Marine Sport Tourism in Taiwan

By Hsiao-Ching, Hung | ASBM Journal of Management, January-June 2018 | Go to article overview

Marine Sport Tourism in Taiwan


Hsiao-Ching, Hung, ASBM Journal of Management


Introduction

Taiwan is a small island nation, 180 km east of China. Surrounded by the sea, the country offers abundant marine resources suitable for development of marine leisure oriented sports. Penghu, the largest Island in Taiwan, has abundant natural resources, both natural (marine ecology and wildlife, beaches, intertidal zone, islets, unique basalt geology) and cultural (rural area, fishing village, temples, historical and cultural monuments), and therefore, provides an important foundation for tourism development (Wu & Chang, 2013, 2014). Due to strong northeast monsoon in the winter, there is a distinct difference between the tourist season and the busy season in Penghu area. At present, the tourism industry in the Penghu is mostly related to water based activities associated with sports, such as diving, snorkeling, banana boat rides, water motorcycles, air extraction parachute etc. (Chang Liao, Yang, & Chang, 2015).

According to Gibson, Attle, and Yiannakis (1998), sport tourism refers to participation in sport activities, witnessing sports events, or visiting tourist attractions, both for competition and leisure. With no entity, tourism product is different from the essence of the product; the main product in tourism being "experience". So what counts most is the experience of the consumers, i.e., the tourists. This experience determines whether the purchase (i.e., the first visit) was worthwhile and whether repeat purchase (re-visit) will be there.

Literature Review

Tourism motivation is the main reason for people to engage in tourism activities, Crandall (1980) defines tourism motivation as the individual's need for recreation, which leads to the individual's engagement in recreational activities and directs the activity towards a particular goal to meet the needs through recreational behavior. According to Crompton and McKay (1997), tourism motivation is conceptualized as "a dynamic process of internal psychological factors (needs and wants) that generate a state of tension or disequilibrium within individuals" (p.427). Baloglu and McCleary (1999) divide tourism motivation into such factors as relaxation and avoidance, stimulation and adventure, knowledge motivation, social motivation and prestige motivation. Yoon and Uysal (2005) put forward the thrust factors such as excitement, intellectual education, relaxation, family reunion, escape, safe and fun, leaving home and enjoying the scenery. In term of the sport tourism participant motivation, Saayman, Slabbert, and Merwe (2009) studied tourists' travel motivation for two marine destinations in South Africa. The results revealed both common and different motivational factors when comparing the two marine destinations with one another as well as with other studies. The following motivational factors overlap for the two destinations: escape and relaxation, destination attractiveness, and site attractiveness as well as personal attachment. Merwe, Slabbert, and Saayman (2011) studied travel motivations of tourists to selected marine destinations, and the result found that motivation includes: destination attractiveness, escape and relaxation, time utilization, and personal attachment.

Tourists are motivated to understand the reasons for their participation in tourism, and the most important one is their experience at the destination. Travel experience for the individual gained through the tourism process of participation and experience gives rise to feelings, which are affected by social conditions and cultural background (Ryan, 1995; Wearing & Wearing, 1996; Larsen, 2007; Walls et al., 2011). Morgan's study (2007) points out the sport tourists' experience at the destination, which includes: social interaction, cultural interaction, social identities, personal meaning, achievement and hedonic pleasures. In some tourism studies, it is found that the motivations of tourists' participation will affect their experience at the destination. …

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