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Title: The gradation of destination loyalty : a discussion on destination loyalty with the integration of theories of place attachment and existential authenticity
Author: Chi, Shan Ju
ISNI:       0000 0004 2740 1154
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2012
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Tourism destination market is competitive due to the increase of the number of world-wide international arrivals and more holiday destination players. Maintaining repeated tourist numbers is as important as attracting potential first-timers. Previous research has suggested that the majority of the destination loyalty research follows the framework of general brand loyalty theories. These studies tend to be positivist employing quantitative research designs. Moreover, they focus on causal analyses amongst image, satisfaction and revisit intention, which perceive loyalty as an ultimate goal. However, the current study identifies that the conceptual definition of loyalty conflicts with the constructs of loyalty. Additionally, the study aims to explain the dynamic rotation of actual revisits and place endearment by integrating theories of place attachment, existential authenticity and development of destination loyalty. The current study employs interpretivism as research philosophy and interpretive as paradigm. It obtained data from focus groups and semi-structured interviews under the exploratory-purposed research design. The data is then analysed by means of the thematic analysis technique. Focus groups serve as the preliminary study; they allow examination of destination loyalty from real practices. Interviews generate information to fulfil the research aims by explaining the formation and development of destination loyalty with the integration of the theories of place attachment and existential authenticity. The current results indicate that intention is hardly actuality and tourists are behaviourally loyal to multiple holiday destinations. Destination features fulfil tourists’ physiological needs and bring satisfaction and excitement. However, they do not deepen tourists’ attachment to the holiday destination. They are longer residence experience, local involvement, and memory which make tourists feel the destination like home to them. They are taken in as members of the local community. In addition, travel experiences are self-learning process and tourists dialogue with themselves during their journeys and then they were promoted knowledgably and spiritually. Tourists gain sense of belongingness and self-actualisation from holiday experiences. This study suggests that destination loyalty is a dynamic process rather than a terminal status of behavioural consumption. With the integration of self-realisation, destination loyalty can be seen to be more than habitual and occasional revisits and fulfilments and satisfaction of physiological needs. This study unhooks the causal analyses on attributes; instead, it proposes a new perspective of explaining the development and enhancement of destination loyalty. The results can be beneficial for destination management and marketing research. Maintaining and branding are just the initial process. A tourist destination must utilise its characteristics to create more irreplaceable experiences for tourists, which enable tourists to build up profound emotional associations with the place.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available