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Determinants of trip choice, satisfaction and loyalty in an eco-tourism destination: A modeling study on the Shiretoko Peninsula, Japan

Romão, J., B. Neuts, P. Nijkamp, A. Shikida (2014), "Determinants of trip choice, satisfaction and loyalty in an eco-tourism destination: A modeling study on the Shiretoko Peninsula, Japan", Ecological Economics, 107, 195-205.
Abstract:

Eco-tourism has recently gained an important position in the choice mechanism of tourists. Sustainable tourism development implies a combination of ecological protection, economic prosperity and social benefits for local communities. This requires an effective marketing policy to identify and attract visitors interested in – and motivated by – the particular local attractions of the place. This study addresses the development of tourism services on the Shiretoko Peninsula, a World Heritage Site since 2005, located in the northeast part of the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The novelty of our study is found in a systemic approach, combining tourists' characteristics and expectations/motivations regarding a certain destination with the resulting dissatisfaction and loyalty behaviour regarding the tourist site concerned. A multinomial logistic regression is applied to the tourists' characteristics and motivations, while next a structural path analysis is applied to the elements determining their satisfaction with the visit concerned. This structural model allows us to depict the relations between trip choice (in this case, the specific kind of boat tour) and the effects of this choice on tourists' satisfaction and loyalty. The implications of this analysis for the marketing and management of the site (e.g. in terms of loyalty behaviour) are also presented.