Academic journal article Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends

The Effect of Lebanese Public Transport on Visitor's Satisfaction

Academic journal article Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends

The Effect of Lebanese Public Transport on Visitor's Satisfaction

Article excerpt

Introduction

This study measures the effect of public transport on overall visitors' satisfaction with Lebanon. Though several studies have been conducted to determine the effects of convenience on tourist's satisfaction, (Haywood & Muller, 1988; Avgoustis & Achana, 2002) very few have explored the effects of public transport on visitors' satisfaction (Thompson, 2003).

Lebanon is perceived as one of the most attractive destinations in the Middle East. Lebanon's moderate weather, archaeological riches, amazing nature, culture, and art provide the tourist with an enriching experience. The tourism industry is considered as one of the major economic drivers in Lebanon (Lebanese Ministry of Tourism, 2012).

According to the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism, the number of visitors in January 2010 was 106,005 tourists which is about 37.12% increase from January 2009. Among these tourists, Arab visitors ranked first followed by visitors from European countries who ranked second. Additionally, the World Travel and Tourism Council estimated that tourism contributed $4.3 billion to the Lebanese economy in 2012 (Daily Star, 2012).

Although the number of tourists is increasing each year, the Lebanese tourism industry is still affected by certain factors that raise obstacles to continued growth (Ladki & Sadik, 2004). "The Lebanese land transport system has reached a critical state. Despite some positive developments during the last decade such as the installation of road signs, safety rules, and development of an extensive network of roads around Lebanon, land transportation in Lebanon continues to be a complex problem", (Ladki & Sadik, 2004). This implies that the Lebanese transportation sector is growing moderately and continues to suffer from poor infrastructural system.

In Lebanon, the transportation sector is a minor economic driver, which has contributed about $451 million over the last ten years. Over the considered period, this sector contributed 2% to the nation's GDP. Lebanese public transport sector consists of the following providers: shared taxi services, private taxis, microbus (minivans), public buses, private sector buses/pullman. Visitors may use any of the mentioned public transport modes or use car rentals to access different locations across Lebanon.

Transportation is an important value added contributor to the tourism industry and a determining factor in destination's advancement. Improved infrastructure plays an important role in determining tourist's satisfaction with the country as a destination.

Literature Review

According to King (2007), the existing relationship between the transportation system and travel and tourism industry has positively impacted the American economy. The former is a $1.3 trillion and a generator of more than 7.5 million direct jobs, while the latter transports the nation's travelers and goods.

The transport sector continues to guide / impact the tourism system. It is well documented that people travel for a reason and getting to places requires the use of several methods of transport. Therefore, Transport lies at the center of the movement of people. Transport plays a vital role in tourism since it:

1. Makes possible the mobility of people.

2. Serves as an exchange mechanism whereby it allows the tourist to visit as many possible places; thus, maximizing the visitor's exposure to the country (Duval, 2007; Page, 2009).

Duval (2007) stated that the linkage between transport and tourism is not well defined. Among the many definitions of transport, transport is viewed as a mean of travel and a destination (floating ocean liners and river cruises). The differentiation between those who use the transport system for business or leisure is complex yet feasible to analyze. Air transport has linked emerging destination with major global tourism feeding capitals. For example, few years ago there were two daily flights linking Beirut-Paris and Beirut-Riyadh. …

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