Visitors to Mauritius - Place, Perceptions and Determinants of Repeat Visitation
Prayag, G. (2009). Visitors to Mauritius - Place, Perceptions and Determinants of Repeat Visitation (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/3975
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/3975
Tourism has long been recognised as a vital element of the economic development and growth of island destinations. This has been no different for the island of Mauritius, whose appeal is predominantly based on a sun, sand and sea product anchored in resort-based experiences. At the maturity stage of its destination life cycle, the island has embarked on product development and market diversification strategies for growth. In this respect, this study investigates cultural differences in image perceptions for the key generating markets of Mauritius and the factors determining repeat visitation. The relationship among several constructs such as destination image, service interactions, place attachment, personal involvement, satisfaction and future behaviour is explored. Understanding these relationships, can possibly improve segmentation, targeting, product development strategies and revisit intentions. Also, the role of interactions by visitors with hotel employees and how these influence other constructs such as place attachment and personal involvement have been of lesser interest to researchers. Therefore, a literature review on these relationships informs the construction of a theoretical model. Adopting a post-positivist stance, the qualitative component of the research focuses on exploring visitors‟ perceptions of image and service interactions using social constructionism. Personal construct theory informed the choice of a convenience sample of 103 visitors. Broad questions were designed within a phenomenological approach to allow participants to narrate their lived‟ experiences. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data and supplemented by content analysis using CATPAC to improve credibility of interpretation. The findings revealed that images are linked to motives for choice and in the case of Mauritius, fulfilment of needs for relaxation and escape as well as socialisation and learning determine visitors‟ perceptions. Service interactions are imbued in values such as integrity and respect, mutual understanding and authenticity of display. Place attachment as a latent dimension was related to the affective image of the place while personal involvement and familiarity influenced perceptions of service interactions. Nationality, ethnicity and language spoken had some influence on perceptions. These findings informed the design of a survey instrument that was administered to a quota sample of 1000 visitors, of which, 705 were useable. The method of data collection iii was self- completion by hotel guests and self-completion in the presence of the researcher on beaches around hotels. Exploratory factor analysis was initially used to assess the dimensionality of the various constructs in the theoretical model, thereafter confirmatory factor analysis and structural equations modelling were undertaken to validate the model. Cluster analysis was used to identify different segments of visitors based on their level of personal involvement and place attachment. Regression models were developed to predict visitors overall image, satisfaction and loyalty as well as their propensity to be repeaters. The results indicated that destination image has both direct and an indirect influence over future behaviour. In particular, personal involvement and perceived service interactions are antecedents of destination image, while place attachment has motives for choice and personal involvement as antecedents. Given these relationships, important implications for destination image, product development as well as direction for destination marketing are offered. Implications for service providers are discussed and theoretical contributions of the study are highlighted.
The University of Waikato
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