Academic journal article Global Journal of Business Research

The Determinants of Ecotourism Behavioral Intentions

Academic journal article Global Journal of Business Research

The Determinants of Ecotourism Behavioral Intentions

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

With the recent promotion of ecotourism in Taiwan, one strategy for developing sustainable ecotourism is to increase the competitiveness of tourism through experiential marketing and superior service quality. This study examines the effects between experiential marketing and service quality of ecotourism and tourists' behavioral intentions. The results show that experiential marketing, and service quality of ecotourism were positively correlated with tourists' behavioral intentions; experiential marketing and service quality had a positive influence on tourists' behavioral intentions; the perceptions of affective experiences or feel of tourist clusters segmented by ecotourism service quality differed significantly; and according to marital status of the demographic variables, tourists' perceptions of experiential marketing, service quality, and behavioral intentions differed significantly. These findings indicate that biodiversity ecotourism could provide optimal experiential marketing and prompt tourists who are satisfied with the service quality to return for another ecotourism experience. Tourism management could better plan the development of ecotourism by the results of this study.

JEL: M1, M10

KEYWORD: Ecotourism, Experiential Marketing, Service Quality, Tourists' Behavior Intentions

INTRODUCTION

Tourism is considered the most promising industry of the twenty-first century and is crucial to economic development. With greater tourism and service quality expectations, tourism service providers might adjust their management styles to increase competitiveness and conquer the challenge of emerging demands. In the National Development Plan outlined by the authorities in Taiwan, the doubling tourist arrivals plan was one of the ten priority investments. In the year 2011, tourism policies promoted the implementation of pilot projects for tourism excellence and tour Taiwan and experience the centennial, which were geared toward "international tourism, better quality of domestic tourism, and more foreign exchange earnings," introducing Taiwan to foreign tourists. Tourism service providers face numerous competitors and specific laws and regulations amidst an ever-changing business environment (Annual Tourism Market Profile, 2011; Survey of People Tourism, 2011; The Doubling Tourist Arrivals Plan, 2007). Since the 1970s, increasing ecological and environmental protection awareness, combined with the transformation of consumer market, has led to a new mode of tourism, which combines ecological conservation, environmental education, and cultural experiences.

This type of tourism differs from traditional recreational activities (Taiwan Sustainable Eco-Tourism Association, 2002). In 2007, ecotourism accounted for 7% of the international tourism market, increasing rapidly at an annual rate of 10% to 30% (Lin, 2007). To reduce the environmental impact of recreational activities, to encourage local residents to participate, and to conserve natural and cultural resources, the Tourism Bureau in Taiwan is promoting the ecotourism policies that focus on "local, ecological, and diversified tourism." In 2000, the Plan to Boost Tourism in Taiwan in the 21st Century included ecotourism as one of the development focuses of the tourism industry. Inspired by the environmental planning and development strategies of the United Nations and World Tourism Organization, Lin(2007) assigned the period between 1990 and 1999 into the development stage of ecotourism in Taiwan, 2000 onwards as the peak, and 2002 as the "Year of Ecotourism." Lin(2007) anticipated that the promotion of ecotourism and development of experiential ecotourism would lead to a culture and knowledge-based experience economy after 2010. A few studies examined ecotourism issues. Chaminuka, Groeneveld, Selomane & van Ierland (2012) investigated the ecotourism potential of rural communities near the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Olson (2012) explored two unique ecotourism projects in the Sierra of Manantlán Biosphere Reserve in west central Mexico by using anthropological methods. …

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