Travel Consumer Behavior of the Mature Market in US

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Travel Consumer Behaviour

The tourism sector is perceived as the fastest growing sector in the world (Dahl & Moreau, 2002, p. 48; Sheth, Mittal & Newman, 1999, p. 3). Tourism remains the main source of revenues for many economies. Consequently, it is considered the backbone of these economies. The sustainability of this sector is subject to travel plans made by tourists. The choice of the tourist destination is very important and various literatures point out that certain factors influence the decisions of the tourists to travel (Blodgett et al., 2001, p. 90; Sheth, Mittal & Newman, 1999, p. 3). Various sources of literature have pointed out that the main factors that impact the tourists’ travel decisions include: motivation, level of income, previous travel experiences, and culture.

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Travel motivation of the tourists is part and parcel of the tourists’ travel behaviours. Consequently, a number of marketing strategies for the sector have been formulated and adopted. The desire and the aspiration for adventure are the main driving factors that influence people to travel to new destination sites (Bentler & Speckart, 1979, p. 457; Um & Crompton, 1990, p. 438; Ryan, 1994). With regard to this, it is highly required for the tourism destination sites to understand and be well versed with the various needs of the tourists and offer tourism products that are tailored to meet the desires of the tourists. This will aid in boosting the travel motivations of the tourists and eventually impact on their travel behaviours. In addition, the marketing strategies and the quality of product delivery must be enhanced. Consequently, a competitive edge will be created by the tourism firms that provide the tourists’ products, thus, enhancing efficiency (Sheth, Mittal & Newman, 1999, p. 3).

The population of the elderly people in the world has grown rapidly as a result of positive changes in the health sector and improvement of life expectancy age. 11% of the total population in the world was aged at least 60 years at the beginning of the 21st century. However, it is postulated that the percentage will rise to 20% by the year 2050 (Hall, 2006, p. 15). What’s more, statistics show that over 30% of the population in Germany and Japan will be aged 60 years and above within the next two decades. In the same way, at least a quarter of France’s population, the UK’s population, and Korea’s population will be at least 60 years of age (Dann, 2001, p. 239).

It is worth mentioning that the tourism sector is currently focusing its marketing activities on the elderly cohort since majority of old people have a higher purchasing power and prefer to spend their retirement benefits on leisure. The elderly people normally have accumulated income or a good pension, thus, they can comfortably pay up the expenses involved in travelling (You & O’Leary, 1999, p. 23; Bai et al., 2001, p. 152). The elderly population is highly motivated to take part in leisure activities (i.e. long distance travels) due to the fact that many of them are well educated, have superior spending powers and are healthy (Sellick & Muller, 2004, p. 170). In addition, the elderly tourists have a lot of free time after retirement, thus, making them to be more captivating to the business of tourism that has a varied demand every season (Jang & Wu, 2006, p. 310). Many scholars have pointed out that the elderly market is very important to tourism industry as they are one of the highest consumers (Shoemaker, 2000, p. 15; Bai et al., 2001, p. 148; Horneman et al., 2002, p. 24; Jang & Wu, 2006, p. 308).

Motivation refers to the category of a need or a plight that urges a person to engage in a certain action that is expected to offer him/her satisfaction (Moutinho, 2000, p. 13). In other instances, motivation has been taken to mean the drive that exists within a person that compels him/her to engage in certain activities for the purposes of psychological or biological satisfactions (Fridgen, 1996, p. 46). Travel motivation is the kind of motivation that is connected to the reason why people decide to travel (Hsu & Huang, 2008, p. 52). The motivation that is connected to the tourists’ travel encompasses a wide spectrum of the tourists’ behaviour s and their previous travel experiences. In addition, many people prefer to engage in leisure travel for a number of reasons. These include: to enjoy quality time with family members; to take a break from day-to-day activities; to spend time with friends and expand social contacts; and travel to new places and learn about new culture..

Motivation is a procedure that relates to the preferences made by individuals or subordinate organisms among substitute forms of deliberate activity (Britton, et al., 1999, p.27). Barcelo (2000) suggested that “the present and immediate influence on the vigour, direction and persistence of action can be termed as motivation” (p. 24). Kinni (1994) found out that “business managers are striving to establish and maintain an atmosphere that is more favourable for the satisfaction of tourists, who are striving together in groups towards attaining of pre-determined goals” (p. 14). In the same way, Robson (2002) insinuated that “motivation can be offered to workers subject to the following methodologies: the customary or traditional approach; implicit bargaining; human relations approach; internalized motivation; and competition” (p. 62).

Before a tourist makes the decision to travel, several factors determine his/her travel behaviour. To be precise, the tourist behaviour is the direct outcome of the relationship between the tourisms’ personal and environmental attributes (Crouch & Jordan, 2004, p. 120; Crompton & Ankomah, 1993, p. 466). Tourist travel behaviour can therefore be described as the manner in which the tourists carry out themselves with regard to their feelings on the tourists’ products and their feedbacks on the same products (Blodgett et al., 2001, p. 90; Sheth, Mittal & Newman, 1999, p. 3).

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The decisions made by tourists with regard to their travel plans often determine how they will behave. It is therefore imperative for the tourist firms to have a comprehensive understanding concerning the personal attributes of the tourists so as to enable them to forecast and plan their activities to fit the travel requirements of the tourists. In relation to this, many researchers have pointed out that the main impacts of tourists travel behaviour are the motivations of the tourists, mind-set of the tourist, environmental factors, and situational factors. The decision making process of the tourist is initiated by the motivating factors. The tourists are motivated by the urge to satisfy or meet a specific need of the tourist. Therefore, travel motivation is still regarded as the most essential emotional factor that impacts on the behaviour of the tourists (Paraskevopoulos, 1977; O’Hagan & Harrison, 1984, p. 922; Song & Witt, 2000).

Many scholars have pointed out that the behaviour of the tourists and the factors that motivate the tourists are the key elements of their decision to travel. In fact, it is the level of tourists’ motivation that impact on their resolution to travel. Basically, the tourists make the decision to travel when their varying needs cannot be satisfied at their homes. Motivation steps up when any tourist has the desire or aspiration to meet a particular need. This motivation will further determine the level of satisfaction that the tourist expects to gain from the trip (Bargeman & Poel, 2006, p. 711; Crotts, 1999).

Many elderly tourists are motivated to travel due to the fact that they have retired from their jobs and have much time to commit to travelling around. In addition, they have an accumulation of lifetime income savings and pension, which increases their purchasing power. Elderly tourists always pay attention to some important factors before they make their travel plans. They have to make sure that the travel destination is safe and secure for them. In addition, they check on the accommodation facilities and other social amenities to make sure that their comfort is guaranteed.

Consumer behaviour is the study of how, when, why and where people do or do not source for goods or services (Baker & Hart, 1999, p. 46). It attempts to assess the influence on the consumers from external factors such as high salaries and income, growth of urban lifestyle, among others (Sheth, Mittal & Newman, 1999, p. 3). It is a common practice for the consumers to purchase goods and services for a number of reasons. These may include: reinforcing self-concepts; maintaining a given lifestyle; becoming part of a particular group or gaining acceptance in a group they already belong; and expressing cultural identity (Riquelme, 2001, p. 438; Mohsin & Ryan, 2003, p. 117; Beerli & Martin, 2004, p. 670).

Behaviour of the consumer is biased or subjective (Blodgett et al., 2001, p. 90; Sheth, Mittal & Newman, 1999, p. 3). Their decision making process is influenced by numerous factors. Personal influencing factors are categorized into two: internal factors and external factors. Internal factors include consumer’s attitudes, personality, perceptions, personal-concepts, lifestyle, roles and emotions. On the other hand, external factors include things like household structures, group associations, subcultures, and cultural beliefs among others (Jaeger et al., 2003, p. 187; Baker & Burnham, 2002, p. 352; Riquelme, 2001, p. 438).

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Internal or psychological influences are personal thoughts and feelings. Internal influences depict the way consumers interact with the environment around them, recognize their personal feelings, assemble and evaluate information, make plans, and take action. Consumer internal influences are very essential in knowing why and how a particular behaviour s occurs (Dahl & Moreau, 2002, p. 47). On the other hand, external influence evolves from the formal and informal relationships that exist among people. External influences can also be referred to as socio-cultural influence (Dahl & Moreau, 2002, p. 48; Sheth, Mittal & Newman, 1999, p. 3).

Consumer behaviour provides rich information about people who buy products and services (Hawkins, Best & Coney, 1998, p. 10). Many companies often fail to understand the needs and wants of the consumers when developing their marketing strategies and this has cost them very dearly. Therefore, evaluation and understanding of consumer behaviour must come first before creating marketing strategies and plans (Gruner & Homburg, 2000, p. 6). There are five phases that must be adopted in any marketing strategy in the tourism sector. These phases help in understanding how consumer behaviour influences the decisions made by leisure travellers when they purchase goods and services. These phases are: identification of the need; searching for the solution; evaluation of the alternatives; making of decision; and evaluating the decision made. The last phase is where consumers do regret or commend on their purchases (Smith, 2003, p. 20; Gruner & Homburg, 2000, p. 6).

In the recent past, the behaviour of the consumers within tourism sector has become the focus of attention for many researchers, regulating authorities as well as policy makers. Recent studies on consumer behaviour within the tourism sector have particularly lend credence on the elderly cohort given that they are currently the major consumers of recreational facilities and tourism products (Howard & Sheth, 1969). Consumers (being rational people) are characterized by dynamic behaviours. What’s more, their needs and motivations get more sophisticated with time (Correia, 2000). The tourists make decisions to travel on the basis of the attributes of the travel destination, the prior information they have about the site and the level of motivation they have (Howard & Sheth, 1969).

The tourism industry one of the major contributor to the growth of a country’s GDP, especially in the US. The theory of consumer behaviour provides the basis for strategically managing the tourist destination sites. In addition, it allows for the planning and forecasting of the tourists’ preferences in line with the challenges that are anticipated during their trips. Many researchers in the field of tourism have mainly concentrated on exploring the tourism demand; this has been very beneficial to the policy makers and regulating authorities in terms of planning and implementing relevant policies that influence the travel consumer behaviours (Howard & Sheth, 1969).

The process of consumer behaviour is both complex and vigorous. In the context of tourism, the consumer behaviour process is considered to be complex due to the fact that tourism products are intangible and the purchasing power of the consumers is accumulated (Correia, 2002). Three sets of models have emerged as a result of the interdisciplinary status of travel consumer behaviour. The models include: microeconomic models, structural models and processional models. With respect to microeconomic models, travel consumers normally have the motive to increase their utilities to the maximum subject to a combination of constraints such as: time, income and the level of technology (Morley, 1992). With respect to structural models, the connection between input and output is scrutinized. Finally, with regards to processional models, the consumer’s judgments are put to examination (Abelson & Levi, 1985).

The classical economic theory provides the main basis for using microeconomic model to analyse the behaviour of the consumers. When taking into consideration the demand for manageable goods or services, classical economic theory is very instrumental. In addition, the classical economic theory brings into focus the limitations that relate to tourism analysis. According to Samuelson (1981) the notion that consumers strive to maximize the utility that they derive from tourism contributes to the process of tourism analysis. Moreover, the destination sites for tourists are not considered as objects that can directly be used, but rather, products that have characteristics that facilitate the derivation of utility (Lancaster, 1966, p. 140). This utility is subject to various constraints. Morley (1992) brings into focus the utilization of microeconomic theory to the field of tourism (p.254). Several studies also show that microeconomic analysis creates a platform that is beneficial for the analysis of the behaviour of travel consumers (Paraskevopoulos, 1977; O’Hagan & Harrison, 1984, p. 922; Song & Witt, 2000).

The whole decision making process of the travel consumers is analyzed by processional models. These models pay much attention to the underlying factors that influence the decision making process of the travel consumers. In simple terms, processional models give out information that relate to the behaviour of the consumers in their decision making process. There are various factors that influence the decision making process of the consumers. However, the main outstanding factor is the decision process. Tourism products, just like other normal products, have several attributes which play the role of distinguishing them from the possible substitute products (Song & Witt, 2000; Lancaster, 1966, p. 140).

Scholarly studies that relate to the analysis of travel consumer behaviour are founded on the basis of various models that are considered to be outstanding. These models stem from the perspective of the processional models. The first model is the Nicosia model which concentrates on the correspondence that occurs between the consumer and the firm, and how the firm convinces the consumer to acquire his/her products (Nicosia, 1966). In addition, the Howard and Sheth’s model (1969) integrates the input notion that describes the behaviour of the consumers. The model also describes different ways the consumers incorporate these inputs in their decision making process. Howard and Sheth’s model is still regarded as the most important model for analyzing consumer behaviour.

Travel consumer behaviour can be assessed by paying regard to the analytic analysis of desire, anticipations, conception and satisfaction. Gallarza, Saura and Garcia (2002, p. 63) emphasized on the use of statistical tools (such as multivariate analysis that depend on other analyses like correlation matrix, sampling techniques and regression analyses) on tourism. Qualitative choice models are very efficient in assessing the consumer travel behaviours; such models entirely depend on multinomial logit (Stynes & Peterson, 1984, p. 310; Barros & Proença, 2005, p. 302; Fleischer & Pizam, 2002, p. 118). In the recent past, many academic scholars have applied structural models on researches that relate to the assessment of the travel consumer behaviours (Baker & Compton, 1998, p. 800).

Decision making process of the consumer

There are three fundamental stages involved in the process of decision making by the consumers: the pre-decision; the decision; and the post-purchase assessment (Crompton & Ankomah, 1993, p. 466; Bentler & Speckart, 1979, p. 457; Um & Crompton, 1990, p. 438; Ryan, 1994). Usually, the pre-decision stage entails serious decision making by the consumer as he/she has to make the best choice out of the many alternatives. Some of the choices the consumer must make at this stage include: the travel destination; the activities to engage in during the travel; and the level of expenditure that the consumer expects to commit. Very many tourists are motivated to travel because of the various activities that they intend to engage in or carry out (Crouch & Jordan, 2004, p. 120; Crompton & Ankomah, 1993, p. 466).

The pre-decision stage gives way for the decision stage. At this point, the consumers make decisions subject to the time available for the travel and the amount of income they want to commit on the travel. The decision stage is mainly concerned with the purchase of products. The post-purchase stage stems from the factors that determine the process of making choices and checks whether the consumer has been satisfied with the decisions or the choices that he/she had opted for. Therefore, this stage plays an important role in assessing the likelihood of making the purchase again and also in recommending or opposing the choice or the decision (Abelson & Levi, 1985; Barros & Proença, 2005, p. 300).

Theoretical Constructs

Constructs of motivation

Generally, motivation refers to a certain need that influences a person to assume a certain demeanour in order to satisfy that need. The motivation theories can be linked to some psychological factors (i.e. wants, desires, and goals) as the theories provide a description of the psychological factors. The psychological factors of needs, desires or goals induce an urgent urge in the person’s mind which leads him/her to purchase goods or services. Thus, motivation directly influences the feelings of the individuals. Consumers who have divergent motives may assess a tourist destination in the same manner especially if they are of the opinion that the destination provides them with the maximum utility (Abelson & Levi, 1985; Barros & Proença, 2005, p. 300).

The important motivational elements that have been pointed out by different scholars in their studies include: the urge to get away from the daily programs or work; and the urge to seek for alternative enjoyable experiences. The push-pull model was generated by Fishbein and Ajzen (1980). The model postulates that tourism is driven by two main forces. The first force, known as push, pushes the tourist out of his/her home driven by the desire to travel to an unspecified destination. In this context, the motivation of the push force depend on the satisfaction anticipated by the consumer, the urge to adventure, prestige, knowledge, and the desire to make new friendships. The second force, known as pull, provides the consumer with the direction regarding the choice of the destination. The motives of the pull force influence the consumer’s choice of the place to visit. The forces are connected to the features of the destination and the infrastructures that define tourism. The features of the destination enable the consumer to make judgments as to whether their desires will be fully satisfied. When the consumer has already pointed out the need, he/she proceeds to identify the destination that grants him/her the maximum satisfaction; the next stage after this is the learning stage.

The process of learning

The learning process enables the consumer to gain the knowledge concerning a product and how the product will impact on the satisfaction of the consumer. Fishbein and Ajzen (1980) studied the learning process before developing another model that processes information about the behaviour of the consumers when they are making decisions concerning the destinations that they want to visit. Actually, the consumer has the ability to retain at most seven destination sites and at least two destination sites.

The learning process presents a number of destination sites to the consumer, who has a strain in remembering all of the destinations. Thus, it is practical to choose a manageable number of destination sites that do not pose any hardship to the consumers. The analysis of the consumer learning can be viewed from the behavioural perspective or from the cognitive perspective (O’Hagan & Harrison, 1984, p.418). From the behavioural perspective, the consumer learning takes place in three parts, namely: gathering of information, making a choice, and the learning experience. When the behaviour of the consumer is repetitive, then the benefits of the result are realized (Abelson & Levi, 1985; Barros & Proença, 2005, p. 300).

From the cognitive perspective, much attention is paid to the results of learning that come about due to undetermined problems. The external and internal stimuli trigger variations of the consumer behaviour which define the process of consumer learning. The external and internal stimuli encompass the initial experiences that the consumer has with regard to the previous visits, the recommendations made to the consumer by friends or relatives concerning a destination site, promotion or publicity about the destination site, and the public’s perception on the destination site. In the beginning, these stimuli have an effect on the needs of the consumer or their motivation. However, as the consumer enters the learning process, these stimuli are instrumental in influencing their decisions thus enabling them to point out the kind of sites that fit their image or personality.

Consumers’ learning about a destination is determined by their previous experiences or by the kind of information that they receive either directly or indirectly concerning the destination. Consumers who are uncertain normally rely on information from travel agencies so that they can be equipped with the necessary information concerning the destination site. The search for information relating to the destined visit site by the consumers is motivated by the various contingencies in the market place and the nature of the visits. Consumers who travel on a regular basis have a more affinity to receive information that relate to the travel product or the travel destination. As a result, they are more likely to share the information with other interested travellers (Abelson & Levi, 1985; Barros & Proença, 2005, p. 300).

The constructs of perception

Perception refers to the way in which the travel consumers perceive the value of the product. The concept of perception stems from the cognitive point of view or from the behavioural point of view. Thus, it should be noted that perception occurs as a result of the process of consumer learning together with their motivations. Previous researches concerning tourist motivation reveal that the consumers’ selection and assessment of travel products are influenced mainly by affective factors.

Every tourist is driven by his/her personal motivational factors to travel. These motivational factors are both internal and external and they define the consumers’ insights regarding the destination. The internal motivational factors stem from the push motives while the external motivational factors stem from the pull motives. Perception is a dynamic process due to the fact that the consumers have the ability to select, organize and spell out the various stimuli in a clear manner. The perception of the consumer, therefore, varies from the real characteristics of a product to the manner in which the consumer grasps and analyzes information. Perception can occur selectively if the consumer decides to be selective in his/her exposure, attention, perceptual blockage and perceptual defence. It is a common practice for the consumers to select only things they need and leave out items they regard as unnecessary or unfavourable to them (Abelson & Levi, 1985; Barros & Proença, 2005, p. 300).

There are two concepts of perception that stem from the consumers’ learning process. One of the concepts is the cognitive perception, while the other one is the emotional perception. When the consumer assesses the features of the desired destination, cognitive perception is achieved. On the other hand, emotional perception relies on the thoughts of the consumer with regard to the desired destination. Both the two perceptions (cognitive and emotional) are essential for formulating models of perception of the tourists’ travel products.

The constructs of satisfaction

Each consumer has a different interpretation of the concept of satisfaction, thus, its definition is divergent among the various consumers. Many scholars have established a connection between the definition of satisfaction and the distinction between expectation and experience. Fishbein and Ajzen (1980) provide a definition of satisfactory experience as a part of the level of the correspondence between the consumers’ desires and the experiences that they undergo. Satisfaction does not entirely stem from the pleasures that the consumers derive from the travelling experience, but rather, it is the analysis that checks out whether the experience satisfied the consumer as it was expected to. Various researches have revealed that satisfaction and the brand’s attitude mean one and the same thing.

Affective reactions have a major influence on the experiences of the consumers’ consumption process with regard to their judgments on post-purchase satisfaction (Barsky, 1992, p. 54; Oliver, 1993, p. 422). In this case, it is assumed that the satisfaction of the tourists is dependent on the performance of the product, the perceptions of the consumer in relation to the product, and the motivations that the consumers have. The ratio between the performance and the perception rises as the level of the consumer’s satisfaction also rises (Barsky, 1992, p. 54). The ratio depends on the nature of the experiences that the consumers have in relation to the experience they had envisaged or desired. Dissatisfaction of the consumers come about when there is a major disparity between what the consumers had expected and what they actually experience in terms of the performance of the products.

Various scholars have expressed their criticisms concerning the conceptualization of satisfaction with regard to the expectations that the consumers have. Satisfaction is perceived to have a connection with surprise (Arnould & Price, 1993, p. 26). In addition, Miller (1977) concluded that consumer satisfaction can occur in various forms such as, desirable satisfaction, ideal satisfaction, and tolerable satisfaction. When tourists go for holidays, their satisfaction levels are highly connected to their level of motivation. When the travel destination is attractive, the needs and the motivation of the tourists are highly satisfied (Truong, 2005, p. 229). The perception of the destination encompasses a variety of factors and various attraction sites that the consumer believes to have the capacity to satisfy his/her desires or expectations.

Therefore, when the post-purchase behaviour analysis is undertaken, it is expected to make out whether the travel consumers have been satisfied by the tourist products or whether they have been dissatisfied by the same. The analyses of the post-purchase consumer behaviour are related to the concept of push and pull satisfaction. When the concept of push and pull satisfaction is likened to motivation, both the tangible and intangible components of the post-purchase analysis can be measured (Truong, 2005, p. 229).

The constructs of behavioural intentions

The intention by the consumer to make a purchase depends on their motives relating to both the behavioural and social norms. The motives of the consumers depend on the level of expectations that they have concerning the probability of assuming a certain behaviour and the assessment of how they regard it (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1980). Lam and Hsu (2006) in their study used the theory of reasoned action to show that the intention of the tourists to choose a destination site depends on the recognized behaviour and the past behaviour (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1980). The image that the travelling tourist portrays depends on the quality of the destination site, the anticipated satisfaction, the eagerness of the tourists to return and their enthusiasm to propose the destination to their friends. When the destination site is of a high quality, the tourists will be persuaded to return to the site because of the high level of satisfaction he/she experiences; the level of satisfaction will further influence whether the consumers will recommend the destination site to their friends. Further, studies show that the more a tourist visits a site, the more he/she is motivated to return, especially with regard to mature destinations (Kozak, 2001, p. 792).

Studies by Baloglu and McCleary (1999) confirm that tourists utilize the various sources of information so as to be familiar with the destined site. The sources of information include: the media (i.e. newspapers, televisions, or travel magazines), information from friends or relatives through word of mouth, among others (Um & Crompton, 1990, p. 436; Fakeye & Crompton, 1991, p. 12; Dann, 1977, p. 186). The information is very beneficial to the consumers in their decision making process. There are four basic types of sources of information: neutral information sources (tourism firms), commercial information sources (travel agencies), social information sources (relatives or friends) and promotional information sources (internet, magazines, radios or television) (Bargeman & Poel, 2006, p. 711; Crotts, 1999).

Travel consumers use the various sources of information to bring about a cognitive perception or an affective perception. Since tourism is like any other product, consumers should seek for all the relevant information that relate to the product before purchasing it. In addition, consumers who are uncertain always resort to using travel agencies rather than media sources to get information relating to a destination site (Barsky, 1992, p. 54; Oliver, 1993, p. 422). Travel consumers are motivated by the promotional campaigns or publicity of the destination site (Abelson & Levi, 1985; Barros & Proença, 2005, p. 300).

The findings of this study are very relevant to the elderly tourists, tourist planners and tourist marketers. It is also adequate for the country to improve and protect the physical appearance of tourist destination sites to enable her to be in a competitive position as compared to the other countries. Moreover, the ease of accessibility to the tourist destination sites should be improved so as to give an easy time for the elderly tourists to move around (Barsky, 1992, p. 54; Oliver, 1993, p. 422). Accommodation facilities and other social amenities should be upgraded so that they can be up to standard and fit the specifications and the requirements of the elderly tourists.

The general objective of this study was to determine the overseas travel motivation and market segmentation for the elderly. In line with the general objective, the study examined the following specific objectives:

  1. To determine the effectiveness of tourist behaviour on travel motivation.
  2. To determine the influence of the tourist decisions on travel motivation.

The following factors were also considered:

  1. To determine the influence of the urge to learn and experience new things on travel motivations for the elderly.
  2. To investigate the influence of the urge to get away from stress on travel motivations for the elderly.
  3. To investigate the influence of the desire to escape from the day-to-day activities on travel motivations for the elderly.
  4. To determine the relevance of safety of the destination on travel motivations for the elderly.
  5. To determine the relevance of location of accommodation on travel motivations for the elderly.
  6. To determine the influence of natural attractions on travel motivations for the elderly.
  7. To determine the influence of availability of medical facilities on travel motivations for the elderly.
  8. To determine the influence of historical attractions on travel motivations for the elderly.
  9. To determine the influence of cultural attractions on travel motivations for the elderly.

The image portrayed by travelling tourists depends on the quality of the destination site, the anticipated satisfaction, the eagerness of the tourists to return and their enthusiasm to propose the destination to their friends. When the destination site is of a high quality, the tourists will be persuaded to return to the site because of the high level of satisfaction they experienced. The level of satisfaction will further influence whether the consumers will recommend the destination site to their friends. Furthermore, studies show that the more a tourist visits a site, the more he/she is motivated to return, especially with regard to mature destinations.

. Most of the existing literatures on travel motivation focus on elderly tourist living in Europe and U.S. Some of these studies have also focused on Taiwanese elderly travellers as well as European elderly tourists who visit Thailand. Even though the Thailand government has adopted several initiatives to promote the tourism sector, there has been no major increase in the number of European tourists who visit Thailand. With regard to the results concerning the travel behaviour of the elderly tourists, 41.4% of the respondents who successfully filled out the questionnaires confirmed that it was their first time to visit Thailand. 31.86% of the respondents came from the western countries and had visited Thailand more than once. This indicates that at least one-third of the respondents were frequent visitors because of the friendly nature of the people in Thailand. The tourists who had visited for the country for the first time got information from their friends or relatives who had previously visited the place and recommended it to them.

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