|dc.description.abstract||Destination decision-making has gained considerable attention in the field of tourism research because it relates directly to the destination selection behaviours of tourists, and thus to formulating and implementing effective marketing strategies. This research examines the destination decision-making process and applies a value-based approach to the globally influential travel market of Indian tourists.
The motive for this research was to study Indian travellers as a potential market for Sri Lankan tourism. However, as the research evolved, following the initial qualitative research findings, the thesis developed and empirically tested a model for the influence of values on destination decision-making; thus, the study of Indian visitors to Sri Lanka became a secondary concern.
The conceptual framework, informed by exploratory qualitative research and two phases of literature review, for the first time in the destination decision-making literature, integrates four different concepts and theories: destination decision-making, consumption value theory, destination image, and the consumers’ value hierarchy.
More specifically, the introduction of a new variable labelled selective image, derived from destination image and consumption value theories, successfully synthesises several variables previously studied in destination selection research. Human values and travel motivations are included in the model as precursors of selective image. The model conceptualises human values, travel motivations, and selective image as a tourism value hierarchy with corresponding constructs to a consumers’ value hierarchy.
The research adopted an exploratory mixed method approach, using qualitative face-to-face interviews and quantitative online questionnaires. The qualitative study was directed by a preliminary conceptual framework, which described destination decision-making as a three-staged process, with each stage involving its own choice sets, until the final destination is selected. However, the qualitative findings highlighted limitations of the preliminary framework; so that, the conceptual framework was further developed through a second phase of literature review. This extended conceptual framework integrated destination image theory, consumption value theory, destination decision-making, and the concept of consumers’ value hierarchy. Human values, travel motivations, and travel constraints were identified as the main independent variables, whereas selective image was the main dependent variable of the conceptual framework, with selective image being a second-order variable to the consumer value dimensions: i.e., the functional, social, emotional, epistemic, and conditional.
The qualitative data were analysed using thematic and content analysis. The quantitative data analysis used a range of techniques such as ANOVA, PLS path modelling, Leximancer maps, and descriptive statistics
The outcomes of this research contribute to the field of tourism behavioural research through the introduction of a new variable ̶ selective image. This can be used to assess destination decision-making. The value hierarchy of human values-travel motivations-selective image provides a solid foundation upon which to integrate the value concept in destination decision-making. The conceptual model is relevant to, and can easily be applied by, destination marketers for market analysis and segmentation. Another key contribution of this research is its applicability in the context of tourism marketing||