or for other reasons, depends on motivation to visit destination. There are some common factors influencing tourist travel decisions such as 

•      Availability free time

•      Disposable income

•      Age and status

•      Attractiveness of destinations

A. Gray’s Travel-Motivation Theory .

 Gray explains the motivation of individual and given two motives for travel:


It describes the motive or the desire to go from a known to an unknown place. It is travelling from or leaving a familiar places to go and see different or unfamiliar places. It is about going to different destinations to experience monumental and socio-cultural heritage.

It is a type of travel to a destination that can provide the tourist with specific facilities or better amenities. It is travelling for particular purpose or facilities that are not available in place of residence of the tourist.

B. McIntosh and Goeldner Categorization of Travel Motivation 

McIntosh has stated that basic travel motivators may be grouped into four broad categories:  

1. Physical Motivators 

These types of motivation are concerned with the individual physical health and well-being involves physical relaxation and rest, sporting activities, medical care or treatment and specific remedial health management. It include physical motivators that are concern with health from recreation to attending yoga camp to medical treatment for upkeep of health. 

2.Interpersonal Motivators   

Human are social animal and always keen to make new friends, have a desire to visit and meet relatives and friends, or simply want to escape from the daily hassles of everyday life. These type of motivators are termed as interpersonal motivators.

3.Cultural Motivators

Cultural motivators are describe as curiosity that tourists have and want to experience different people’s cultures and lifestyle. These are related with tourists desire to travel to different destination, in order to know about other countries, people, their culture, tradition, life style, art, music etc.

4.Status and Prestige Motivators    

Tourists travel to secure respect among their friends or in family and recognition of education and knowledge or for pursuit of hobbies. These types of motivators are identified with the need for fame and status or of personal esteem and personal development. It also include travel for business or professional interests. 

C. Anomie and Ego Enhancement Motivation Theory

            Dann investigated two push factors and proposes that motivational factors can be grouped into anomie and ego enhancement. 

Anomie refers to the need and desire to rise above the feeling of loneliness and quarantine inherent in everyday life and to get away from daily hassles. It is associated with search for life’s meaning and interaction with family and friends and social communication. The anomic tourists are mainly young, married, male mostly repeat visitors. They are from urban and rural areas and are above-average socio-economic status.

2.Ego enhancement  

Ego-enhancement tourists are the opposite end of spectrum. It derived from desire and need for recognition. The individual’s desire and need for social recognition is mainly associated with it and is achieved through the status or ego enhance conferred by travel. Ego-enhancement tourists are likely to be female, married or single mostly first-time visitors. They are older than anomic tourists and typically from lower socio-economic group. 

Dann argues that push factors are logically, and often an antecedent to pull factors. The question that  ‘what makes tourists travel’  can only be recognized through the push factors. As the tourist to take two different difficult decisions at two diverse times i.e. “whether to go” and “where to go”. 

D. Push and Pull Theory

Crompton identified two different levels of socio-psychological motivation. The first level of motivation is the desire to travel, that drives the initial decision for a trip or a vacation. It subsequently facilitates individual’s decision for destination. The second level of motivation drives the decision of selection of destinations. After the initial decision for making a trip, various motivation factors comes into being that impact the selection of destination. Crompton proposes two groups of motives among pleasure vacationers, one that push for a trip or tour are socio-psychological motives, while another factors that pull are cultural motives. 

tourist travel motivation

1.Push Factors.   

Push factors are those factors which motivate people to travel. Push factors are initiating travel desire of an individual to engage in recreational activities or tourism. .Push factors are the inner motives which tends tourists to seek activities for needs fulfillment. Some push factors of travelling are:

•      Exploration and evaluation of self.

•      Escape from a perceived mundane environment.

•      Relaxation.

•      Health and fitness.

•      Re-experiencing family.

•      Facilitation of social interaction.

•      Enhancement of kinship relationships.

•      Novelty.

•      Cultural experiences.

•      Education.

•      Prestige.

2.Pull Factors 

All the external factors that pulls or attracts and individual towards some specific things or any destination. Pull factors appear due to the attractiveness and the attributes associated with the destination. It is related to the external condition, cognitive aspects or choices available on a destination such as attractions, climate, culture etc. Everyone has unique taste and choices which attract or pull individuals experience the destination. Identifying a set of pull factors that can be applicable to all sites is possible as different destinations have different or unique set of pull factors. 

Pull factors were characterized by  facilities ,  core attractions  and  landscape features .

•      The  facilities factor  encompasses all tourism facilities of a destination including fooding, lodging, roads, hospitality and security. 

•      The  core attractions  factor includes all those activities and services available for tourism. It includes sports activities, night life, entertainment and amusement and shopping facilities. 

•      The  landscape features  pull factor strongly relates to the geographical and sociocultural features of destination i.e. natural and cultural environment of destination. 

E. Escaping and Seeking Motivation of Mannell and Iso-Ahola

Mannell and Iso-Ahola   defined the motivation in socio psychological perspective. A two-dimensional model of tourist motivation where both the forces simultaneously influence tourists’ behaviour. The theory consists of both personal and interpersonal escape & seeking motives together. An individual perceive that satisfaction can be feel from leisure related activities, for two major reasons 

Escaping  – the desire to get out from the monotonous environment of work.

Seeking  – the aspiration to get intrinsic psychological rewards from other or self through traveling 

Tourist are motivated for leisure or tourism related activities in order to get away from the personal and/or interpersonal problems of day to day hustle and bustle of life and get personal and/or interpersonal rewards from passive and active tourism activities.

Personal rewards  are more about individual satisfaction includes exploration and relaxation; learning, challenge, a sense of competence etc.

Interpersonal rewards  are arising from social interaction with family and friends or with other people in destination.

Intrinsic rewards  arise from the activity that provide certain feelings, such as a feeling of mastery and escape from the monotonous environment. 

F. Travel Career Ladder (TCL)

The travel career ladder approach was proposed by Pearce. The approach is based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory of motivation. 

Following Maslow theory, the proposed model sees the needs of travelers is organized into a hierarchy or ladder model. Biological needs including relaxation at the foundation level, followed by safety needs and relationships needs, and in line selfesteem and development needs, and fulfillment needs at the highest level.  

The model identified five steps of hierarchy affecting tourist behaviour. It suggests that a group of needs in the ladder steps or level can be dominant at a particular time but travel motivation of tourist may derive from the different level of ladder. It emphasizes all the motives for traveling of a tourist, rather than a single motive. TCL proposes that every individual or tourist headway upward through hierarchy levels with accumulated travel experience and psychologically maturity. 

This shows that travel motivation changes as tourist acquire experiences in tourism developmental and dynamic motivations process. An individual can descend or ascend on the ladder as the direction of the change in level may vary with the experience. Some individuals may undergo every steps or level on either side of the model or may ascend the ladder on one side of the schema. Each individual every time not seek the similar type of experience or fulfillment from travel.  For example: First time visitor may be more cautious of safety and security then repeat visitor due more knowledge and experience about the destination or of trip. 

G. Travel Career Pattern (TCP)

The TCP model is modification of the earlier Travel Career Ladder (TCL) approach. The TCP emphasis on motivations patterns of tourist over their life cycle because of different motivation and its impact on their travelling experience. Travel experience plays a driver role for changing travel motivations which has crucial part in

TCP model. Travel experience is the collective changes in an individual’s perspective about self and environment due to tourism activities and events that individual passes through in course of travelling. 

Pearce suggested three layers of travel motivation:

Layer 1-  It is the core of the TCP and includes common motives such as escape, relaxation, health and fitness, social interaction etc. 

Layer 2-  It comprises series of moderately important motivators that surround core layer of motivations. It related to self-actualization and interaction of guest with the host society and environment. 

Layer 3-  The outer layer of model embraces motives with lesser importance such as social status and nostalgia.

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tourist travel motivation


Travel motives

Understanding tourists travel motives is crucial in several respects. Partly for tourism business owners who need to understand which needs their experiences should fulfil for tourists, but also for the various authorities planning for tourism development. It can also explain tourists’ (unsustainable or sustainable) behaviour on holiday and make it possible to counteract or encourage that behaviour.  

It’s important to clarify the definition of travel motive, especially in relation to the purpose of the journey. Motive isn’t the same thing as purpose. Motives are the underlying psychological reasons why we travel, and are often not openly taken into account, unlike the purpose of the trip. They reflect the needs of the individual and can often be hard to put into words.

One example: The purpose of my last trip to Stockholm was to meet friends and acquaintances as well as go to a music event. Those were my desired experiences and the purpose of the trip. Motive explains why we want to travel for that purpose and can in this case, for instance, be escapism (i.e. getting away from it all), relationships (strengthening and nurturing relationships with nearest and dearest) or nostalgia (seeing the band I’ve loved since I was a teenager). That it was Stockholm in particular that I travelled to was because I have friends there and the band was playing there that weekend. But it could just as easily have been another destination. In this context it’s also common to talk about push or pull factors , in other words factors that push you away from your home area and factors that pull you to various destinations. The former often includes motive, like the desire to escape day to day life (escapism) or to try and find something different (novelty seeking), whereas pull factors are specific attractions in destinations (read more about that later under Destinations’ Offers ).

Research on travel motive has discovered a number of different motivating factors and patterns, that often change depending on context and destination. Two theories have been important for the understanding of travel motive; Travel Career Ladder and Travel Career Pattern , which are partly based on Maslow’s well known Hierarchy of Needs. The latter progresses the former, and focuses on motivation patterns , in other words the many different motives that cluster together to form a tourist’s motivation to travel to a particular place. The Travel Career theory is important here, as well as motivation pattern. Someone who has visited every corner of the earth and travelled continuously for long periods has other motives than a first time traveller. The motives overlap each other but research has shown that in general there is a significant difference that is derived from a tourist’s prior experience of travelling.

Research shows that tourists with high travel experience want to distance themselves from other “tourists” (read: charter tourists) and see themselves as “travellers” and “explorers”. Consumption of (different kinds of) journeys consequently becomes an important strategy, which is used to differentiate themselves socially and culturally from others. In the table below we can see examples of which motives arise in connection to how experienced a tourist is.

Table 1: Motivational factors, travel career patterns (adapted from Pearce & Lee, 2005)

The table shows that there are four main motives which arise whatever the travel experience; Novelty Seeking , Escapism/Relaxation , Relationships and Self Development . The last two motives pull in different directions depending on the travel experience; internal or external ( personal developmen t versus host site involvement and security versus strengthen relationships ). The table also shows motives that are generally specific to those with lower travel experience.

Research on travel motives is often carried out on Western tourists. There’s a certain degree of variation in how strong the different travel motives are, but studies of Asian tourists, for instance, show bigger differences. For example prestige or self-actualization , and strengthening family relationships have been shown to be of greater importance in studies of Japanese tourists, and novelty seeking is less important in comparison. Other cultural contexts are said to be the largest reason for these differences.

Sources: Crompton, J. L., & McKay, S. L. (1997). Motives of visitors attending festival events. Annals of Tourism Research, 24(2), 425-439. Iso-Ahola, S. E. (1982). Toward a social psychological theory of tourism motivation: A rejoinder. Annals of Tourism Research, 9(2), 256-262.  Kim, S. S., & Prideaux, B. (2005). Marketing implications arising from a comparative study of international pleasure tourist motivations and other travel-related characteristics of visitors to Korea. Tourism Management, 26(3), 347-357. Munt, I. (1994). The ‘Other' postmodern tourism: Culture, Travel and the New Middle Classes. Theory, Culture & Society, 11(3), 101-123. Pearce, P. L., & Lee, U.-I. (2005). Developing the travel career approach to tourist motivation. Journal of Travel Research, 43(3), 226-237.  

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  • Published: 15 August 2023

Exploring motivation via three-stage travel experience: how to capture the hearts of Taiwanese family-oriented cruise tourists

  • Wen-Yu Chen 1 ,
  • Yu-Hsiang Fang 1 ,
  • Ya-Ping Chang 2 &
  • Cheng-Yi Kuo 3  

Humanities and Social Sciences Communications volume  10 , Article number:  506 ( 2023 ) Cite this article

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The cruise market has significant potential for family travel as birth rates continue to decline. To explore the reasons behind family cruise travel, passenger needs, and the three stages of cruise travel experience (anticipation, participation, and recall), this study employs qualitative research and in-depth survey methods. The study’s findings indicate that motivations for joining family cruise travel include "new experiences," "desire for cruise travel," "convenience," and "generating social topics/publicity." During the anticipation and recall stages, the most significant factors are the "port of call" and the "destination" of the cruise itinerary. Additionally, other important aspects include the dining options on the cruise. In the participation stage, the study reveals that cabins, entertainment, and special considerations for children hold particular significance. These results can provide valuable guidance in the planning of family cruise travel.

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Global tourism has witnessed significant growth in recent years, with the number of international tourists reaching approximately 1.326 billion in 2017, representing a 7% increase from the previous year (UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2021 ). The Asia-Pacific region accounted for a substantial portion of these tourists, with around 306 million visitors (Executive Yuan 2017 ). Among the contributing factors to the tourism market, the cruise industry has played a pivotal role, generating substantial value and promoting logistics business (Executive Yuan 2017 ). In 2018, the Cruise Lines International Association reported that approximately 28.5 million travelers embarked on cruises worldwide, with Asia experiencing a remarkable growth rate of 23% between 2013 and 2018, making it the third-largest cruise source market globally (CLIA 2018 a, 2018 b). The rapid development and prosperity of port cities in the Asia-Pacific region, including Taiwan, have been instrumental in driving the growth of the Asian cruise market (Chen 2016 ). Taiwan, with its advantageous geographical location, serves as a significant transportation hub and ranks among the top 10 cruise source markets in Asia (CLIA 2019 a, 2019 b, 2019 c; Tourism Bureau 2019 ).

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the global tourism industry, leading to severe economic consequences across various sectors, including cruises (Gössling et al. 2020 ; Seyfi et al. 2020 ). In 2020, the number of global tourists plummeted by 73% compared to the previous year, highlighting the extent of the pandemic’s impact (UNWTO 2021 ). The cruise industry, in particular, faced unprecedented challenges as many countries implemented strict measures, including port closures, flight restrictions, and travel bans, to curb the spread of the virus (Liu and Chang 2020 ; Yuen et al. 2021 ). Consequently, the number of cruise ships and passengers in Asia declined significantly (CLIA 2020 ).

To recover from the pandemic’s aftermath, the cruise industry needs to regain the trust and confidence of travelers by understanding their motivations and demands based on previous experiences (Pan et al. 2021 ). Family travel, a crucial market segment in tourism, offers opportunities to enhance the quality of family life and functioning (Wu et al. 2021 ). Following the epidemic, a surge in revenge tourism commenced, leading to a gradual recovery of the international cruise market, with a particular focus on the Asian market (CTWANT 2023 ). Investigating the phenomenon of "revenge travel" and exploring tourists’ motivations and demands through a three-stage travel experience can help identify significant market niches and attractive themes in family cruise travel (Shadel 2020 ). Family travel not only contributes to children’s development (Li et al. 2020 ) but also strengthens family connections, fosters unity, and promotes interaction, identity, and shared values (Wang et al. 2018 ).

Considering the diverse composition of family travel groups, such as nuclear families, single parents with children, and multigenerational families, cruises offer a wide range of experiences encompassing dining, shopping, activities, entertainment, and relaxation. Furthermore, cruises eliminate the need for itinerary planning, transportation arrangements, and local accommodation bookings (Polat 2015 ). Travel experiences are subjective and influenced by personal factors, situational elements, and interpersonal interactions (Zatori et al. 2018 ). These experiences are shaped by various activities, facilities, and products, while travelers’ perceptions and memories evolve over time (Lyu et al. 2018 ). A comprehensive travel experience that encompasses the stages before, during, and after the journey is essential for meaningful and transformative travel (Matson-Barkat and Robert-Demontrond 2018 ). While cruise tourism in Western countries has been extensively studied, there is a relative scarcity of research on family and children’s cruise travel experiences in the Eastern cruise market (Wondirad 2019 ). Given the significant role of children in family cruise travel, it is crucial to consider the perspectives of parents, grandparents, and children, taking into account cultural and familial differences (Wu and Wall 2016 ).

To conduct research on family cruise travel, it is important for tourism scholars to familiarize themselves with systems theory, which considers a family as a complex system where each member and their interactions contribute to the overall functioning of the family unit (Bowen 1978 ). This theory suggests that the experience of family cruise travel is influenced by various factors and individuals within the family system. When applying systems theory to family cruise travel, several key aspects become relevant. Firstly, the concept of interconnectedness emphasizes the impact of family members on each other. During a cruise, family members share common spaces, engage in activities together, and rely on each other for support and coordination, which necessitates an understanding of these interconnected dynamics to navigate conflicts, balance individual preferences, and foster positive interactions. Secondly, the establishment of clear boundaries within the family system is crucial. On a cruise, family members may need to negotiate boundaries related to personal space, privacy, and the balance between togetherness and individual autonomy, ensuring a healthy equilibrium throughout the trip.

Effective communication is vital in family cruise travel, and systems theory underscores the significance of open and clear communication channels within the family system. This involves encouraging active listening, expressing needs and concerns, and practicing empathy to enhance family communication and address any challenges or conflicts that may arise during the cruise. Furthermore, recognizing and understanding the roles and expectations of family members is essential. Different family members may assume various roles such as trip planner, organizer, or decision-maker, and discussing these roles and expectations in advance promotes shared responsibility, reduces stress, and encourages a collaborative approach to family cruise travel. Lastly, adaptability is emphasized by systems theory as a crucial aspect within the family system. Unexpected situations may arise during a cruise, such as itinerary changes, weather conditions, or differing preferences among family members. Being flexible and adaptable enables the family to navigate these challenges and adjust their plans accordingly, contributing to a smoother and more enjoyable cruise experience.

To investigate family cruise travel experiences, a three-stage model is adopted. The anticipation stage involves examining family members’ expectations regarding equipment, meals, activities, and facilities (Jamal et al. 2019 ). The cruise participation stage encompasses various aspects such as customized arrangements, shore excursions, and the implementation of onboard facilities (Radic 2019 ). Finally, the recall stage explores whether the cruise vacation met expectations, identifies the most memorable experiences, and assesses the likelihood of taking a cruise for future family travel (Chen and Rahman 2018 ). By exploring family cruise travel through these three stages, valuable insights can be gained into the motivations and overall experience of family travelers.

Literature review

Revenge travel and cruise travel.

In the context of revenge travel and its association with cruise travel, it is important to acknowledge the profound challenges and setbacks faced by the tourism industry, including the cruise travel sector, in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Pan et al. ( 2021 ), the pandemic has had a detrimental impact on the tourism industry, resulting in a 10.4% decrease in GDP and the loss of 319 million jobs. Wang and Xia ( 2021 ) emphasize that despite people’s reluctance to be confined, their desire to travel has grown stronger, as reported by Shadel ( 2020 ) in The Washington Post (The Harris Poll 2020 ). Consequently, the concept of "revenge travel" has emerged, referring to the potential for tourism to make a remarkable resurgence as more countries reopen their borders to eager tourists. Individuals are seeking to alleviate pandemic fatigue and boredom by embarking on travel experiences, following extended periods of confinement due to lockdowns and quarantine regulations. Furthermore, revenge travel encompasses the notion of compensating for lost time during the pandemic, often reflecting individuals’ frustration and anger regarding the disruption of their plans and daily routines (Mauran 2022 ).

Instead of seeking compensation from a specific destination, revenge travel seems to be motivated by a genuine passion for travel. CNN ( 2022 ) reports that many travelers are now willing to allocate more financial resources to their vacations compared to previous years. Within the realm of leisure travel, cruise travel can be regarded as a prominent form due to its distinctive characteristics and the array of experiences it provides to passengers. Leisure travel, broadly defined, involves travel primarily undertaken for recreational, relaxation, and personal enjoyment purposes rather than for business or work-related reasons. It encompasses activities that enable individuals to unwind, explore new destinations, partake in leisurely pursuits, and escape from their daily routines (Wang and Xia 2021 ).

Cruise travel stands as one of the most lucrative, popular, and rapidly expanding sectors within the tourism industry. It combines elements of accommodation, leisure, entertainment, dining, and sightseeing, generating substantial revenue and employment opportunities across various locations (Han and Hyun 2019 ). As the European and American markets reach saturation, the cruise industry has shifted its focus toward developing the Asian market (Chen, 2016 ), which currently holds the position as the world’s third-largest cruise market, following North America and Western Europe (CLIA 2019 a, 2019 b, 2019 c). Modern cruise ships have evolved beyond mere transportation vessels to become floating resorts, offering enticing destinations, a wide range of leisure and entertainment options, diverse dining experiences, shopping facilities, theaters, and swimming pools (Toh et al. 2005 ). In response to changing holiday preferences, the cruise tourism industry has diversified its product offerings, introducing new destinations, revamped cruise experiences, innovative services, facilities, shore tourism activities, and themed cruises (Rodrigue and Notteboom 2013 ).

CLIA ( 2018 a, 2018 b) has identified 11 major trends in cruise travel: 1) Instagrammable experiences; 2) total restoration; 3) achievement travel; 4) personalized on-board technology; 5) conscious travel; 6) inaccessible destinations; 7) Generation Z preferences; 8) off-peak adventures; 9) working nomads; 10) female-centered cruising; and 11) solo travel. These trends reflect the changing needs and preferences of cruise customers and the industry’s response to those needs by combining nature, history, culture, technology, and new experiences to create a richer travel experience (Chen 2016 ). As the Asian cruise industry develops, there is a growing focus on family groups, providing an unforgettable cruise experience for all ages (Taiwan International Ports Corporation, Ltd. 2019 a, 2019 b). Disney Cruises is a cruise brand that specializes in serving parent-child families and has won the "Best Family Cruise" title for several years, with children’s programs and entertainment activities being their most popular features (Disney Cruise Line 2019 ). With Asian tourists being the largest group of parent-child families during the summer vacation, the cruise company has optimized parent-child activities and increased entertainment experiences, including partnering with Discovery to create exploration camps and recreational games for different age groups (Princess 2018 ). Cruise companies continue to innovate and cater to the changing needs of the family travel market through the design and planning of various cruise travel products (Radic 2019 ).

Family travel and motivations

Tourism is an essential element in personal development, as it provides a platform for various types of learning and broadens one’s horizons (Li et al. 2020 ). The family travel market is a large and expanding segment of the tourism industry. Family travel has evolved from a form of relaxation to a way of reconnecting with loved ones (Brey and Lehto 2008 ). Today, family travel may include three generations, large families, or single parents traveling with children (Schänzel and Yeoman 2015 ). Families travel together to create memories, bond, and engage in activities that facilitate children’s learning and development (Li et al. 2020 ). Family travel refers to a trip where at least two family members travel and spend more than 24 h away from home to enhance family cohesion and create lasting memories (Kennedy-Eden and Gretzel 2016 ). Family leisure is positively related to family satisfaction and cohesion (Lehto et al. 2012 ). Zabriskie and McCormick ( 2001 ) classify family leisure as either core or balanced, with the former being low-cost and easy, while the latter requiring more time, money, or planning. Although the frequency of balanced leisure may be lower, the experiences and memories created are often more significant. Family travel, as a form of balanced leisure, increases intimacy and cohesion among family members (Lehto et al. 2016 ), and contributes to the development of children.

Numerous studies have explored the decision-making process involved in family tourism. When planning a family trip, it is crucial to consider various factors, such as destination, vacation time, budget, attractions, activities, and accommodation, all of which require family members to discuss and agree upon. These decisions are influenced by the family’s situation, age, and socioeconomic status (Kang and Hsu 2004 ). As times have changed, family decision making has become more democratic, shifting from the traditional parent-dominated approach to a more child-influenced process (Jamal et al. 2019 ). Although children may not have the final say in decisions, they still play a crucial role in influencing the process (Curtale 2018 ).

Previous studies have primarily focused on cruise traveler satisfaction, value, and trust (Wu et al. 2018 ), motivation and experience (Hung and Petrick 2011 ; Han and Hyun 2018 ), the environmental impact of the cruise industry (MacNeill and Wozniak 2018 ), and the Western child cruise experience (Radic, 2019 ). With changing lifestyles and travel patterns, more Asians are opting for cruises as their preferred travel choice (Chen 2016 ). However, very few studies have examined Eastern family cruise travel, and there are some differences between Western and Asian tourists (Wu et al. 2018 ). For example, while Western children often desire to have their own cruise experiences and make new friends, Asian families tend to focus on creating shared memories (Wu et al. 2019 ).

The topic of travel motivation is significant and the push-pull factor is a commonly used theory to explain it. The push factor is driven by inner desires such as the need for relaxation, adventure, knowledge acquisition, family reunion, and pressure. On the other hand, the pull factor is driven by the unique attributes of the destination, such as recreational facilities, historical culture, natural resources, beaches, and scenery (Sung et al. 2015 ). Various studies have explored travel motivation, including adventure tourism loyalty (Sato et al. 2018 ), wildlife tourism satisfaction in national parks (Mutanga et al. 2017 ), and slow travel motivation (Özdemir and Çelebi 2018 ). Some studies have also examined the travel motivation of specific groups, such as elderly travelers abroad (Wijaya et al. 2018 ) and hearing-impaired backpackers (Ho and Peng 2017 ). According to Li et al. ( 2017 ), family travel is motivated by spending quality time with children, creating pleasant memories, learning and development, self-compensation, and compensation for children. Four dimensions of motivation have been identified in cruise tourism, including self-esteem and social recognition, escape and relaxation, learning, discovery, and thrill, and bonding (Han and Hyun 2019 ). Tourists take a cruise to get a worry-free and relaxing vacation and escape from everything (Mancini 2010 ). This study specifically focuses on the motivation of family members in choosing a cruise for family travel.

Tourist satisfaction and their willingness to revisit are directly influenced by their travel experience (Buhalis and Amaranggana 2015 ). According to Kong and Chang ( 2016 ), tourists construct their travel experience through various activities from the decision to travel until the end of the tour. Campos et al. ( 2015 ) suggested that travel experience is created through activity participation and interaction. The composition of travel experience is diverse and includes education, aesthetics, escape from reality, and entertainment (Stamboulisa and Skayannisb, 2003 ). Seyfi et al. ( 2020 ) noted that everyone has different travel experiences due to their different backgrounds, values, attitudes, beliefs, and environments, including within different generations of family members (Li et al. 2020 ). Walls et al. ( 2011 ) proposed that physical experience, human interaction, individual characteristics, and situational factors all affect travel experience.

Certain events can make a travel experience unforgettable (Kim et al. 2010 ), particularly when children participate in family travel and contribute to their parents’ enjoyment (Li et al. 2020 ). Unforgettable memories may be the most valuable source of information for tourists when deciding to revisit a specific destination (Chandralal and Valenzuela 2013 ) because people believe that past experiences are a reliable reference for future decisions (Chen and Rahman 2018 ). Kim et al. ( 2010 ) developed a scale with seven dimensions to measure memorable tourism experiences, including hedonism, refreshment, local culture, meaningfulness, knowledge, involvement, and novelty. This scale was adopted by Zhang et al. ( 2017 ) to explore Korean tourists’ perception image, memorable tourism experience, and willingness to revisit China, and by Seyfi et al. ( 2020 ) to develop a scale for memorable cultural tourism experiences with six dimensions: prior perceived significance of the experience, authenticity, engagement, cultural exchange, culinary attraction, and quality of service.

Several studies have identified multiple stages of travel experience, such as the five stages of recreational experience proposed by Clawson and Knetsch ( 1966 ): anticipation, outbound, on-site experience, return, and recall stages. Park and Santos ( 2016 ) discussed tourist experience using the three stages of before, during, and after travel, and Radic ( 2019 ) used the three stages of pre-travel planning and decision making, cruise participation, and reinterpretation and evaluation to study children’s experience with cruises. However, regardless of the number of stages, a memorable, interesting, and attractive experience can occur in each stage. Therefore, this study focuses on the three stages of travel experience and their application to family cruise travel.


Research process and subjects.

To gain a deeper understanding of the respondents’ memories, feelings, and opinions about their own experiences, this research utilizes in-depth interviews. Qualitative research methods are necessary to explore the "why" behind the respondents’ experiences and obtain more complete information (Milena et al. 2008 ; Patton 2005 ). In-depth interviews are used with content analysis to collect interviewees’ opinions, views, and attitudes about a particular incident to gain a deeper understanding of the issue (Tsaur and Huang 2015 ). The three steps of content analysis, including dividing and condensing, coding, and establishing category and theme, are applied to improve the quality of inferences and provide an understanding of the knowledge and phenomena of the research (Downe‐Wamboldt 1992 ; Erlingsson and Brysiewicz 2017 ). Content analysis is also suitable for more difficult, special, and sensitive fields (Bogner et al. 2009 ).

Consequently, qualitative research was employed in the present study to gather pertinent information. Initially, the questionnaire for the in-depth interviews was designed based on previous research. The questions were subsequently revised after undergoing expert review, which involved four professionals: a cruise tourism expert, a travel agent, and two scholars specializing in tourism-related fields. The expert interviews aided in shaping the questionnaire for the subsequent stage of in-depth family interviews (please refer to Fig. 1 for the research framework flow). The experts were invited to review and modify the questionnaire, offering suggestions to enhance its design. Table 1 provides background information on the four experts.

figure 1

The research framework involved utilizing expert interviews to help formulate the questionnaire used in the subsequent phase of conducting in-depth family interviews.

Furthermore, to identify suitable cruise travel families for this study, the participants were primarily recruited through the following sources: (1) Families who had previously taken cruises were introduced to the researchers by experienced tour guides who had led cruise tours. (2) Qualified volunteers were invited from cruise travel Facebook communities. (3) Employing the snowball sampling method, the researchers reached out to families who had previously traveled on cruises through referrals from cruise travel agencies and interviewees who had organized cruise trips. The interviewed family members primarily consisted of those who had at least one experience of cruise travel and had traveled on cruises with their children. Only these families were selected as participants for this study.

A total of 13 families were interviewed to explore their motivations and experiences of cruise travel, while the dimensions of cruise tourism services were examined through a literature review. The initial scale was evaluated for content and face validity by the experts, all of whom held master’s degrees or higher education, with three of them having experience in leading family groups. The questionnaire for the in-depth family interviews was divided into three parts: "before (anticipation)," "during (participation)," and "after (recall)" of the cruise travel, in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the respondents’ experiences.

Development of research questionnaires and data collection

Cruising is a mode of transportation that combines travel and lodging, offering a range of amenities, activities, and shore excursions (Sun et al. 2014 ). In recent years, there has been a surge in innovative facilities, routes, destinations, and exclusive experiences (Rodrigue and Notteboom 2013 ). In Asia, cruise tourism has gained popularity with great potential (Chen 2016 ). Theme cruises have emerged as a trend, and they can be categorized into three types: specific themes with onboard activities and arrangements, specific groups such as seniors and parent-child travelers, and charter boats where the itinerary is planned by a corporation or organization (Weaver 2011 ). Consequently, this research defines cruise travel as the use of cruises as the primary means of transportation, combined with lodging, dining, entertainment, and shore excursions.

Family travel involves the departure of at least two family members from their home for a period exceeding one day (Kennedy-Eden and Gretzel 2016 ). According to Gram ( 2005 ), the objective of family travel is to engage in collective activities, explore new destinations, and forge lasting memories as a family. Parents dedicate their time, effort, and finances to curate an unforgettable vacation experience for their children (Hilbrecht et al. 2008 ). As people live longer, the structure of families is undergoing vertical development, with grandparents increasingly developing strong bonds with their grandchildren, leading to a growing trend of traveling together (Schänzel and Yeoman 2015 ).

In Taiwan, the family composition has witnessed significant changes in recent times. Traditionally, Taiwanese families adhered to the nuclear family model, consisting of two parents and their children. However, social and economic factors have contributed to the evolution of family composition. Currently, the most prevalent family compositions in Taiwan include nuclear families, single-parent families, and multi-generational families comprising three generations (National Development Council 2023 ). Understanding the dynamics of family composition holds paramount importance in the context of family cruise travel for several reasons.

Firstly, tailored services are necessary to address the distinct needs and preferences associated with different family compositions. By comprehending the family composition within their target market, cruise operators can customize their offerings and amenities to cater to the specific requirements of each family type. For instance, single-parent families may benefit from accommodations designed for smaller groups or specialized activities tailored to their needs. Secondly, accommodation considerations play a crucial role, as family cruise ships must provide suitable lodging options for families with varying compositions. This may involve offering larger cabins or connecting rooms to accommodate nuclear families or multi-generational families. Understanding the family composition assists cruise operators in allocating resources and designing accommodations accordingly.

Thirdly, activity planning should take into account the diverse interests and preferences of different family compositions, both onboard and during shore excursions. By considering the family composition, cruise operators can provide a wide range of activities and experiences that cater to the specific needs and desires of each family type. This ensures the participation and enjoyment of all family members throughout the cruise. Lastly, pricing and package strategies can be tailored based on family composition. For instance, family packages may include discounts for children or special rates for single parents. Understanding the family composition enables cruise operators to develop pricing strategies that appeal to different family types and maximize their market reach.

Consequently, comprehending the family composition in Taiwan is of great significance in the realm of family cruise travel, as it empowers cruise operators to offer customized services, appropriate accommodations, diverse activities, and suitable pricing structures for various family types. By addressing the specific needs and preferences associated with each family composition, cruise operators can enhance the overall travel experience and attract a broader spectrum of family travelers. Furthermore, within the context of this research, a family traveler is defined as a parent or single parent who brings at least one child under the age of 18, with or without the inclusion of grandparents. The travel experience, as defined by this research, encompasses the various encounters tourists face at different stages of their trip (Radic 2019 ). Considering the nature of cruise travel, this research divides the travel experience into three stages: the anticipation stage prior to boarding the cruise, the cruise participation stage, and the recall stage. Hence, travel experience is delineated as the three stages of the travel journey, allowing for an examination of distinct experiences at each stage.

Three stages of cruise travel experience

The interview questions for this study are based on Hung and Petrick’s ( 2011 ) research, which identified four categories of motivation for cruise travel: self-esteem and social recognition, escape and relaxation, learning, discovery, and thrill, and bonding. The study focuses on the three stages of cruise travel experience: anticipation, participation, and recall, drawing on Juan and Chen’s ( 2011 ) exploration of Taiwanese cruise passengers’ behavior at different stages, the factors influencing cruise vacation decisions (Bahja et al. 2018 ), and research on children’s cruise experiences (Radic 2019 ).

In the anticipation stage, Juan and Chen ( 2011 ) found that price, trip duration, desires of companions, activities, and facilities were the main determinants of cruise trip selection. However, as this study focuses on family travel, desires of companions were modified to desires of family members. Bahja et al. ( 2018 ) examined the relative importance of six factors in cruise customers’ decision-making process: cruise vacation price, duration, distance from the cruise port, itinerary, environmental friendliness of the cruise line, and online reviews. Radic ( 2019 ) found that cruise brand, activities, and ports of call were significant considerations for tourists. Consistent with these studies, the factors considered by cruise tourists in this study were price, number of days, cruise brand, activities, equipment, itinerary (port of call and destination), family members’ desires, and online reviews of cruise ships. The study further explores the differences in family members’ considerations for cruise travel during the anticipation and recall stages.

Service dimensions during the cruise travel experience stages

Drawing on previous research on group package travel (Wang et al. 2000 ), Taiwanese cruise travelers’ behavior at different experience stages (Juan and Chen 2011 ), cruise experience (Hwang and Han 2014 ), and factors influencing Taiwanese women’s choice of cruise travel (Chen et al. 2019 ), the study developed 11 in-depth interview questions. These questions cover a range of aspects such as cruise characteristics, cabins, restaurants, facilities, entertainment activities, tour guides, shopping, exclusive activities for children, work teams, self-financed activities, and other relevant factors.

The experts have revised the questions, resulting in the following dimensions of motivation. For the motivation dimension of self-esteem and social recognition, the aspects are as follows: 1. Impress others; 2. Receive high praise from others; 3. Feel like a better person; 4. Obtain a high-quality vacation; 5. Enhance self-worth; 6. Achieve a sense of accomplishment; 7. Capture exotic photos to show off to friends. For the motivation dimension of escape and relaxation, the aspects are as follows: 1. Have fun; 2. Enjoy the freedom to do what I want; 3. Escape from everyday life; 4. Relax physically and mentally. For the motivation dimension of learning/discovery and novelty/excitement, the aspects are as follows: 1. Enjoy nature; 2. Gain knowledge; 3. Experience other cultures; 4. Enjoy exciting activities. For the motivation dimension of socialization, the aspects are as follows: 1. Make new friends; 2. Meet different people. For the motivation dimension of interpersonal connection, the aspects are as follows: 1. My friends or family members want to go on a cruise travel; 2. I can interact with my friends or family members during the trip.

The experts made several modifications to the factors that influence customers’ choices in the anticipation and recall stages. These factors include price, duration of travel, cruise brand, activities, cruise equipment, cruise itinerary (destination and ports of call), family members’ desire for cruise travel, online reviews, and travel agency. Cruise reviews, including online reviews, newspapers, magazines, and word of mouth, replaced online reviews. In the participation stage, the experts recommended that cruise tonnage be used as a reference criterion for cruise features, and added court and cinema to facilities, friendliness to tour leaders as an important consideration, and duty-free shopping to the shopping section. The service enthusiasm of the service team was also added as a criterion. The experts also proposed two types of briefing for tourists, one for participation in activities at their own expense and another for the introduction to tourist attractions and transportation from the pier to the tourist attractions. Based on these modifications, the experts suggested some service dimensions for the participation stage that would be further explored in the follow-up in-depth interviews.

This study conducted in-depth interviews with family tourists through online video. The interviews lasted for 30 min to 1 h and were recorded with consent, with one family member representing and sharing the thoughts and opinions of other family members. Thirteen families were interviewed, and the respondents were referred to as A-M. The study provides demographic data, motivations, and descriptions of the three-stage service aspects of the cruise travel experience: anticipation, experience, and recall. The majority of the interviewees were middle-aged parents with the final say in cruise travel, with 38.5% being male and 61.5% being female. 46.2% of the interviewees were aged 42–50. Regarding family income, 69.2% were double-income families, and 30.8% were single-income families. Most of the interviewees (76.9%) had a family income of over TWD 140,001. Less than half (46.2%) worked in the business industry, and the majority held a bachelor’s degree (53.8%). Nuclear families accounted for 69.2%, followed by extended families (23.1%) and single-parent families (7.7%). The largest group of travelers was 4–6 people (46.2%), and the largest percentage of accompanying children was 1 (53.8%), followed by 2 (38.5%), and 3 (7.7%), with a maximum of 20 children. The age range of the children was 0–6 years old (nine children), 7–12 years old (seven children), and 13–18 years old (four children). The largest destination was Northeast Asia (69.2%), followed by Europe (15.4%), Southeast Asia (7.7%), and Mexico (7.7%). The most common travel duration was 2–7 days (84.6%), and 53.8% of the interviewees indicated that they had gone on a cruise once, followed by four times (30.8%) and twice (15.4%). Please see Table 2 .

Furthermore, to establish the validity of the interview items and analyze the data, content analysis was employed in this study. The initial step in the data analysis process involved extracting the units of analysis. As per Wang et al. ( 2009 ), graduate students specializing in tourism marketing were invited to serve as judges and perform naming and content categorization based on the verbatim transcripts. In this study, graduate students from the tourism research institute with practical experience and an academic background in tourism were selected as Judges A and B. Both judges carefully read and categorized each basic unit of analysis, repeating the process until a consensus was reached. Interjudge and intrajudge reliability tests were subsequently conducted to assess consistency among different judges and over different time periods for the same judges, respectively.

To ensure the reliability of the classifications, intrajudge and interjudge reliability tests were conducted at different time periods. Keaveney ( 1995 ) suggests that intrajudge and interjudge reliability should exceed 0.80. After one week, Judge A and Judge B were asked to classify the data again for the intrajudge reliability test. Additionally, Judge C, a project director with 11 years of experience in the travel agency industry, was invited to classify the data and conduct the interjudge reliability test. The results demonstrated an intrajudge reliability of 0.96 and an interjudge reliability of 0.97, indicating the reliability of the classification results in this study. The interview transcripts of family tourists were analyzed and compiled into a data summary presented in Table 3 . Moreover, to enhance the credibility and validity of the content analysis results, this study employed not only triangulation among Judges A, B, and C but also utilized the data triangulation method proposed by Mhyre ( 2010 ). By comparing and confirming the perspectives of the interviewed family participants, travel agency expert, cruise industry expert, and tourism scholars, the study achieved the purpose and effectiveness of data triangulation.

Anticipation stage

The majority of interviewees expressed their desire for a high-quality travel experience, which is influenced by the characteristics, quality, and level of the cruise ship, as it can enhance their self-esteem and social recognition.

Obtaining top-notch travel experiences is the paramount aspect of embarking on a cruise, as it eliminates the need for personal itinerary and meal arrangements.
You know, considering a cruise as an accomplishment is important because it’s like fulfilling a personal goal. When there’s a new cruise available, you can’t help but feel excited to embark on it and experience something new. It’s a way to discover and understand yourself better, which is truly fulfilling.

In terms of seeking escape and relaxation, all interviewees mentioned that cruising is an ideal way for families to unwind and rejuvenate their bodies, minds, and souls, as it saves transportation time and includes accommodation, food, and activities.

You know, one of the things I love about being on a cruise is that internet access can be quite pricey. So, I’ve made a conscious choice to disconnect from the online world for a little while and simply relax. It’s a chance to take a break from constant connectivity and truly unwind during my cruise experience.
Travel has the power to uplift your spirits, with a cruise offering the added benefits of delightful culinary experiences and a plethora of engaging activities. Moreover, the opportunity to disembark at various destinations for sightseeing adds to the overall relaxation and enjoyment of the trip.

Additionally, cruising provides opportunities for learning/discovery and novelty/stimulation, as it exposes children to different cultures through various activities and services.

On a cruise, you’ll encounter people from diverse countries, alongside a wide range of activities and gourmet dining options. It’s an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in various cultures and expand your children’s international perspectives. They can gain a broader understanding of the world by experiencing different customs and interacting with people from around the globe.
The cruise offers a plethora of activities for everyone to engage in, especially children who have the chance to independently explore and discover new things. This self-driven exploration can lead to valuable personal growth and learning experiences for them.

Although socialization is not a primary motivation, it was found that cruising can foster social connections with old friends and increase family cohesion.

When I travel with friends and family, my focus primarily remains on spending time with them rather than actively seeking new acquaintances.
You know, one of the great things about being on a cruise is that using mobile phones is not as common. This actually works out in our favor because it means the family gets to spend more time together. Without the constant distraction of phones, we all actively participate in activities together, strengthening our family relationships and creating lasting memories. It’s a wonderful opportunity to truly connect with one another and make the most of our time together on the cruise.

Furthermore, this study identified other motivations such as the desire for new experiences, the convenience of cruising, and the potential for generating social topics and publicity. In this stage, the interviewees ranked the following factors in order of importance, with 1 being the most important and 9 being the least important: itinerary (port of call, destination), price, travel days, brand, equipment, activities, reviews (online, newspapers and magazines, and word of mouth from relatives and friends), family members’ travel desire, and travel agencies. The mean value was 4.00, and the standard deviation was 2.16, as shown in Table 4 .

Participation stage

Families take into consideration various features such as tonnage, style, and age when selecting a cruise.

I intend to select a cruise ship that possesses substantial tonnage and offers a comparatively high level of stability.
Considering the presence of my children, my preference lies in selecting a family-oriented cruise ship that caters to their needs and provides a suitable environment for them.
The newly launched cruise ship offers upgraded facilities and rooms, which are both modern and superior in quality.

All interviewees preferred cabins with balconies or external windows, and expressed concern about the size of the beds.

Having a balcony is a must when embarking on a cruise, as it adds an element of pleasure to the experience. The ability to savor a cup of coffee or enjoy breakfast on the balcony is truly delightful.
I desire a more spacious cruise cabin to ensure a higher level of comfort during my stay.
When embarking on a cruise, the aspects of dining and resting take center stage, making the size, comfort, and amenities of the bed crucial factors to consider.

The diversity of restaurant options, including Chinese cuisine and kids’ bars, was also a significant consideration.

The restaurant ought to offer a diverse selection of dishes that cater to both adults and children, providing ample choices for everyone.
I would prioritize considering a cruise ship that provides Chinese cuisine as an option, as it can be comforting to have familiar food available in case I am not accustomed to other cuisines.

Essential facilities such as water facilities, swimming pools, and courts were important, along with entertainment options such as shows.

A swimming pool, particularly one with a water slide, is a necessity as our children thoroughly enjoy water play.
Ample space for recreational activities, such as basketball courts and table tennis rooms, is essential to ensure that everyone can participate and enjoy playing together.
The presence of visually captivating shows or performances holds significant importance, as well as the availability of evening venues for entertainment, considering that certain places like casinos are not suitable for children.
While strolling around, one might encounter bustling crowds of people, indicating the presence of impromptu performances that can pleasantly catch you by surprise.
Our family thoroughly enjoys open-air cinemas, where we can leisurely recline and relish movies accompanied by the refreshing sea breeze.

Simple souvenirs were preferred for shopping, while parents emphasized the importance of children’s exclusive activities and programs.

During shopping hours, the outlet often offers clearance prices, providing excellent opportunities to purchase items at significantly reduced and affordable rates.
The primary focus of our shopping is not on high-end consumption. Instead, we tend to select items that can be used as gifts upon disembarking from the cruise ship.
Given that my child is quite young, I will request the assistance of the kids club in looking after them, thereby granting me the opportunity to enjoy some personal space and leisure time.
In order to accommodate family outings, which primarily revolve around children, it is essential to have dedicated activities specifically designed for them.

Good service was a priority, as long as basic needs were met.

The housekeepers play a crucial role as they not only provide directions to your room if needed but also engage in friendly interactions with the children, adding a touch of interactivity to the experience.
The event staff will inquire about our requirements and ensure that the services we need are provided to us.

Families also planned their own shore tourism activities and placed a high value on security.

Safety, particularly when traveling with children, should be prioritized and given heightened attention on a cruise ship.

Recall stage

During the recall stage, family members have varying factors to consider when planning their next cruise travel. These factors are ranked in order of importance, with 1 being the most important and 9 being the least important. The primary considerations are itinerary, including the port of call and destination, followed by the number of days, brand, price, facilities, family members’ desire for a cruise, activities, evaluation, and travel agencies. Additionally, food is an important factor with a mean score of 4.00 and a standard deviation of 1.00, as shown in Table 5 .

Tables 4 and 5 present comparative analyses of factor rankings in two distinct stages, namely the anticipation stage and the recall stage. These stages correspond to the decision-making processes of individuals regarding their upcoming cruise travel. The focus is placed on evaluating the relative significance of various factors in the decision-making hierarchy. The following discussion summarizes the key findings derived from comparing the two tables:

In both the anticipation and recall stages, itinerary emerges as the foremost influential factor, as it attains the highest ranking in both tables. However, there exists a slight disparity in the mean scores and standard deviations associated with itinerary between the two stages. The factor of price consistently retains a considerable level of importance in both stages. Nonetheless, its ranking undergoes a transition from the second position in the anticipation stage to the fourth position in the recall stage. Notably, the mean score for price exhibits an increase in the recall stage as compared to the anticipation stage. Travel days continue to hold significance as a factor influencing decision-making in both the anticipation and recall stages. However, there is a change in its ranking, with travel days occupying the third position in the anticipation stage and the second position in the recall stage.

The importance attributed to brand remains relatively stable across both stages. Although there is a slight alteration in its ranking, the variance is minimal. Equipment. The significance of equipment exhibits consistency in both the anticipation and recall stages, with only a slight enhancement in its mean score during the recall stage. Activities, Reviews, Family members’ travel desire, and Travel agencies. The rankings of these factors differ between the anticipation and recall stages while maintaining a consistent overall trend of importance. Notably, food emerges as a vital factor during the recall stage, attaining a mean score of 4.00 and a standard deviation of 1.00.

To summarize, while certain factors retain their importance throughout both the anticipation and recall stages, there are disparities in rankings, as well as minor variations in mean scores and standard deviations for specific factors. Furthermore, the recall stage introduces food as a salient consideration, which is not explicitly highlighted in the anticipation stage.

Conclusion and discussion

The study’s findings revealed that motivation for cruise travel varied across several aspects. The "self-esteem and social recognition" aspect aimed to improve the quality of tourism and achieve a sense of accomplishment. "Escape and relax" emphasized relaxation of the body and mind. "Learning/discovering and novel/stimulating" involved experiencing diverse cultures and discovering new things. Experiencing a variety of cultures and uncovering novel aspects can be both educational and exciting. This parallels the concept of immersing oneself in the distinctive local essence of a culture, which has the potential to enhance tourists’ satisfaction (Dai et al. 2019 ). "Socialization" referred to meeting new people and making friends. "Interpersonal connection" pertained to the interaction between family members and friends. The results of "escape and relax" and "learning/discovering and novel/stimulating" were consistent with those of Hung and Petrick’s ( 2011 ) study.

In the Hsu and Li ( 2017 ) research, Hsu and Li directed their attention towards emerging markets in Asia, particularly Mainland China and Hong Kong. Their objective was to create a cruise motivation scale that encompassed several factors including novelty, escape, nature, leisure, social interaction, relaxation, relationship, and isolation. However, the present study shifts its focus to the motivations of family-oriented cruise tourists during the three-stage travel experience. The findings of this study indicate that family interaction holds greater importance compared to socialization. Additionally, the study identifies other motivations such as the pursuit of new experiences, a desire for cruise travel, convenience, and the generation of social topics or publicity.

The participation and recall stages of cruise travel planning highlighted the importance of itinerary, followed by the number of travel days, cruise brand, travel agency, and meals. In summary, Taiwan’s cruises are primarily chartered, and it is suggested to develop additional ports of call to strengthen tourists’ behavioral intentions while planning the itinerary. Additionally, travel agencies should differentiate their marketing and services to attract consumers. In contrast to Westerners, Asians prefer spending time together in activities (Chen et al. 2016 ), which can be attributed to the individualism cultural dimension theory (Hofstede 2001 ). Therefore, more activities should be designed for parent-child participation, which can enhance their relationship through family travel (Wu et al. 2019 ). The study also found that consumers attach considerable importance to the tonnage of cruise ships, as larger ships offer more facilities and activities.

According to Han and Hyun ( 2019 ), cruise travel is also motivated by learning, exploration, and excitement. Facilities such as waterslides and rock climbing are particularly appealing to children. With the rise of the internet, cruise companies can utilize social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and internet celebrities for advertising. Previous studies on cruises have examined tourist satisfaction, environmental impact, and the effects on ports. For instance, Wu et al. ( 2018 ) investigated the satisfaction and quality of experience of cruise tourists. However, these studies have largely focused on the Western cruise market, and there has been relatively little research on family cruise travel with children or the Asian cruise market (Wondirad 2019 ). Furthermore, the participation stage of cruise travel is seldom explored. Radic ( 2019 ) divided the experience into three stages: pre-tour planning and decision making, cruise participation stage, and reinterpretation and evaluation, to investigate children’s experiences on cruises.

Based on the study’s findings, family members are motivated to go on cruises to seek new experiences, convenience, generate social topics/publicity, and fulfill their desire to travel. In the anticipation and recall stages of their travel experience, tourists prioritize the cruise itinerary, while during the participation stage, they value cabin space, exclusive activities for children, and clubs that cater to family members’ needs. Family travel is an opportunity for children to explore the world, foster interests and interpersonal interaction, and strengthen familial relationships. To attract more families to choose cruise travel, tourism operators and cruise companies should tailor their strategies to the needs and motivations of their target market. However, the COVID-19 pandemic may negatively impact travel choices, and cruise companies should adapt by tailoring their offerings to suit different demands and motivations.

Taiwan stands as one of the top ten cruise tourist markets in Asia, making significant practical contributions (CLIA 2019 a, 2019 b, 2019 c). The number of tourists continues to grow, particularly in the parent-child segment, leading to the emergence of numerous parent-child hotels, restaurants, attractions, and tourism options. Engaging children in outdoor activities during family trips enables them to learn through hands-on experiences. By interacting with parents and receiving guidance, children can explore the world, develop interests, socialize, and strengthen family bonds (Global views 2023 ).

To attract more tourists to choose cruises for family trips, tourism operators and shipping companies must understand the motivations behind tourists’ choices, especially considering that modern travelers tend to avoid group travel, and cruise travel is a niche market. Hence, it is crucial to develop corresponding strategies. This study aims to collect and analyze factors valued by family tourists throughout the three stages of cruise travel. Based on interviews, the following suggestions are proposed, 1. Increase advertising exposure. 2. Introduce different cruise fleets or brands. 3. Offer new destinations and short-day travel arrangements. 4. Implement differentiated marketing strategies for travel agencies. 5. Enhance on-board activities, software, and hardware adjustments and updates.

These research findings can serve as references for future operators seeking to attract family groups. Additionally, they provide insight into improving the criteria for the anticipation stage, guiding itinerary design, and shaping sales considerations during the recall stage. Ultimately, these efforts aim to make cruising the top choice for families who have never experienced it before or for those who have taken a cruise and wish to repeat the experience.

This study had several limitations that should be acknowledged. Firstly, the sample size was small, consisting of only 13 families who were interviewed using a snowballing research method. Moreover, the interviews were conducted with only one family member, which may not have fully captured the opinions and perspectives of other family members. The reliance on a single interviewee could limit the comprehensiveness of the data. Additionally, family cruises are relatively uncommon in Taiwan, which posed challenges in recruiting participants, particularly children. As a result, some participants, especially children, may have had blurred memories or difficulties expressing themselves, potentially impacting the accuracy and depth of their responses.

To address these limitations and provide more comprehensive insights, future research could explore the use of a simple closed questionnaire. This method may facilitate children’s responses and mitigate some of the challenges associated with in-depth interviews. By employing a questionnaire-based approach, a larger sample size could be obtained, increasing the generalizability of the findings. Furthermore, the findings from this study can serve as a valuable reference for designing future questionnaires, ensuring the inclusion of relevant aspects related to family cruise travel. It is also worth noting that future research could consider exploring cultural and regional differences in family composition and their impact on family cruise travel. By investigating these factors, a deeper understanding of how cultural and regional nuances influence the preferences, needs, and experiences of family travelers in the context of cruises could be gained. This would contribute to a more comprehensive analysis of the target market and provide valuable insights for cruise operators and tourism professionals seeking to cater to diverse family compositions in different cultural and regional contexts.

Data availability

The authors confirm that the data supporting the findings of this study are included within the article.

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Prior to conducting the current study and conducting interviews with the 13 families, we obtained approval from an ethics review board of Leisure Management Department, National Pingtung University to ensure that the research is carried out in an ethical and responsible manner, with due regard for the protection of the subjects’ rights and well-being.

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Chen, WY., Fang, YH., Chang, YP. et al. Exploring motivation via three-stage travel experience: how to capture the hearts of Taiwanese family-oriented cruise tourists. Humanit Soc Sci Commun 10 , 506 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-023-01986-3

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tourist travel motivation

Demographic factors and travel motivation among leisure tourists in Tanzania

International Hospitality Review

ISSN : 2516-8142

Article publication date: 3 April 2020

Issue publication date: 14 July 2020

To examine demographic factors and travel motivations among leisure tourists in Tanzania. Specifically by examining the influence of demographic factors on travel motivation among local and international leisure tourists in Tanzania.


Approach is quantitative and applied descriptive statistics, independent t -test and ANOVA.

The findings showed that age, gender and family size as demographic factors significantly influenced travel motivation among local and international leisure tourists.

Research limitations/implications

Future studies to consider different approaches including collection of data during the peak season, use qualitative method and conduct studies in other parts of the country to explore demographic factors and travel motivations of tourists.

Practical implications

To assist tourism stakeholders in their design of promotional tools to market tourism products/services to different tourists as opposed to homogeneous marketing campaigns.


Examined the influence of demographic factors and travel motivation among local and international leisure tourists in the context of Tanzania.

Demographic factors

Travel motivation.

  • Leisure tourists

Kara, N.S. and Mkwizu, K.H. (2020), "Demographic factors and travel motivation among leisure tourists in Tanzania", International Hospitality Review , Vol. 34 No. 1, pp. 81-103. https://doi.org/10.1108/IHR-01-2020-0002

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Nasra Shoka Kara and Kezia Herman Mkwizu

Published in International Hospitality Review . Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0/legalcode


Travel motivation is commonly acknowledged as a crucial concept to most tourism professionals and theorists ( Lam and Hsu, 2006 ). Travel motivation has been known as a driving force behind understanding behavior ( Venkatesh, 2006 ). The concept of travel motivation is not new ( Pearce and Caltabiano, 1983 ). Researchers around the globe have applied travel motivation to determine individual's satisfaction level ( Snepenger et al. , 2006 ; Lemmetynen et al. , 2016 ; Celik and Dedeoglu, 2019 ; Preko et al. , 2019 ), predict leisure participation levels ( Yan and Halpenny, 2019 ), identify travel patterns ( Pearce, 1987 ; Cavagnaro and Staffieri, 2015 ), understand tourists’ travel decisions and consumption behavior ( Chang et al. , 2015 ) as well as to develop more effective strategies and policies to increase demand for tourism ( Heung et al. , 2001 ; Papatheodorou, 2006 ). The complex nature of this concept has pushed many researchers to come up with different travel motives. However, the central themes behind it revolved around push and pull factors/motives. Push and pull factors have been extensively employed to assess tourists' travel motivations ( Kanagaraj and Bindu, 2013 ; Michael et al. , 2017 ; Wijaya et al. , 2018 ).

In Tanzania, tourism plays a significant role in the country's economy and one among the crucial sectors in generating foreign exchange ( Tanzania Tourism Sector Survey, 2018 ). The sector indirectly offered 1,452,000 jobs in 2017 from 1,389,000 jobs offered in 2016 ( WTTC, 2017 ). Tourism in Tanzania generates about 17.5% of the total country's GDP and 25% of total foreign currency earnings ( Tanzania Tourism Sector Report, 2017 ). Tanzania is famously known for tourist attractions and home to the famous Roof of Africa, the Mount Kilimanjaro. Following these attractions, Tanzania has pulled thousands of international visitors from different parts of the world, thereby making the country be known as one of the competitive tourist destinations in sub-Saharan Africa ( Mkumbo, 2010 ). The WTTC (2017) projects a rising trend by 6.8% in 2027 of 2,267,000 international tourists to Tanzania.

On the other hand, the arrivals of domestic tourists to various tourist attractions in the country are not in the same pace as international travel market. Factors such as limited promotion, awareness, low income, inadequate information, media usage, marketing and service quality challenges such as infrastructure and trained staff have been reported to be among the factors affecting the performance of domestic tourism in Tanzania ( Wade et al. , 2001 ; Mariki et al. , 2011 ; Mkwizu, 2018a ; 2019 ; Mkwizu et al. , 2018 ). Some of the initiatives were done by the government to boost the travel market including setting preferential rates, establishment of the tourism training college for training purposes and introduction of intensive marketing campaigns to create awareness of tourism attractions. Despite all these efforts, there are more international tourists than locals visiting national parks. In 2018–2019, there were 731,351 international tourists compared to 464,933 locals that visited national parks ( Tanzania National Parks, 2019 ). The differences in tourist numbers can be attributed to the fact that Tanzania is the only country in the world that has allocated 25% of her land for wildlife and game-controlled reserves ( Tanzania Tourism Sector Survey, 2018 ). On the other hand, domestic tourists have been seen traveling mainly to visit their friends or relatives and sometimes they travel for leisure ( Mariki et al. , 2011 ). Therefore, there is need for more studies on whether the importance of travel motivations differs among the two groups.

Literature on consumer behavior acknowledges that travel motivation and needs are related ( Goodall, 1988 ), and this means that tourists may decide to take a vacation to satisfy their physiological needs such as food, health and learning. However, the decision of choosing a given destination to visit has been closely linked with sociodemographic characteristics. Woodside and Lysonski (1989) , Um and Crompton (1990) and Moscardo et al. (1996) are among the earliest studies that examined the role of demographic factors on tourists' destination choice with findings showing a link between demographic factors and visitors’ participation in tourism activities. For instance, increasing free time and disposable income have provided people with an opportunity to take part in outdoor activities ( Ibrahim and Cordes, 1993 ). Factors such as age and family structure have an impact on the decision of an individual to participate in leisure activities ( Foot, 2004 ) .

Demand for leisure is also affected by individuals' age and gender ( Mieczkowski, 1990 ; Collin and Tisdell, 2002 ). Collin and Tisdell (2002) found that demographic factors have a role to play in influencing visitors' participation in tourism activities as well as the selection of vacation destination. What is not known is the role that demographic factors such as age, gender and family size play in influencing tourists’ travel motivation in Tanzania. Studies that examined the influence of demographic factors on travel motivation in Tanzania are limited. Existing literature in Tanzania has mainly examined demographic factors in relation to nature-based tourism and media such as Mariki et al. (2011) and Mkwizu (2018a) . Therefore, this study intends to uncover the missing gap by examining demographic factors and travel motivation among local and international leisure tourists in Tanzania.

Furthermore, this study is important in providing insight information on various demographic factors such as age, gender and marital status in influencing tourists’ travel motivation particularly for Tanzania. The information from this study can help tourism stakeholders to segment tourists based on their demographic traits.

Literature review

Travel motivation is viewed as an internal force that arouses and pushes an individual from choosing a particular destination with the intention of getting the desired benefits and satisfaction ( Pyo et al. , 1989 ; Yoon and Uysal, 2005 ). Motivation is viewed as a sociopsychological factor that pushes an individual to a new destination and take part in leisure activities ( Iso-Ahola, 1982 ; Beard and Ragheb, 1983 ). This study defines travel motivation as an internal motive that drives a particular tourist to take a leisure trip in Tanzania.

The complex nature of travel motivation has caused many researchers to come up with different travel motives. However, a good number of them focused on push and pull factors. These dimensions have been used extensively in most of motivation studies ( Kim and Lehto, 2013 ). Due to the importance of these two factors, researchers such as Dann (1977) , Crompton (1979) , Iso-Ahola (1982) and Epperson (1983) developed different motivation dimensions based on the idea of push and pull travel motives.

Mazilu and Mitroi (2010) defined demographic factors as descriptive segmentation technique, whereby sociodemographic factors are directly involved. Examples of sociodemographic factors commonly used by tourism experts ( Ma et al. , 2018 ; Mkwizu, 2018a , 2018b ) include age, gender, family life cycle, education, income and nationality. These variables are believed to be accurate in describing tourism market and predicting travel behavior patterns ( Weaver and Oppermann, 2000 ).

Age is considered to be a crucial demographic factor by tourism stakeholders because leisure demand can effectively be predicted through visitors' age ( Mieczkowski, 1990 ). Age is reported to have positive influence on individual's desire for relaxation and nature exploration ( Ma et al. , 2018 ). According to Spence (2002) , the probability of an individual to participate in wildlife activities varies with age, meaning that the probability of activity participation increases when an individual is young and decreases as that individual grows old.

Gender is one of the major factors influencing travel demand ( Collin and Tisdell, 2002 ). The travel patterns between men and women vary based on their travel motivation. According to Collin and Tisdell (2002) , men travel more than women. Men travel for business-related activities while women do travel mainly for visiting friends and relatives and prefer taking shorter-distance trips compared to men ( Moriarty and Honnery, 2005 ). Females are reported to be highly involved in shopping and are more affected by intrapersonal or structural constraints than men ( Josiam et al. , 2005 ; Andronikidis et al. , 2008 ). Cost, time and family commitments are among limitations for women to be active in travel activities ( Scott, 2005 ; Alexandris and Carrol, 1997 ). As a result, women have been seen participating more in shopping, dining and cultural activities than outdoor activities such as skiing while men are more likely to participate in adventure activities ( Xie et al. , 2008 ).

Marital status is one of the factors that affect vacation decisions ( Kattiyapornpong and Miller, 2008 ). It is important for marketers to have such information because they can use such details to predict one's travel patterns. For instance, Lee and Bhargava (2004) found that married couples spend less time enjoying leisure than singles. This is due to the fact that married couples have social and family obligations that limit their time to undertake holiday vacation or participate in sports activities ( Henderson, 1990 ; Downward and Rasciute, 2010 ). Singles prefer shorter but frequent trips ( Biearnat and Lubowiecki-Vikuk, 2012 ). Singles are assumed to have more free time to engage in various activities compared to those with a family, for example, more time playing musical instruments, singing, dancing, watching TV and traveling for social activities ( Lee and Bhargava, 2004 ). The literature further highlights that Passias et al. (2017) found that never-married mothers have more time to spend on leisure than married mothers. In contrast, Vernon (2010) suggests that married women have more time to engage in leisure than single mothers. For the purpose of this study, age, gender and marital status were included in the analysis. The reason for these factors is due to the fact that there is limited information regarding the roles they play in influencing travel motivation of tourists in the context of Tanzania.

The Beard and Ragheb travel motivation theory

Beard and Ragheb (1983) developed the leisure motivation variables based on the idea from the work of Maslow (1970) . The leisure motivation theory contains four major travel motives, which determine satisfaction that a visitor may gain from taking part in leisure activities. The travel factors identified were: “Intellectual” – these include items such as learning and exploring; “social” – covers the desire for developing friendship and esteem of others; “competence-mastery” – involves issues such as health and fitness and lastly “stimulus avoidance” – which simply describes the desire to relax and escape the routine life. This study employs the Beard and Ragheb theory for the purpose of assessing tourist travel motivation. Beard and Ragheb's theory was chosen because since its establishment in 1983, many researchers ( Mohsin et al. , 2017 ; Albayrak and Caber, 2018 ; Jia et al. , 2018 ) have employed and validated it.

In 1983, Beard and Ragheb also noted that using leisure motivation scale (LMS) to study travel motivation is reliable due to the 32 items measuring Cronbach's alpha ranging from 0.89 to 0.91. Past scholars such as Yusof and Shah (2008) and Chen et al. (2018) have used LMS by Beard and Raghed (1983) to study motivation in tourism. For example, Chen et al. (2018) explored travel motivation for Chinese residents using LMS of 32 items to measure motivation due to its reliability and validity. Chen et al. (2018) found that there were significant differences of gender, marital status and education in leisure behaviors. This study not only used the Beard and Ragheb theory but also applied LMS by Beard and Ragheb (1983) due to its reliability and validity.

Demographic factors and travel motivation

Several researchers have examined travel motivation in relation to demographic factors. Some of these works include a work by Saayman and Saayman (2009) . Researchers examined the relationship between sociodemographic, behavioral and motivational factors for tourists that visited Addo Elephant National Park. The findings of this study revealed that tourists were motivated to travel to the national park because of the need for nature, activities, escape, attractions, photography, family and socialization. It was further pointed out that both sociodemographic and motivational factors influence visitors’ spending decisions.

Differences in travel motivation are noted in past studies such as You et al. (2000) , Kozak (2002) , Jönsson and Deonish (2008) , Kim and Prideaux (2005) , Fan et al. (2015) , Gu et al. (2015) , Albayrak and Caber (2018) and Marques et al. (2018) . The findings of these studies concluded that travel motives differ among travelers from different countries ( You et al. , 2000 ; Kim and Prideaux, 2005 ), among students from different countries ( Marques et al. , 2018 ), across various destinations and nationalities ( Kozak, 2002 ), among tourists participated in white water rafting activity ( Albayrak and Caber, 2018 ), across different forms of tourism ( Gu et al. , 2015 ) as well as those from different countries visiting the same destination ( Jönsson and Deonish, 2008 ).

Yung-Kun et al. (2015) explored factors related to tourists' motivation to visit Taiwan as well as the demographic segmentation of these foreign tourists. The results indicated that push motivation factors such as enlightenment, freedom, shopping, diverse attractions, culture connections, sport facilities and wildlife play a crucial role in the motivation of foreign tourists. These tourists were later clustered into five main motivation groups to include scenery/knowledge seekers, accessibility/expenditure seekers, relaxation/relation seekers, novelty/experience seekers, sport/service seekers based on five demographic traits (gender, age, marital status, nationality and income).

Additionally, Fan et al. (2015) compared motivation and intention of cruise passengers from different demographic profiles in China. They found that travelers from different demographic caliber differ in terms of their travel motivation. For example, singles had higher mean values for travel motivations such as discovering and exploring nature than those who were married. Researchers believed that singles have ample time and freedom to try new and exciting things compared to married travelers. Furthermore, Ma et al. (2018) examined the relationship among tourists' sociodemographic characteristics, motivation and satisfaction as a way of predicting their visitation patterns and travel behaviors to forest nature reserves in Guangdong. The findings from multiple regression analysis revealed that some of the sociodemographic factors had a role to play in influencing travel motivation. For example, age was positively correlated with travel motivation called sense of relaxation and nature exploration. However, education level negatively influenced social travel motivation.

Older people or senior travelers are motivated by the desire for novelty ( Jönsson and Deonish, 2008 ). However, a study by Luo and Deng (2008) found age negatively influenced travel motivation and that younger tourists prefer seeking for novelty compared to older travelers. A study by Mohsin (2008) was done to examine the impact of sociodemographic variables on Mainland Chinese holidaymakers who traveled to New Zealand. The overall findings of one-way ANOVA revealed that there is a significant relationship between travel motivation and demographic factors such age and educational level. The findings are supported by previous studies of Park and Mok (1998) that travel motivation varies with age. Irimias et al. (2016) conducted a study aimed at exploring demographic characteristics in influencing religious tourism behavior among 345 Hungarians who traveled for pilgrimage. It was found that their travel motives differ with age; senior travelers see educational purposes and feelings of national identity related to sacred sites as crucial travel motives while young tourists did not picture that to be of any value to their travel motives. Njagi et al. (2017) conducted a study to provide an in-depth understanding of the factors affecting travel motivation of youth travelers in Kenya. The study revealed that push factors are more crucial in influencing youth travelers in Kenya than the pull travel motives.

The overall findings from the previous studies confirmed that sociodemographic factors have a role to play in influencing tourists’ travel motivation. However, these studies focused more on push and pull factors among youth travelers in Kenya ( Njagi et al. , 2017 ) and among travelers who traveled to Taiwan ( Yung-Kun et al. , 2015 ). Furthermore, the existing studies also looked at the relationships between sociodemographic factors and travel motivation among cruise passengers who traveled to China ( Fan et al. , 2015 ), those who traveled to national parks ( Saayman and Saayman 2009 ) and those who traveled to sacred places for religious purposes ( Irimias et al. , 2016 ). From the reviewed literature, it is evident that sociodemographic factors are crucial in predicting travel patterns of tourists.

However, there are still inconclusive remarks regarding the influence of sociodemographic factors on travel motivation. For example, age was reported to be among the key factors affecting travel motivation ( Irimias et al. , 2016 ; Ma et al. , 2018 ). On the other hand, age was reported to have a negative effect on travel motivation ( Luo and Deng, 2008 ). Other demographic factors such as education were also reported to have a negative effect on travel motivation ( Ma et al. , 2018 ) while marital status was seen to be a significant factor in influencing travel motivation among cruise passengers ( Fan et al. , 2015 ). Furthermore, the existing studies such as Baniya and Paudel (2016) have examined the effects of demographic factors on travel motivation using push and pull items. Other studies in Tanzania ( Wade et al. , 2001 ; Mariki et al. , 2011 ; Mkwizu, 2018a ; 2018b ; 2019 ; Mkwizu et al. , 2018 ) have focused on nature-based tourism, history, market analysis and media. Therefore, this study specifically intended to examine the extent to which demographic factors such as age, gender and marital status influenced travel motivation among local and international leisure tourists guided by the motivation theory and scale items developed by Beard and Ragheb (1983) .


Research instrument.

The research questionnaire was divided into two major parts. The first part covered general information about the respondents. Demographic information such as age, gender, marital status and family size. This section composed of six questions. The second part comprised information related to tourists' travel motivation. Respondents were asked to rank the list of travel motivation statements according to their level of importance, indicating whether those statements describe their travel motivation on a Likert scale of 1 ( Not important at all ) to 7 ( Extremely important ). Examples of travel motivation items were to learn things around me, to challenge my abilities and to relax mentally. This study employed Likert scale developed by Kozak (2002) , who highlighted that Likert scale is appropriate to be used in tourist-based studies. This study adopted the shortest version of LMS, which consists of 32 items to measure different travel motives because of its Cronbach's alpha reliability ranging from 0.89 to 0.91 as pointed out by Beard and Ragheb (1983) . The shortest version is appropriate to be used in a research constrained by time and can be applied within less time compared to 48 items from the original scale ( Beard and Ragheb, 1983 ).

Sampling design

A convenience sampling technique was adopted to get the appropriate sample for the study. Ferber (1977) noted that convenience sampling as one form of nonprobability sampling can reduce the impact of nonrandom convenience sampling by making sure that the generated findings are a true representative of the population. Additionally, convenience sampling is one among the appropriate sampling technique s to be used when collecting data from the actual tourist settings ( Madrigal and Kahle, 1994 ).

Data collection

This study used a quantitative approach and survey strategy as the research design. Before collection of data, the survey instrument was pretested by distributing the questionnaires to 50 international tourists found on the beaches of Zanzibar and Pemba islands. Respondents were randomly and conveniently selected to take part in the study. The pretesting exercise was done to assess the survey suitability, readability, eliminate any vague items and determine the response rate. Data was collected from January 2017 to May 2017. A self-administered open-ended questionnaire was employed to 300 local and international tourists who traveled to and within Tanzania for leisure. Tourists at the Julius Nyerere International Airport lounges and those on the beaches of the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba were conveniently approached and asked to take part in the study. The decision to take part in the study was left entirely to tourists. Those who agreed to participate in the study were given a survey questionnaire to fill in.

Data analysis

The collected data was analyzed using the aid of a Social Science Statistical Package (SPSS) version 20. This study selected SPSS, which has descriptive statistics such as frequencies and percentages in order to avail demographic characteristics of the respondents. In addition, the independent sample t -test was used to test the differences in travel motivation among local and international tourists. ANOVA assisted this study to test the effect of the independent variable (demographic factors) on the dependent variable (travel motivation). Data was cleaned first to check whether there was missing data, outliers and determine the data distribution pattern before analysis. Cronbach's alpha coefficients were employed for purposes of examining internal data consistency. Content, construct, convergent and discriminant validities were tested using CFA.

Respondents' demographic characteristics

Out of 300 surveys from each group, only 250 from each group were recognized as a useable survey, representing a token useable return rate of 83%. The overall descriptive statistics from Table 1 shows that most tourists from each group were between the ages of 18 and 30 (45.6% for internationals and 49.2% for locals), and less than 10% were covered by the senior tourists (4.4% for internationals and 6% for locals). The gender distribution showed that majority of international tourists were males (61.2%) and also for local tourists most were males (61.8%). Over 50% of all tourists had a university education and employed in different fields. On marital status, 53.2% of all the international tourists were married while 49% of all locals were married.

The findings in Table 1 further indicate that 47% of internationals and 51.2% of all locals were singles. On family size distribution, the majority of international tourists have three children and above while 40% of all locals proved to have less than three children. This suggests that the sampled respondents were mostly young educated male tourists who are employed. In addition, the differences between the international and local tourists are noted in marital status.

Furthermore, Table 2 indicates that the largest group of international tourists was from South Africa (10%) followed by Australia (8.8%) and Kenya (8%). There were very few international tourists from countries such as Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon and Zurich. These results suggest that the young educated male international tourists were mostly from South Africa.

Reliability results

The alpha coefficient for the total scale was 0.933 and the alpha values for each of the subscales ranged from 0.880 to 0.907, which are above the acceptable threshold (0.70) as suggested by Hair et al. (1998) . The summary of the results is presented in Table 3 .

Validity results

All 32 travel motivation items were subjected to CFA for validity testing as it is presented in Table 4 . Content validity for the observed items was tested for consistency, easy of understanding and appropriateness by members of the academic staff together with tourist experts. Construct validity was examined using composite reliability (CR) and average variance explained (AVE). The overall findings indicate that CR and AVE surpassed the threshold values of 0.70 and 0.50, respectively ( Yap and Khong, 2006 ). Therefore, it can be concluded that the indicators for all constructs met the reliability thresholds and thus qualified for further analyses. Convergent validity indicated that the standardized factor loadings for all the items were above the acceptable range of 0.5 as indicated by Tabachnick and Fidell (2007) . In this study, all the CR and AVE were above the recommended value of 0.7 and 0.5 respectively. Discriminant validity was assessed using Fornell and Larcker’s approach of 1981. In order to achieve discriminant validity, AVE of each construct was compared with the shared variance between two constructs. For all the items, the AVE was higher than the shared variance (MSV). The results indicated that all the constructs had acceptable discriminant validity as presented in Table 4 .

Assumptions guiding independent t -test

Data normality.

Before testing for the differences in travel motivation among the tourists, data normality was performed using descriptive statistics. Skewness and kurtosis values were used to determine data normality. Meyers et al. (2006) highlighted that if the values of skewness and kurtosis range within ± 1.00, these are evidence of data normality. Pallant (2011) advised that when one is dealing with large enough sample sizes (e.g. 30+), the violation of normality assumption may not cause any significant problems. For this study, the skewness and kurtosis values were within the cutoff points as was highlighted by Meyers et al. (2006) and Pallant (2011) .

Differences in the importance of travel motivation among international and local leisure tourists

An independent sample t -test was conducted to test whether the importance of travel motivation differs among international and local tourists. This meant comparing travel motivation mean scores for international and local tourists. First of all Levene's test was performed to see whether there was equal variance in the data set. The overall results show that this assumption was met in eight travel motivation items ( p  ≥ 0.005) while for the rest of the travel motivation items, the assumption was violated as it is presented in Table 5 , Table 6 , Table 7 and Table 8 . The results in Table 5 , Table 6 , Table 7 and Table 8 indicate that there was significant difference in scores for travel motivation among international and local leisure tourists. In Table 5 , the findings show that local tourists had higher mean values than international tourists for travel motivation (intellectual motivation) such as to learn about myself ( M  = 5.67, SD = 1.288), to explore new ideas ( M  = 5.73, SD = 1.294), to expand my knowledge ( M  = 6.05, SD = 1.136), to be creative ( M  = 5.68, SD = 1.494), to use my imagination ( M  = 5.22, SD = 1.757) and to satisfy my curiosity ( M  = 5.81, SD = 1.265).

In Table 6 , the findings show that local tourists had higher mean values compared to international tourists for travel motivation (social motivation) such as to build friendship with others ( M  = 5.70, SD = 1.353), to interact with others ( M  = 5.66, SD = 1.428), to develop close friendships ( M  = 5.47, SD = 1.573), to reveal my thoughts ( M  = 5.11, SD = 1.657), to be socially competent and skillful ( M  = 5.66, SD = 1.425), to gain a feeling of belonging ( M  = 5.62, SD = 1.387) and to gain others' respect ( M  = 5.24, SD = 1.827).

Table 7 indicates that local tourists had higher mean values than international tourists for travel motivation (mastery competency motivation) such as to be active ( M  = 5.76, SD = 1.296), to develop physical skills and abilities ( M  = 5.59, SD = 1.375), to keep in shape physically ( M  = 5.39, SD = 1.702), to use my physical abilities ( M  = 5.28) and to develop physical fitness ( M  = 5.21, SD = 1.685). The remaining mastery competency motives had no significant differences.

Table 8 reveals that local tourists had higher mean values for travel motivation (stimulus avoidance motivation) such as to calm down ( M  = 4.89, SD = 1.674), to be alone ( M  = 3.32, SD = 2.064), to relax physically ( M  = 5.39, SD = 1.499), to relax mentally ( M  = 5.63, SD = 1.426), to rest ( M  = 5.53, SD = 1.508), to relieve stress and tension ( M  = 5.48, SD = 1.506) as well as to unstructure my time ( M  = 5.48, SD = 1.506) compared to international tourists. The remaining stimulus avoidance motives had no significant differences.

Differences in travel motivation among tourists by age, gender and family size

Univariate ANOVA tests the interaction between each dependent variable with an independent variable; in short, ANOVA explains changes in the dependent variable, which are caused by the interaction between the independent variables. First, multivariate tests were performed to assess whether there is a significant effect between independent and dependent variables. Second, univariate ANOVA was applied to examine the effect of independent variables on specific dependent variable. Previous scholars have also used ANOVA in examining demographic factors with motivation such as Urosevic et al. (2016) . Using Pillai's trace results in Table 9 indicated that there was significant effect between travel motivation across age F (96.000) = 1.396, p  = 0.008, across gender F (32.000) = 2.005, p  = 0.001, across family size F (32.000) = 2.610, p  = 0.000, across the interaction between age and family F (96.000) = 1.154, p  = 0.023 as well as the interaction between age, gender and family size F (96.000) = 1.514, p  = 0.001.

A separate ANOVA shown in Table 10 was performed to each travel motivation at alpha level of 0.005, and it was found that there were significant difference s among age groups on the need to develop physical skills and abilities F (312.594) = 4.972, p  = 0.002 while for males and females results show the desire to explore new ideas among age groups F (18.906) = 4.451, p  = 0.035 and the desire to discover new things F (16.081) = 3.899, p  = 0.049.

Furthermore, the results indicated that desire to develop physical skills and abilities was significantly different among tourists who have small and large family size F (156.811) = 22.428, p  = 0.000. Other differences were reflected on travel motivation such as the desire to develop physical fitness F (167.625) = 18.772, p  = 0.000 as well as to unstructure my time F (150.424) = 14.955, p  = 0.000.

This study also examined the contribution of the interaction effects of the independent variables on the dependent variable. Table 10 shows that the interaction between age and family size was significant to travel motivation such as to relieve stress and tension F (319.051) = 6.112, p  = 0.000, to develop physical fitness F (320.517) = 5.695, p  = 0.001, ŋ 2  = 0.034, to unstructure my time F (318.159) = 5.386, p  = 0.001, as well as to use my physical abilities F (311.260) = 3.322, p  = 0.020. Additionally, the interaction effect between age, gender and family size was significant to travel motivation such as to satisfy my curiosity F (35.223) = 2.693, p  = 0.046, as well as to develop close friendships with others F (38.729) = 2.634, p  = 0.049.

Discussions of findings

This study reveals that leisure tourists from Australia, Kenya, South Africa, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and United States were motivated to travel to the country with the intention of discovering and learning new things. Furthermore, similar groups of tourists were extremely motivated to visit Tanzania for the sake of relaxing mentally, revealing stress and tensions of their daily routine activities. The results imply that leisure tourists may have more than a single travel motive when visiting a particular destination. These findings support the idea developed by Crompton (1979) that tourists' motivations are multiple and because of that they may have different reasons of taking either domestic or international trips ( Mayo and Jarvis, 1981 ). Researchers also add that some people take trips not only to fulfill their physiological desires (food, climate and health) but also to satisfy their psychological needs.

Furthermore, the study also found that tourists from the United Kingdom and United States had strong views that they were motivated to visit the country for social reasons such as building friendship with others. This can be explained by differences in tourists' culture. It has been identified that there are motivational differences between nationalities ( Kozak, 2002 ). Culture associated with nationality has been extensively acknowledged to be one among the crucial factors differentiating individuals’ attitudes, beliefs and behaviors ( Chen, 2000 ). National culture can be employed to reveal variations in the social behavior of different nationalities, especially in international settings such as tourism experiences ( Kim et al. , 2002 ). The findings of this study confirmed the results reported by Özdemir and Yolal (2016) that Americans and British people prefer to interact and socialize with other tourists when they travel. Additionally, Kozak (2002) pointed out that British tourists enjoy mixing themselves and having fun with other tourists when they travel. It seems that Tanzania is attracting tourists who have psychocentric personality. Individuals of this nature prefer visiting familiar places, having fun and relaxing when visiting new destinations ( Plog, 1974 ).

Surprisingly, this study found that tourists, mainly from Kenya and South Africa, were motivated strongly to travel to the country for the intention of competing and being good at participating in leisure activities. This can be explained by the differences in the level of novelty seeking among tourists. Novelty seeking is one among the key reasons why tourists travel to new destinations ( Dayour and Adongo, 2015 ). The findings of this study show that there is a possibility that tourists from Kenya and South Africa are sensation seekers. Individuals of this nature are risk takers, and this is why they prefer to travel to unfamiliar destinations ( Pizam et al. , 2004 ). Generally, tourists are attracted differently to different tourist attractions, and this is because they have different levels of tolerance for tourism experiences. Some people choose destinations where they can unwind their daily routine life while others look for destinations that can offer adventure life. The choice of a destination can sometimes be linked to tourists' personality traits. The findings of this study imply that Kenyans and South Africans may be allocentrics. Individuals of this caliber are usually seeking for arousal from unexpected and surprising stimuli ( Ryan, 1997 ), they are outgoing, confident, relatively anxiety free, like to feel in control, prefer to visit new destinations, desire to explore the world around them and are moderately risk takers ( Plog, 1973 , 1974 ).

This study found that there was no significant differences in travel motivation among leisure tourists who are single and those who are married. However, a minor difference was revealed on intellectual travel motives to single leisure tourists. It was revealed that single leisure tourists were highly motivated to travel to Tanzania for intellectual purpose. This finding is consistent with a study by Fan et al. (2015) that single people place higher value when it comes to discovering and learning new things compared to married ones. The finding of this study is not surprising since Tanzania is blessed with multiple tourist attractions ranging from game reserves, controlled conservation areas and national parks ( URT, 2014 ). Other attractions include Mount Kilimanjaro, museums, historical sites and buildings. Following these attractions, it is not surprising to see single leisure tourists travel to the country for intellectual reasons.

The findings further indicated that married leisure tourists were more motivated to travel to the country, mainly by their desire to unwind their daily life's hustle. This could be due to the fact that married couples spend less time enjoying leisure than singles. In addition, married couples have social and family obligations that limit their time to undertake holidays ( Henderson, 1990 ) or participate in learning activities as singles. For them, escaping travel motive makes sense since they have been experiencing routine hectic daily life; therefore, it is understandable to see them ranking this motive important. This finding somehow corroborates the views of Leonard and Onyx (2009) that relaxation and escape motivations are two key psychological motives that drive people to take overseas trips. The desire to take a vacation is closely associated with the desire to escape ( Jarvis and Peel, 2010 ). Therefore, tourists often choose to take a vacation to a new destination with the intention of breaking from the daily routine life of home and work ( Kim and Ritchie, 2012 ). The break gives people an opportunity to refresh their minds by taking active role in nonroutine leisure activities ( Ritchie et al. , 2010 ) as well as offering a platform for them to liberate themselves from tension and anxiety.

Furthermore, the study revealed that married leisure tourists traveled to the country for social reasons. This finding is somehow consistent with the study by Passias et al. (2017) that married mothers prefer to spend quality time with their children by engaging themselves in both active and social leisure compared to single mothers. Generally, tourism offers opportunity to bring people of different cultural backgrounds together ( Brown and Lehto, 2005 ), but also offers avenue for them to meet and communicate with others ( Dayour, 2013 ). This study also found that married leisure tourists had higher mean scores for mastery competency travel motives compared to singles. This finding implies that may be Tanzania attracts married leisure tourists who are sensational seekers because tourists differ in the way they consume and obtain novel experience ( Lee and Crompton, 1992 ). Tourists who are high sensational seekers prefer to engage in adventure activities such as scuba diving ( Heyman and Rose, 1980 ) as well as mountain climbing ( Robinson, 1985 ). This group also prefers to travel to new places or meeting new people ( Zuckerman, 1979 ). This finding can be supported by the fact that Tanzania is endowed with more than eight known mountains that attract international tourists from all over the world. Moreover, the country is surrounded with both sandy and clean beaches that offer opportunity for tourists to take part in scuba diving and other water sports activities.

Therefore, the discussion of results for this study has theoretical, practical and policy implications, which are further highlighted in the implications section of this paper.


Based on the findings and discussions, this study can conclude that in examining demographic factors and travel motivation among leisure tourists, there are influential factors. The demographic factors that influence travel motivation (intellectual, social, mastery competency and stimulus avoidance) among local and international leisure tourists in the context of Tanzania are age, gender and family size.


Theoretical implication.

The overall findings from this study imply that theoretically, the Beard and Ragheb leisure motivation theory and scale can be used to determine tourists’ travel motives in Tanzania. Age, gender and family size significantly influenced intellectual, social, mastery competency and stimulus avoidance motives among local and international leisure tourists.

Practical implication

From a practical implication, the differences in travel motivation among tourists are not homogeneous; therefore, they are not supposed to be treated equally. What is important to tourists from South Africa may not be important to tourists from other countries. Therefore, the government of Tanzania through the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources (MNRT) and Tanzania Tourists Board (TTB) should make sure that they promote Tanzania as a destination for people to discover new things, hence attract tourists from South Africa, Kenya, Australia, Germany as well as tourists from France. Furthermore, Tanzania can also be segmented as a friendly and social destination as this will attract tourists from the United States and the United Kingdom. Additionally, destination managers need to make use of the existing attractions such as mountains, beaches, national parks and game reserves to position the country as an adventurous destination. This can help to attract more tourists from Kenya and South Africa.

Policy implication

From a policy perspective, the government, destination marketers, policymakers and tourism stakeholders should make use of the tourists' marital status data because such data can develop better promotion campaigns that match their travel motives. For example, single tourists had higher mean value for intellectual travel motives. This implies that tourist attractions such as museums, historical sites, rock paintings, old town and old buildings can be used to segment this target group. Since singles travel more and spend more time enjoying leisure than married couples, then it would be better for destination managers as well as policymakers to use this opportunity to position the country as a destination that helps tourists to discover new things. On the other hand, married tourists were reported to have higher mean values for most of mastery competency and social and stimulus avoidance travel motives. This implies that the destination managers should advertise tourist activities such as boat cruising, shopping, swimming, as well as beach sports activities for this group. These activities will help them to meet other people, to relax near the sandy beaches as well as to take part in various adventurous games.

Limitations and suggestions for further studies

This study examined travel motivation differences among leisure tourists who were married and those who were single. It did not cover widowers and those who were divorced. Focus was on international tourists who traveled to Northern tourist circuit and islands of Zanzibar and Pemba for leisure. Therefore, the results from the study may not be generalized beyond the selected population. This geographically limited survey may produce different results and conclusions in terms of the magnitude and the strength of relationships among variables. Tourists who visited other circuits (Southern tourist circuit) may have different opinion preferences regarding the importance of travel motives. Replication of similar studies in other tourist circuits should be done to see whether similar findings could be generated.

Additionally, this study employed nonprobability sampling. Therefore, this may affect the external validity. Other studies should try to adopt probability sampling design so as to avoid this problem. Furthermore, the data collection was done between January and May, which is the low season. Thus, the findings of this study are limited to this particular period. Therefore, the tourists who travel in different seasons, for instance, high peak season, might have different opinions regarding the importance of their travel motives. In tourism, seasonality limits the generalization of the study findings and should always be taken into consideration in the interpretation stage. Future research should conduct similar studies in different seasons to overcome this limitation. The obtained results can then be compared to identify similarities and differences between them. Also, the generated findings can be used to validate the findings of this study.

Tourists’ demographic characteristics (age, gender, education, occupation, marital status and family size )

Independent t -test results for intellectual motivation (IL) among tourists

Tests between subjects effects for age, gender and family size on travel motivation

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Yung-Kun , S. , Kuo-Chien , C. and Yuan-Feng , S. ( 2015 ), “ Market segmentation of international tourists based on motivation to travel: a case study of Taiwan ”, Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research , Vol. 21 No. 8 , pp. 1 - 21 .

Yusof , A. and Shah , P.M. ( 2008 ), “ Application of leisure motivation scale to sport tourism ”, The International Journal of The Humanities , Vol. 6 , pp. 8 - 16 .

Zuckerman , M. ( 1979 ), Sensation Seeking: Beyond the Optimal Level of Arousal , Lawrence Erlbaum , Hillsdale, NJ .

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Every Travel Quote Ever

tourist travel motivation

Say goodbye to scouring the internet in search of inspirational travel quotes to keep you focussed on saving for that next big trip. Instead take a read through our list of every travel quote ever. We dare you to try and not be inspired.

Are we missing one of your favs? Share your own travel quote in the comments and we might just include it!

Inspirational Travel Quotes

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Unknown

“I am not a great book, I am not a great artist, but I love art and I love food, so I am the perfect traveller.” – Michael Palin

“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

“He who does not travel does not know the value of men.” – Moorish proverb

not all those who wander are lost travel quote

“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck

“The best journeys in life are those that answer questions you never thought to ask.” ― Rich Ridgeway

“To travel is to evolve.” – Pierre Bernardo

Take the first step, the rest will follow. Book the ticket, apply for the job, send the email, jump into the water. The rest gets easier from there. – Abi from http://www.insidethetravellab.com/

“A person does not grow from the ground like a vine or a tree, one is not part of a plot of land. Mankind has legs so it can wander.” ― Roman Payne, The Wanderess

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

“You don’t have to be rich to travel well.” – Eugene Fodor

“He who is outside his door has the hardest part of his journey behind him.” – Dutch Proverb

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain

paris is always a good idea travel quote

“He who would travel happily must travel light.” – Antoine de St. Exupery

“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.” – Anatole France

“It is not down in any map; true places never are.” – Herman Melville

It’s never too late to have a life you love. Don’t ever feel like you’ve missed the boat, don’t have what it takes or can’t achieve your dreams. Instead of removing your dreams, remove the doubts and fears keeping you from them. It’s never, ever too late. – Phoebe from https://littlegreybox.net

“Without travel I would have wound up a little ignorant white Southern female, which was not my idea of a good life.” – Lauren Hutton

“I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself.” – James Baldwin

wherever you go, go with all your heart travel quote

“I was not born for one corner. The whole world is my native land.” – Seneca

“Travelling — it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” — Lawrence Block

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – Confucius

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Scott Cameron

tourist travel motivation

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” – Oscar Wilde

“The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” – Rudyard Kipling

“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” – Alan Keightley

“Tourists visit. Travellers explore.” – Unknown

If you don’t do it now, when will you do it? -Monica from http://thetravelhack.com/

“Travelling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, ‘I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.'” – Lisa St. Aubin de Teran

“I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on Earth. Then I ask myself the same question.” – Harun Yahya

“Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.” – Unknown

time flies. It's up to you to be the navigator travel quote

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca

“NOT I – NOT ANYONE else, can travel that road for you, You must travel it for yourself.” – Walt Whitman

“You don’t choose the day you enter the world and you don’t chose the day you leave. It’s what you do in between that makes all the difference.” – Anita Septimus

the life you have led doesn't need to be the only life you have travel quote

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends… The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy

“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” ― Clifton Fadiman

“I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag

“Remember that happiness is a way of travel – not a destination.” – Roy M. Goodman

Adventure Travel Quotes

tourist travel motivation

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

“My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.” ― Steve McCurry

“The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” – Shirley MacLaine

The biggest addiction a person can have is discovering the unknown. Once it takes hold, there is no getting out and the only way to get your fix is by pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and exploring new horizons, cultural, and places. – Stephen from A Backpacker’s Tale 

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”― Andre Gide

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

“If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.” ― Unknown

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” ― John A. Shedd

“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” – John Steinbeck

fb-Neale-Donald-Walsch (1)

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ― Mark Twain

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller is unaware.” ― Martin Buber

“May your adventures bring you closer together, even as they take you far away from home.” ― Trenton Lee Stewart

tourist travel motivation

“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

“Make voyages! Attempt them… there’s nothing else.” – Tennessee Williams

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” ― Freya Stark

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” ― G.K. Chesterton

The more borders you cross, the more your mind opens — Paul from Global Help Swap

“One travels to run away from routine, that dreadful routine that kills all imagination and all our capacity for enthusiasm.” – Ella Maillart

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.” – Robert Frost

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener

“When overseas you learn more about your own country, than you do the place you’re visiting.” – Clint Borgen

tourist travel motivation

“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey.” – Babs Hoffman

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

“Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure.” – Irving Wallace

“A traveller without observation is a bird without wings.” — Moslih Eddin Saadi

“I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine.” – Caskie Stinnett

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru

tourist travel motivation

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Unknown (thanks to Melissa Bond for the contribution!)

“Investment in travel is an investment in yourself.” – Matthew Karsten

“It is better to travel well then to arrive.” – Buddha

“Adventure is worthwhile.” – Aristotle

“We all become great explorers during our first few days in a new city, or a new love affair.” – Mignon McLaughlin

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” – Anais Nin

tourist travel motivation

“Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled.” – Mohammed

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang

“The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

“Adventure without risk is Disneyland.” – Doug Coupland

“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.” – Cesare Pavese

“How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else.” – R. Buckminster Fuller

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” – Rosalia de Castro

tourist travel motivation

“I have wandered all my life, and I have also traveled; the difference between the two being this, that we wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment” – Hilaire Belloc

“If all difficulties were known at the outset of a long journey most of us would never start out at all.” – Dan Rather

“The use of travelling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson

“Airplane travel is nature’s way of making you look like your passport photo.” – Al Gore

“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travellers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux

“It is not fit that every man should travel; it makes a wise man better, and a fool worse.” – William Hazlitt

“You develop a sympathy for all human beings when you travel a lot.” – Shakuntala Devi

tourist travel motivation

Which is the best tourism quote?

Pick your next destination on TourRadar.com !

Which is the best marketplace for travel tours?

It is TourRadar.com , that with more than 40,000 tours and 2,500 operators is the best place where to find your next destination.

Which is the best tour pic caption?

Why should i touring.

“With getting time away from work and your ‘normal’ life becoming more and more difficult, your time off is more valuable and precious than it’s ever been. Absolutely nobody has time for mediocre experiences and modern-day touring has adapted to fit these requirements. Nowadays group tours can be anything and everything: what you do, depends solely on you.”

Travis Pittman, TourRadar co-founder and CEO

Which is the best nature travel quote?

Find all our nature tours on TourRadar.com!

tourist travel motivation

Jackie is a travel-addicted Canadian who currently resides in Vienna, Austria. When she’s not writing travel guides or reading her new favourite book, she’s planning her next weekend getaway somewhere in Europe.

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  • v.17(1); 2017 Feb

Role of Travel Motivations, Perceived Risks and Travel Constraints on Destination Image and Visit Intention in Medical Tourism

Mohammad j. khan.

1 International Business Section, School of Management, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia

Shankar Chelliah

Mahmod s. haron.

2 Department of Marketing, School of Management, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia

Sahrish Ahmed

3 Department of Organizational Behaviour, School of Management, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia

Travel motivations, perceived risks and travel constraints, along with the attributes and characteristics of medical tourism destinations, are important issues in medical tourism. Although the importance of these factors is already known, a comprehensive theoretical model of the decision-making process of medical tourists has yet to be established, analysing the intricate relationships between the different variables involved. This article examines a large body of literature on both medical and conventional tourism in order to propose a comprehensive theoretical framework of medical tourism decision-making. Many facets of this complex phenomenon require further empirical investigation.

Medical tourism commonly refers to the act of travelling to a foreign country in order to seek healthcare services. 1 Until recently, the concept of medical tourism was relatively unknown as it was difficult to envisage a connection between the two very different areas of international travel and medical care; however, the rate of medical tourism has sharply accelerated in the last two decades. 2 Modern medical tourism is characterised by an influx of middle-class patients from industrialised countries and affluent patients from less economically developed countries making use of the medical services available at foreign destinations. Although medical tourism is an economically successful business venture for many countries, exact data regarding its market size and revenue remain largely unavailable. 3 According to the medical tourism guidebook Patients Beyond Borders , approximately 14 million medical travellers travelled abroad for treatment in 2015; as such, it was estimated that the medical tourism market was worth USD $45.5–72 billion. 4 Another source reported that over 19 million trips for the purposes of medical tourism were made in 2005 for a total value of USD $20 billion, amounting to 2.5% of the total annual tourism volume; this was estimated to increase to 40 million trips per annum and comprise 4% of the total annual tourism volume by 2010. 5

Economically, medical travel has benefited several southern countries, including India, Cuba, Costa Rica, Mexico, Malaysia, Thailand, and South Africa, where the cost of medical procedures is extremely low compared to those of more northern countries. 6 It is estimated that the annual number of Americans travelling abroad for healthcare services will increase to 23 million by 2017. 7 However, the number of medical tourists moving between southern countries is also extremely high; approximately 500,000 medical tourists travelled to South Africa from other African countries in 2009 and over half of the medical tourists in Malaysia (670,000) and Singapore (850,000) in 2012 were from Indonesia. 8 , 9 Thailand also receives a large number of medical travellers from neighbouring countries (2.5 million in 2012). 10 Moreover, approximately 100,000 people from East Africa are estimated to travel to India every year for medical purposes. 11 Among all global medical tourists, 40% travel due to a lack of advanced technology in their own country, 32% travel to seek better quality services and 12% travel for lower-cost treatments. 12

Although a number of studies exploring different aspects of medical tourism have recently been published, empirical insight into medical tourism is still lacking. 6 , 9 Much of the available literature is exploratory, anecdotal in nature and highly speculative or comprised of review articles exploring different aspects of medical tourism. 13 – 16 Some studies have attempted to establish relationships between various factors, such as motivation, service quality, service satisfaction and revisit intention. 10 , 17 , 18 Recently, models to explain destination selection by medical tourists have been proposed; however, these models are limited to a specific source or destination and are not comprehensive. 19 , 20 Fetscherin et al . developed a scale to validate the causative factors in destination decision-making, but failed to explain these factors from the traveller’s perspective. 6 Other models to explain the decision-making processes of medical travellers do not consider geographical location, country of origin or socioeconomic status. 6 , 8 , 14 , 16 , 18 These models are mainly based on travel motivations, perceived risks and destination image and characteristics, factors which are then linked to destination selection and visit intention. 21 , 22 Other researchers have also proposed travel constraints among the factors influencing individual decision-making. 23

Based on a thorough review of the literature, the current article introduces a comprehensive theoretical framework on medical tourism decision-making, combining causative factors related to the characteristics of both the destination and the tourist [ Figure 1 ]. This proposed framework may help in enhancing understanding of the behaviour of medical tourists and assist destination marketing specialists in formulating specific strategies to attract medical tourists.

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is squmj1702-e11-17f1.jpg

Theoretical model of medical tourism decision-making. Note the unidirectional arrows which indicate the complexity of the relationships between the factors in the model.

Travel Motivations

Motivation can be defined as an internal psychological force arising from an unsatisfied need, which subsequently pushes individuals to engage in a specific need-fulfilling behaviour or activity. 24 In tourism research, motivation is considered a major force in compelling tourist behaviours. 25 Psychosocial motivations in tourist behaviour can be divided into ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors leading individuals to travel. 22 , 26 Motivations in medical tourism differ from those in leisure tourism, based on the specific needs of these types of travellers.

Medical tourists from northern countries often travel for a variety of reasons, including cost-saving purposes or because of the prohibitive expense of healthcare services in their own country; access to procedures banned in their home country; cultural or family reasons; in order to combine a minor medical procedure with leisure travel; and the long waiting lists for procedures in countries with publicly-funded healthcare systems, such as the UK and Canada. 2 , 16 Crooks et al . categorised the travel motivations of tourists from northern countries as either procedure-related, travel-related or cost-related. 27

In contrast, the travel motivations of medical tourists from southern countries differ. Medical tourists from Southeast Asia often travel abroad because of their mistrust in the quality of local medical services or the level of staff professionalism. 28 On the other hand, medical tourists from the Middle East reportedly travel abroad due to family pressure and the misconception that services at home are inadequate. 29 In most Gulf Cooperation Council countries, health services are entirely government-funded and free to nationals; for this reason, patients may not value the services available. 30 Rokni et al . found that Irani patients were highly motivated to travel to a particular destination because of their emotional attachment to the doctors, hospitals or the destination. 31 A decision to undergo treatment abroad can reflect broader social values and experiences; for instance, it is a common view in the Yemeni community that individuals have a responsibility to ensure the health of their family members, even if doing so is very expensive. 32 Travellers from Africa often visit other countries for medical purposes because of the unavailability of modern procedures and diagnostic services, a mistrust of local service providers and the poor state of public healthcare systems. 8 Individuals from various East African countries travel to India because they cannot afford the high medical fees at home. 11 Overall, most tourists from southern countries travel principally to obtain medical care, with a very minor leisure component to their trip. 3

Perceived Risks

The perceived probability that an action may expose an individual to danger can influence travel decisions if the perceived danger is deemed to be beyond an acceptable level. 33 In tourist decision-making, perceived risks hold the greatest influence in terms of destination selection. 34 Medical services are considered to be credence goods as their quality cannot be accurately ascertained, even after usage; as such, the associated risk of utilising medical services is high. 35 Furthermore, patients may be vulnerable to other risks when using medical services outside of their own country, including health, service quality, destination, travel and pre- and postoperative risks. 36 While staying at their travel destination, medical travellers may contract an infection before or after the medical procedure, develop thrombosis during long-haul flights which might slow down wound healing or be affected by the unavailability of blood transfusion components during the recuperation process. 37 Specifically, taking long-haul flights while in poor health can result in both physical and psychological pain; for many patients, existing conditions may worsen if they undertake journeys with multiple stopovers. 32

The likelihood of compensation in the case of complications has also been researched. 38 Most healthcare service providers willing to provide services to medical tourists are private and, as such, there are no enforced guidelines or control mechanisms in place to monitor treatment practices. 38 This can lead to a situation whereby unnecessary treatments are prescribed for reasons of monetary gain rather than medical necessity. Undergoing a procedure that is illegal in their home country can also expose medical travellers to unknown risks. 2 More importantly, making medical tourism decisions primarily as a result of cost-related motivations can be risky and may lead to negative outcomes. Some patients have been known to suffer from psychological and emotional distress while recovering from a procedure in a foreign destination. 39 Medical tourists from southern countries are usually considered more vulnerable to certain risks, given their often insufficient knowledge, limited resources and the potential prejudices they may face, as well as their vulnerability to various crimes, such as robbery or physical and sexual assault. 40

Another risk of medical tourism is an increase in patient-physician mistrust. After treatment, medical tourists often return to their home country with new and potentially hazardous prescriptions without effective guidelines or monitoring of use. Alternatively, they may return just as their disease becomes more advanced and/or incurable, at which point fewer treatment options are available. 39 , 40 As such, patients subsequently compare the late-stage treatment received in their home country to the early-stage treatment received at the foreign destination and form negative perceptions of their local healthcare services. 41 , 42

Travel Constraints

Travel constraints are defined as factors which inhibit either initial or further travel, constrain an individual’s ability to maintain or increase the frequency of travel and/or negatively affect their quality of travel. 43 Hung et al . argued that the existence of travel constraints does not necessarily result in a lack of travelling; their findings indicated that most individuals adopted negotiation measures to counter travel constraints. 43 Indirect evidence shows that medical tourists face different types of constraints; however, there is a lack of empirical research exploring the travel constraints of medical tourists.

The travel constraints of individuals with chronic illnesses or disabilities have been categorised as intrinsic (e.g. lack of knowledge, health-related problems, social ineffectiveness and physical or psychological dependency), environmental (e.g. attitudinal, architectural, ecological or transportation-related problems) and interactive (e.g. skill/challenge incongruities and communication/language barriers). 44 Short-term illnesses can also restrict the movement of individuals and alter their mental and psychological abilities. 45 Medical tourists travelling to other countries with the sole aim of acquiring medical services may also face constraints similar to those of individuals with disabilities; a few anecdotal examples in the medical tourism literature support this claim. 44 One study of Yemeni medical travellers found that many individuals did not possess appropriate knowledge and simply followed advice from their relatives and friends who had travelled earlier. 32

Existing ailments may also restrict certain patients from travelling, for instance in cases of cardiac, respiratory or orthopaedic conditions. Additionally, current literature on this topic indicates that travellers from southern countries face further constraints in the form of air connectivity, visa processing, local transportation and language barriers. 42 , 46 Some medical tourists may also be concerned about the opinions of their friends and family if they choose to use medical services in less economically developed countries. 2 , 47

Perceived Destination Image

Destination image reflects the sum total of an individual’s ideas, beliefs, and impressions of a travel destination. 48 According to Echtner et al ., destination image consists of two components: attribute-based and holistic. 49 Destination image covers attributes common to all destinations, as well as the unique attributes of a specific destination. In a tourism consumer behaviour model, three components of destination image formation are incorporated: awareness formed after acquiring information about a destination, attitudes formed as a result of beliefs and feelings regarding a destination and expectations formed based on the benefits associated with a destination. 50 Gallarza et al . mentioned that destination image is a mental representation of the attributes and benefits on the part of the traveller. 51 Two major factors, attributes and benefits, then combine to form the overall destination image.

The attributes of a destination are of the utmost importance in influencing the destination image. 52 The evaluation of a destination is multidimensional and both general as well as specific attributes are important in its promotion. 53 Tasci et al . argued that the image of a destination can be conceptualised in terms of cognitive components based on the attributes of that destination. 54 Measurements of a cognitive image vary according to the destination; however, descriptiveness, direct observability and measurability of a cognitive image have been established as the best tools to assess the uniqueness of a destination. 55

Medical tourism destination images are formed from the various tangible characteristics—both medical and non-medical—of a destination. Tangible attributes can include the price, quality of medical services, type of services offered, accreditation of the institutions or hospitals, credentials of the doctors or healthcare providers, supportive services, quality of the infrastructure, the socioeconomic environment and determinants of personal safety and security. 2 , 56 , 57 As such, some destinations are recognised for their cheap and high-quality services (e.g. India) whereas others are known for combining medical procedures with leisure, such as Thailand and the Caribbean; some destinations, such as Singapore, offer expensive but highly sophisticated services. 58 , 59

Destination image formation can also be affected by word-of-mouth. Most travellers, especially from southern countries, select medical tourism destinations and doctors based on personal recommendations from their friends and relatives. 60 Yu et al . have reported that medical tourists emphasise cost-saving, sociocultural factors, medical facilities and professional and leisure tourism opportunities when selecting a destination. 61 Musa et al . found that excellent medical and support services were important pull factors in destination selection. 28 Other studies have indicated that religious beliefs and emotional attachments can also influence the destination choices of medical tourists, especially among those from southern countries. 28 , 29

Destination image formation is not necessarily solely influenced by tangible destination attributes; researchers have noted that the benefits associated with a destination can sometimes drive tourists to destinations with negative attributes. 62 In one study, individuals reported liking one country and disliking another even though the two countries were very similar. 63 Moutinho argued that the physical attributes of a destination work only as stimuli consistent with certain pre-existing associations, thereby leading to a destination image which is subjective rather than objective. 50

According to Lefkoff-Hagius et al ., products have symbolic aspects which determine the degree to which ownership or consumption of the product enhances the image of the consumer. 64 The theory of consumption value focuses on the consumption values of product and services and explains why consumers either choose or do not choose to buy/consume a particular product or service. This theory has previously been tested in areas such as the dining industry, eco-friendly products and visit intentions and choices of tourism destinations. 65 Tapachai et al . found that the consumption value theory was fit to measure the beneficial image of a destination. 66 The conditional value dimension of the consumption value theory denotes a specific situation which leads individuals to buy a product or service. In medical tourism, patients travel outside of their home country due to their medical condition.

A heart bypass surgery that costs around USD $100,000 in the USA can be performed to the same level of quality for around USD $10,000–20,000 at five-star hospitals in various destinations worldwide; 2 this demonstrates the functional consumption value (i.e. the perceived value for money) of destinations. Kangas also noted epistemic value (i.e. curiosity, novelty and knowledge-seeking behaviours) in the medical tourism decision-making process, as medical tourism can also provide opportunities for patients to explore new regions. 32

Relationships between Model Factors

The theory of planned behaviour (TPB) is a theoretical model designed to elucidate the relationships between consumers’ beliefs, attitudes, intentions and behaviours. Various studies exploring visit and revisit intentions and the consumption behaviours of tourists based on travel motivations, risks, constraints and destination image have used the TPB hypothesis to support their models. 67 , 68 Motivation has been found to have a direct and positive relationship with behavioural intention, indicating that the motivations of medical tourists positively influence their visit intentions. 69 – 72 Researchers have also found a strong negative relationship between the perceived risks of travelling and visit/revisit intentions. 73 – 75 Disinterest has also been reported to have a significant negative impact on revisit intentions. 76 Hung et al . argued that higher travel constraints reduces the likelihood of a person travelling. 43 Lee et al . found that travel constraints and learned helplessness significantly negatively influenced the travel intentions of people with disabilities. 77

As the sociopsychological motivations of tourists strongly influence the cognitive and affective evaluation of a destination, medical tourists’ motivations are assumed to have a positive influence on destination image. 25 , 78 Chew et al . identified a significant relationship between perceived risks and destination image. 55 Bearing in mind that perceived risks directly influence visit intention, this construct can also be argued to negatively influence destination image; however, further studies are needed to fully explore this relationship. While the role of travel constraints on destination image requires further research, an initial study by Chen et al . found a significant negative relationship between travel constraints and destination image in early decision-making. 23 Destination image has also been noted to have a strong direct relationship with tourist behaviour. 79 – 82

Different factors play important roles in medical tourism. Motivations encouraging patients to travel to a foreign country for treatment vary based on different needs, while perceived risks can influence medical tourists to avoid certain destinations or decide not to travel altogether. Travel constraints may also influence the decision-making of medical tourists and are dependent on factors such as nationality, expense, destination and the presence of existing health conditions. Moreover, the attributes and image of a particular destination can also influence the visit and revisit intentions of medical tourists. This article provides a comprehensive theoretical model of medical tourism decision-making in an attempt to provide a frame of reference for future studies in this field. However, the relationships in this model are relatively complex and many aspects of this complex phenomenon require further empirical research.

Tourists’ Characteristics, Travel Motivation and Satisfaction

  • Conference paper
  • First Online: 25 November 2019
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  • Osvaldo Silva 9 ,
  • Teresa Medeiros 10 ,
  • Ana Isabel Moniz 11 ,
  • Licínio Tomás 9 ,
  • Sheila Furtado 12 &
  • Joaquim Ferreira 13  

Part of the book series: Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies ((SIST,volume 171))

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12 Citations

Our society is growing older and it is important to develop the senior tourism market. Consumers aged 55 and older are a fastest growing market segment and a major business opportunity. The purpose of this research is to develop and test a model to investigate the characteristics of the senior tourists that affect the factors of travel motivation and travel satisfaction. We intent to explore the existence of statistically significant differences in satisfaction between groups of senior tourists using the same categories. A path analysis is carried out in order to describe direct dependencies among a set of variables. In this study (n=537 senior tourists visiting the Azores islands) a model is proposed to identify the senior tourists’ characteristics which significantly affect each of the dependent variables (motivation factors and satisfaction) and which types of effects explain the association among variables. Travel satisfaction depends both on age group and perception of health status by the senior tourists. New opportunities can be found for both public and private sectors to develop and marketing new tourism products that can attract the right senior market segments.

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Silva, O., Medeiros, T., Moniz, A.I., Tomás, L., Furtado, S., Ferreira, J. (2020). Tourists’ Characteristics, Travel Motivation and Satisfaction. In: Rocha, Á., Abreu, A., de Carvalho, J., Liberato, D., González, E., Liberato, P. (eds) Advances in Tourism, Technology and Smart Systems. Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies, vol 171. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-2024-2_38

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