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Title: Wellness tourism : determinants of incremental enhancement in tourists' quality of life
Author: Deesilatham, Siripan
ISNI:       0000 0004 8497 5082
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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Wellness tourism is viewed as a subset of health tourism. It is the special interest or niche tourism, where travellers have the primary purpose of enhancing their well-being during the trip. Wellness tourism has received considerable attention from both academics and practitioners. However, there seems to be little understanding of motivations, behavioural intentions and psychological characteristics of the wellness tourists. Existing studies have only investigated spa/ beauty spa visitors; lifestyle resort visitors; and yoga and spiritual retreat visitors. This study, therefore, aimed to extend the existing wellness tourism knowledge by examining the narrow and specific sphere of Muay Thai fitness and meditation retreats. Previous literature used only a supply-side approach to define wellness tourists. The samples in existing studies were chosen from tourists who had only visited and/or participated in labelled wellness tourism destinations. No attempt was made to verify whether they were authentic tourists whose primary motivation was to enhance their health and well-being during their trip. To address this knowledge gap, both supply and demand-side approaches were incorporated to identify authentic wellness tourists through verification screening procedures. A literature search revealed that the psychological characteristics of wellness tourists were not well understood. Thus, another aim of this research was to explore the psychological factors (motivations, lifestyle congruence, positive emotions, self-image, satisfaction and incremental quality of life) and the behavioural factors ( behavioural intention) . The wellness tourism literature also indicated that the relationships between these variables had received scant attention. Moreover, a theoretical model linking motivation and other psychological constructs in the wellness tourism context had never been empirically tested. Consequently, this research also aimed to theoretically develop and empirically test a structural equation model, of incremental quality of life and behavioural intention within a wellness tourism context. The proposed hypotheses attempted to identify the structural relationships among the seven constructs in the model, examined through a series of analyses using AMOS 21. 0 as 1) motivation, 2) lifestylecongruence, 3) wellness self-image congruence, 4) positive emotion, 5) satisfaction during the trip, 6) behavioural intention and 7) incremental quality of life. As a principle guideline it was assumed that satisfaction during the trip was the key factor for behavioural intention and incremental quality of life of the wellness tourists. Motivation, lifestyle- congruence, wellness self-image congruence and positive emotion also played an important role in satisfaction during the trip. Also, motivation was an influential factor for the incremental quality of life of the wellness tourists. A total of 885 usable questionnaires were collected from a purposive sampling of wellness tourists at several famous wellness destinations in Phuket and Surat Thani, Thailand (Tiger Muay Thai, Phuket Top Team and Sinbi Muay Thai, International Dharma Hermitage of Wat Suan Mokkh and Dipabhavan Meditation Centre). Confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling (SEM) procedures were performed using AMOS. As hypothesised, lifestyle-congruence, wellness self-congruence and positive emotion were found to have positive effects on satisfaction during the trip. Satisfaction had a significant and direct influence on both behavioural intention and incremental quality of life. Motivation, however, had no significant influence on satisfaction and behavioural intention. The findings suggested that satisfaction partially mediated the effects of wellness self-image congruence and positive emotion on behavioural intention. Discussions, conclusions and implications for future study were presented.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Wellness Tourism ; Quality of Life ; well-being