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Title: Saudi women's perceptions and experiences of shopping and tourism
Author: Al Saleh, Samirah Saad
ISNI:       0000 0004 2715 0113
Awarding Body: University of Sunderland
Current Institution: University of Sunderland
Date of Award: 2011
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Tourism in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has gained increasing importance through recent years. Moreover, in Saudi Arabia there are increasing opportunities for free time, and a high percentage of disposable income is being spent on various forms of leisure and tourism such as shopping. This has increased the number of Saudi women travelling to both international and domestic tourism destinations. One of the most important areas, the Jeddah Governorate, has been able to develop an attractive tourist base, benefiting from a relatively sound infrastructure. The purpose of this study was to investigate female Saudi domestic tourists' shopping experiences in the Al-Balad (old down town) area as well as in the newer commercial shopping malls in Jeddah. The research used a qualitative approach, primarily focus groups which were structured into six groups of Saudi women each of approximately six individuals according to age. Each focus group was contacted two times, once before their visit, and once at the end of their visit, to obtain data about both their tourism perceptions and their actual experiences. All focus group information was recorded, transcribed and analyzed using methods of textual analysis. The results of the analysis of the focus groups confirm that Jeddah is a favourite choice for Saudi women. The study also found that Saudi women agreed that the tourist industry is still relatively under-developed, with a scarcity of quality services. Saudi women generally agreed that their travel to new places across the country depended on knowledge from friends and relatives who gave them suggestions and recommendations about accommodation options and places to visit. Saudi women agreed that the major reasons for going downtown were to refresh their memories of the place and they prioritized heritage, folklore and the availability of rare items that cannot be found in other places. On the other hand some 26 commercial shopping malls now combine shopping, recreational activities and restaurants in the region. The study found that Saudi women prefer to shop in malls rather than in individual stores (boutiques), as they can find many different stores in one place: supermarkets, clothes shops, toy shops, jewellers, makeup and perfume stores, bookshops and shoe shops. They generally prefer indoor shopping due to the climate and security concerns. The results indicate that the main motivation for shopping is needs, followed by enjoyment and recreation, walking and sport. Most of Saudi women preferred going alone for shopping, with their sisters, with their daughter(s), perhaps with friends, their mother or sons. Husbands usually came in last place and they go shopping with them only when they want them to pay for expensive items like jewellery. Regarding internet shopping, the results indicate that most of the Saudi women refuse to shop in this way because they cannot touch things they purchase, or see what the quality is like. Despite this, they explain that they browse shopping sites and have a look at the prices and compare them with the prices in their local market. The results further indicate that Saudi women usually travel to three Arabic locations, Egypt, Lebanon & UAE for shopping tourism. Further afield, for Saudi women America came next especially Los Angeles, Hawaii, New York and San Diego. European destinations such as the UK, Switzerland, France, Italy and Austria were also recognised. Most Saudi women felt that 'shopping abroad is fun' because it is not just shopping and included a lot of entertainment. The study shows that Saudi women sought souvenirs whilst on holiday abroad, more than on holiday in Saudi Arabia.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available