BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Tourism is an interaction of social, cultural and economic phenomenon in which depicts the locomotive capability of certain group people to countries or places outside their normal environment for personal, educational and professional purposes (G. Casurao and H. Rebollo, 2010). The field of tourism industry is considered as a leading global industry contributing to a pertinent growth proportion on world production, trade, investments and employment. A statistical survey on inbound tourisms revealed that non-residents travelled to a given destination outside their usual environment, and staying for no longer than 12 consecutive months for leisure, business or other corresponding purpose (United Nations Environment Programme (2012).
In a global scenario, Tourist satisfaction plays a crucial role in tourism industry in establishing a destination image (Lai & Vinch, 2013, Petrick, 2004).Tourist satisfaction becomes the determinants of many tourism providers in striving to provide quality products and services (Esu & Arrey, 2009) that could establish competitive advantage (Shergill & Sun, 2005). A study by Suebsamarn (2009) identified satisfaction as strong determining factors of tourist likelihood of revisiting the destination. The Improvement of destination attributes through marketing and promotional activities will therefore make the travel destination attractive and competitive (Siri, Kennon, Josiam & Spears, 2012; Kozak & Rimmington, 1999). However, tourist satisfaction cannot be achieved unless the tourism industry will understand the behavioral background and preference of tourist (Truong & King, n.d.), which includes background knowledge, learning capabilities and travel experiences. Moreover, satisfied tourists are more likely to share positive experiences and will further recommend the destination to others (Nnanjar (2012). They will even re-avail the services as paying compliments to the service and product providers for the development of long-term loyalty (Correia, Moital, De Costa & Peres, 2008; Sivalioglu & Berkoz, 2012). Moreover, a satisfied tourist will also contribute to increase the rates of the retention of tourists’ patronage, loyalty and acquisition, which in turn helps in realizing economic goals like increased number of tourists and revenues (Sivalioglu ; Berkoz, 2012).Ultimately, the tourist satisfaction plays an important role in establishing destination loyalty(Som, Shirazi, Marzuki ; Jusoh,2011).
To continuously improve the tourism industry of General Santos City there is really a need to investigate the relationship between destination attributes and tourist satisfaction from tourist perspectives (Lai ; Vinh, (2013. Indeed, this study is proposed because it becomes necessary to identify and analyze the characteristics of tourism attributes in relation to tourist satisfaction as well as future expectations of tourism firms.
One of the basic problems in providing a solution is the absence of the tangible information on the nature of the problem of the tourism industry raised by the tourist, this concerns will basically covered the different services from the other sectors like accommodations, transportation, attractions, and rendered services by the tourist firms. The study would like to provide a corrective action based from the feedbacks provided by the tourist, and it will serve as a tool to render better services in the future at the same time improve existing services.
Statement of the Problem
This study entitled “The Characterization of the Inbound Tourism in General Santos City” seeks to determine the Satisfaction and Attributes of General Santos City Inbound tourists. Specifically, it is geared towards answering the following problems:
1. What is the profile of the respondents in terms of?
1.3 Marital Status;
1.4 Country of Residence; and
1.5 Social Status?
2. What are the travel characteristics of respondents in terms of?
2.1 Number of day spent in General Santos City;
2.2 Type of Tourist;
2.3 Travel party;
2.4 Means of knowing General Santos City;
2.5 Travel arrangement;
2.6 Transportation Vehicle;
2.6.1 Public Transportation Vehicle;
2.6.2 Transportation Fare;
2.6.3 Transportation Services.
2.8 Purpose of visiting General Santos City; and
2.9 General Santos City tourism attraction visited?
3. What are the tourism attributes that make General Santos City a travel destination?
4. What is the level of tourist probability of revisit General Santos City?
At the end of this study, the researchers able to attain the following objectives:
1. The researcher able to determine the Demographic Profile of the inbound tourist of General Santos City.
2. The researcher is able to provide a travel Characterization of the inbound tourist of General Santos City.
3. The researcher able to identify the preferred attributes of General Santos as travel destinations by the inbound tourist.
4. The researcher able to determine the probability of the inbound tourist to revisit General Santos City.
Significance of the Study
The study on the Characterization of the inbound tourist of General Santos City is highly significant, it will give us a broader perspective to better utilize our attributes to attract more tourist to visit our tourist spots. The study will be a good baseline data to further boost the economic growth of the city.
Department of Tourism. The result of the study will aid them in implementing programs or any other related activities that would help in the development and improvement of General Santos City tourism attributes.
Local Government. The result of the study provides inputs to local government for decision making as to how they can manage and develop sustainably the General Santos City tourism attributes.
Tourism Business firms. The result of this study identified the strongest and the weakest attribute of tourism in General Santos City. This gives them an opportunity to evaluate themselves as part of the tourism sector and formulate some strategies on how to improve their products and services to highly satisfy tourists and enjoy the result of the word-of- mouth recommendation.
Local Community. The result of the study enhanced their awareness in their effort to continuously improve the General Santos city tourism attributes for travellers to come and experience. This way, they are benefited in terms of higher rate in tourist arrivals, which would also mean development of their area and improvement in their status of living.
Future Researcher. The result of the study help future researcher by using the Findings of the study as their references in their own study.
Scope and Limitations
The Characterization of the Inbound Tourism in General Santos City seeks to determine only the Satisfaction and Attributes of inbound tourism of General Santos City. The study will only deal with the inbound tourist of the place.
The study conducted will employ the descriptive method by using a questionnaire. The researcher will employ the purposive method of sampling. The data gathering will be done within 7 days period at General Santos City International Airport.
The tourist travel destination/attraction will only be limited within the area of General Santos City. Those areas outside the city will no longer be included in the data. The list of tourist attraction/destinations will be listed in the Questionnaire.
The following theoretical framework will be applied in the Characterization of the inbound tourism of General Santos City:
The study focuses on profiling destination attributes which influence tourists’ satisfaction. Therefore, this research is based on a consumer behavior model, which postulates that consumer satisfaction is a function of both expectations related to certain attributes, and judgments of performance regarding these attributes. (Clemons and Woodruff, 1992) One of the most commonly adopted approaches used to examine the satisfaction of consumers is expectancy-disconfirmation theory. Expectancy-disconfirmation theory currently dominates the study of consumer satisfaction and provides a fundamental framework for this study. As described by Oliver (1980), expectancy-disconfirmation theory consists of two sub-processes having independent effects on customer satisfaction: the formation of expectations and the disconfirmation of those expectations through performance comparisons. Expectancy-disconfirmation theory holds that consumers first form expectations of products’ or services’ (the cultural/heritage destination attributes in this study) performance prior to purchase or use. Subsequently, purchase and use contribute to consumer beliefs about the actual or perceived performance of the product or service. The consumer then compares the perceived performance to prior expectations. Consumer satisfaction is seen as the outcome of this comparison (Clemons & Woodruff, 1992). Moreover, a consumer’s expectations are: (a) confirmed when the product or service performance matches prior expectations, (b) negatively disconfirmed when product or service performance fails to match expectations, and (c) positively disconfirmed when perceived the product or service performance exceeds expectations. Dissatisfaction comes about when a consumer’s expectations are negatively disconfirmed; that is the product performance is less than expected. (Churchill & Surprenant, 1982; Oliver & Beardon, 1985; Patterson, 1993) .The study also measures the overall satisfaction of tourists’ travel experiences in visiting cultural/heritage destinations, because overall satisfaction is the entire result of the evaluation of various experiences. It is important to identify and measure consumer satisfaction with each attribute of the destination because the satisfaction or dissatisfaction with one of the attributes leads to satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the overall destination (Pizam, Neumann, and Reichel, 1978).
Perceptions of the Respondents:
Destination image is defined as “the perception of groups of people” (Jenkins, 1999). “Perceptions or impressions of a destination held by tourists with respect to the expected benefit or consumption values” (Tapachai ; Waryszak, 2000). The totality of impressions, beliefs, ideas, expectations, and feelings accumulated towards a place over time by an individual or group of people” (Kim & Richardson, 2003). “Destination image is an interactive system of thoughts, opinions, feelings, visualizations, and intentions toward a destination” (Tasci et al., 2007). This study works on the framework that the perceptions of the inbound tourist will definitely make a positive impact towards boosting the tourism industry.
Tourists attribute Profile:
The study of Sonmez S. & Sriakaya E. (2002) used the following attributes to measure destination image, architectural styles, local festivals, archeological treasures, natural scenic beauty, cities, museums & art galleries, adventure, weather, cultural heritage, plenty of places to get away from crowds, local people are friendly, good-quality restaurants, hotels are easy to find , restful and relaxing place to visit, food, lifestyles and customs, standard of living, dress, road conditions, cleanliness and hygiene, safe and security, culture, shopping facilities, nature preserves and wilderness areas, tourist information, tour availability, skiing opportunity, national parks, price and good value for money. The study of Beerli and Martin (2004) categorized attributes into nine dimensions: (1) natural resources (i.e. weather, temperature, rainfall, hours of sunshine, beaches, quality of seawater, length of beaches, overcrowding of beaches, wealth of countryside, protected natural reserves, lakes, mountains, deserts, variety and uniqueness of flora and fauna); (2) tourist leisure and recreation (i.e. accommodation, number of beds categories, quality, restaurants number, quality, bars, discos and clubs, hotels and self-catering, ease of access, excursions at destination, tourist centers and network of tourist information); (3) natural environment (i.e. beauty of the scenery, attractiveness, cleanliness, overcrowding, air and noise pollution and traffic congestion); (4) general infrastructure (i.e. development and quality of roads, airports and ports, private and public transport facilities, development of health services, development of telecommunications, development of commercial infrastructure, extent of building development); (5) culture, history, and art (i.e. festival, concerts, handicraft, gastronomy, folklore, religion, museums, historical buildings, monuments, customs and ways of life); (6) social environment (i.e. quality of life, underprivileged and poverty, language barriers, hospitality and friendliness of the local residents); (7) tourist infrastructure (i.e. accommodation, number of beds ,categories, quality, restaurants number, quality, bars, discos and clubs, hotels and self-catering, ease of access, excursions at destination, tourist centers, network of tourist information); (8) political and economic factors(i.e. political stability, political tendencies, terrorist attacks, safety, crime rate, economic development and prices); and (9) Leisure and recreations (i.e. golf, fishing, hunting, skiing, entertainment and sports activities, scuba diving, trekking, adventure activities, theme parks, water parks, zoos, casinos, nightlife and shopping).The study also works on the conceptual framework that a tourist spot needs to live up to the preconceptions of the inbound tourist. The inclusions of tourist attribute profile will justify the image provided by the marketing effort and promotional activities. The Tourist attribute profile will serve to validate the perceptions of the inbound tourist.
Tourist satisfaction is considered one of the prime variables to sustain competitive business in the tourism industry because it affects the choice of destination, consumption of products and services (Kozak & Rimmington, 2000). Tourist satisfaction has been one of the key areas of tourism research for more than four decades. Howard & Sheth (1969) the buyers cognitive state of being adequately or inadequately rewarded for the sacrifices he have undergone”.
It is a judgment that a product or service itself, provided (or is providing) a pleasurable level of consumption-related fulfillment, including levels of under- or over-fulfillment”. The above satisfaction definitions were adopted from Gisse & Cote (2000) research paper. Kotler (2000) defined satisfaction as “a person’s feelings of pleasure or disappointment resulting from comparing a product are perceived performance (or outcome) in relation to his or her expectations”. Kim et al. (2003) “customer satisfaction is a post-purchase attitude formed through a mental comparison of the product and service quality that a customer expected to receive from an exchange.” Attributes of Satisfaction Quite large number of research has been dedicated to examine the practice of which customer’s decision about a service or product and number of theoretical structures has been proposed to examine the attributes of satisfaction (Gengqing Chi., 2005). Satisfaction attributes were measured by Parasuraman et al. Service Quality Scale interpretation ability (reliability, responsiveness ; assurance) empathy and tangibility (Hwang, S.N., 2005 ; Castro et al., 2007). Satisfaction were measured by efficiency, service quality, social value, play, aesthetics, perceived monetary cost, perceived risk, time ; effort spent and perceived value (Gallarza et al., 2006). Satisfaction attributes were analysed by cognitive image of natural resources, cognitive image of service quality, cognitive image entertainment and affective image (Lucio Hernandez et al., 2006). Satisfactions of tourist measured by general satisfaction attribute satisfaction (i.e. attractions, accommodation, accessibility, amenities and activities) and met expectations. The satisfaction attributes included attractions, lodging, dining, shopping, accessibility, activities and events and environment (Chi, C. G. et al., 2008). Attributes like perceived attractions, perceived quality, perceived risk and perceived value used measure the satisfaction of tourists (Quintal et al., 2008). Tourist attractions, basic facilities, cultural attractions, touristy substructures and access possibilities, natural environment, variety and economical were influence tourist satisfaction (Coban, 2012). This study gives crucial emphasis on the inbound tourist gratification of the experiences upon availing the tourism services. A satisfied customer will likely develop travel destination loyal and word of mouth promotions.
According to Newman and Werbel (1973) “loyal customers as those who re-buy a brand, consider only that brand, and do no brand-related information seeking”. Tellis (1988) defined in “behavioral terms as repeat purchasing frequency or relative volume of same-brand purchasing”. Hawkins, Best ; Coney (1995) defined loyalty as “consumers’ intentions or actual behavior to repeatedly purchase certain products or services”. Oliver’s (1997) definition of loyalty emphasizes the two different aspects of loyalty the behavioral and attitudinal concept: a deeply held commitment to re-buy or re-patronize a preferred product/service consistently in the future, thereby causing repetitive same-brand or same brand-set purchasing, despite situational influences and marketing efforts having the potential to cause switching behavior”. Oliver (1997) defined loyalty at a higher level, which he termed ‘ultimate loyalty’, as those consumers who fervently desires to re-buy a product
or service, will have no other, and will pursue this quest against all odds and at all costs”. The
Following definitions were adopted from Jones & Taylor (2007). The Customer’s aim to maintain a relationship with a particular service provider and make his or her next purchase in the category from this service provider” (Jones et al., 2000). A build destination loyalty by the tourist will definitely be the main goal of any businesses. Loyal customers will definitely be an asset to a business.
The study is guided by the null hypothesis which will be tested at 0. 05 level of significance:
HO1: There is no significant difference in the level of travellers’ satisfaction when analysed according to profiles and tourist characteristic.
HO2: There are no factors found to influence tourists’ revisit.
Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms will be used operationally in the study on the Characterization of Inbound Tourism of General Santos City:
Attributes. A quality or feature regarded as a characteristic of a travel destination or tourist spots.
Characterization. A description of the distinctive nature of a person which includes its demography, personal interest, accommodation and other data related to travels.
General Santos City. A first class highly urbanized city in Soccsksargen, Philippines.
Revisit. To go back or consider again to a visited travel destination.
Satisfaction. The state of being satisfied; contentment.
Tourist Spots. A tourist attraction is a place of interest where tourists visit, typically for its inherent or exhibited natural or cultural value, historical significance, natural or built beauty, offering leisure and amusement
Tourism. A travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and the business of operating tours.
Inbound Tourism. It is the activities of the visitor travelling to a place outside his usual environment for not more than one consecutive year and not less than 24 hours. The travel is for leisure, business and not for permanent work and gaining money.