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A review of the tourism literature revealed that the travelers' satisfaction from a tourist destination is an important detemlinant of their post-holiday behaviors. There are various factors affecting the travelers' perceptions of destination satisfaction. Factors like environment and safety, lodging and restaurant facilities, shopping and tourist attractions, transportation facilities and local cuisines are some determinants of destination satisfaction, are studied by many scholars. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of these variables on travelers' perceptions on destination satisfaction. By using the scale developed by Qu and Li (1997), modified and applied by Rittichainuwat, Qu and Mongknonvanit (2002), travelers requested to participate in the present study by filling out the questionnaire in a self-administrative manner. A sample of 251 tourists was collected, through convenience sampling, at the Ercan Airport departure hall between January and March 2006. The research model has been designed and multiple regression analysis in SPSS 13.0 has been used for the measurement of the hypothesized relationships. In light of regression analysis results; environment and safety, lodging and restaurant facilities, shopping and tourist attractions and transportation facilities exerted significant positive effects on destination satisfaction. Findings also show that food dimension is found to have an insignificant effect on destination satisfaction. Implications for managers, limitations, and

implications for future research were presented in the current study. Key words: Destination satisfaction, detenninants, international travelers, and perceptions, North Cyprus.

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Hotel and Tourism Management, School of Hotel and Tourism Management

The Hong Kong Polytechnic



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Introduction Tourism is one of the most thriving sectors in the world. Worldwide international tourism receipts have grown by 14 percent over the last decade (World Tourism Organization, 2005). Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of economic activity and the World Tourism Organization (WTO) has estimated that it currently accounts for 8 percent of global GNP, 16 percent of consumers' expenditure and employs over 320 million people worldwide. Moreover, although large developed countries continue to account for most tourist arrivals, the biggest increases in international tourism in recent years have been recorded by countries in the developing world and many small particularly island states have participated in this expansion (Ayres,2000) . Cyprus Island is situated at the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, 224 km long and 96 km wide, with 768 km of coastline is very rich in terms of landscape, history, and cultural heritage. Cyprus is at the crossroads of three continents - Europe, Asia, and Africa - and neighbored by countries such as Turkey (64 km), Syria (96 km), and Egypt (400 km) (Altinay and Hussain, 2005). Over the years, Cyprus has experienced a good deal of political, social, and cultural turbulence. Its more recent history emphasizes the impact of Ottoman sovereignty (1571-1878) and British colonialism (1878-1959) in shaping powerful national identities on behalf of GreekCypriots and Turkish Cypriots, the two principal ethnic communities of Cyprus. Cyprus was declared an independent republic in 1960 and adopted a constitution which gave political rights both to Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots. However, the political tension between the two ethnic leaderships over the new constitution caused serious conflicts between the two
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communities. On July 15th, 1974, the ruling military junta of Greece tried to overthrow the government of Cyprus (Symeonidou, 2005). Turkey, using 1960 agreement rights, conducted military operation on July 20th 1974 to restore constitutional order. Since then, the two communities were forced to split geographically and Cyprus was divided in two parts. Since 1974 the island has been divided, with the Greek Cypriots living in the south and the Turkish Cypriots living in the north side of the island.



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The tourism industry is one of the main generators of income for North Cyprus. In 2005, the tourism industry contributed $145.6 million (3.3 per cent) to the GDP of North Cyprus and created 8,004 jobs. In 2005 annual occupancy was 40.7 per cent (Tourism Planning Office, 2005). The North Cyprus tourism industry hosted 589,549 tourists, with its bed capacity of 12,222; in 2005 (Statistical Yearbook of Tourism, 2005). Moreover, 395.4 million US dollar is the value added in tourism sector in 2005. In the light of the figures provided by Statistical Yearbook of Tourism (2005), more than one third (38.0 percent) of the tourists visiting North Cyprus are foreigners. Moreover, almost 62.1 percent of the tourists have visited North Cyprus by package tours and 76.7 percent were above 40 years old (Statistical Yearbook of Tourism, 2005). The strengths of North Cyprus are the untouched natural resources, rich fauna and flora, various historical sites and warm Mediterranean culture. These strengths may enable North Cyprus to be one of the most popular tourist destinations in world. However, boycotts sanctioned by the United Nations including postal and communication services, prohibited direct

international flights, negative promotion campaigns made by the South Cyprus government are some of the weaknesses (Gursoy and Ekiz, 2006; Kilic and Okumus, 2005; Katicioglu, Arasli and Ekiz,2006). A review of the tourism literature revealed that the travelers' satisfaction from a tourist destination is an important determinant of their post-holiday behaviors. There are various factors affecting the travelers' perceptions of destination satisfaction. Factors like environment and safety, lodging and restaurant facilities, shopping and tourist attractions, transportation facilities and local cuisine are some determinants of destination satisfaction, is studied by many scholars (Choi, Chan and Wu, 1999; Heung, 2000; Weiennair, 2000; Pawitra and Tan. 2003; Beerli and Martin, 2004; Hankinson, 2004; Sarikaya and Woodside, 2005; Yoon and Uysal, 2005). By referring the findings of the previous studies, this paper aims to investigate the effects of environment and safety, lodging and restaurant facilities, shopping and tourist attractions, transportation facilities and local cuisine on international travelers' satisfaction perceptions from North Cyprus as a tourist destination. To achieve this aim scale, developed by Qu and Li (1997) modified and applied by Rittichainuwat, Qu and Mongknonvanit (2002) is used.


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Literature In an intensive competitive environment, provision of high levels of service quality, achieving customer satisfaction and increasing customer retention rates play crucial roles in the success of service organizations (Lovelock and Wright, 1999; Kotler and Annstrong, 2006). This is also true for the tourism establishments and destinations (Kotler, Bowen, and Makens, 1999). "However, there have been limited studies conducted on the relationship between travel satisfaction and behavior on behavioral intentions during the post-purchase destination selection process" (Rittichainuwat, Qu and Mongknonvanit, 2002, p. 20). Before talking about destination selection process, defining post-purchase behavior can be helpful. It is defined as "a series of steps in which consumers compare their expectations to perceived reality, experience consequent satisfaction / dissatisfaction, and by then act in a way influenced by that satisfaction and dissatisfaction" (Gilly and Gelb, 1982, p. 323). In his critical review, Yi (I990) proposes that there are three types of definitions of satisfaction as an outcome or as a process. These definitions include: "the buyer's cognitive state of being adequately or inadequately rewarded for the sacrifices he has undergone"; "an emotional response to the experiences provided by, associated with particular products or services purchased, retail outlets, or even molar patterns of behavior such as shopping and buyer behavior, as well as the overall marketplace"; and "the summary psychological state resulting when the emotion surrounding disconfirmed expectations is coupled with the consumer's prior feelings about the consumptions change" (Yi, 1990, p. 69). Thus, placing emphasis on the measurement/identification of

customers' perceptions and satisfactions from the destination is vitally important for future marketing activities. Research examining customers' satisfaction with destinations' products and attributes is to be found in the marketing literature (Kozak and Rimmington, 1998; Heung, 2000; Chaudhary, 2000; Hankinson, 2004; Sarikaya and Woodside, 2005). Destination satisfaction refers to the emotional state of tourists after exposure to the opportunity or experience (Ibrahim and Gill, 2005). Furthermore, when travelers praise their holidays and express preference for the destination over others, it means that they are likely to revisit the destination and disseminate a positive word of mouth communication, or opposite (Zeithaml, Berry and Parasuraman, 1985). As travelers participate in the selection, production and consumption of services in the destination, they are involved intimately with various aspects of the destination such as selection of type of holiday they want to have, how to travel, where to stay, what to eat, where to see, what


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to buy, so on. All these facilities and attributes are considered and categorized by many academics (Choi, Chan and Wu, 1999; Kozak and Rimmington, 1998; Heung, 2000; Chaudhary, 2000), as the components of destination satisfaction but it is beyond the scope of this study to categorize these components. This study will replicate the dimensions proposed by
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Rittichainuwat, Qu and Mongkaonvanit's (2002) which are lodging and restaurant, shopping and tourist attractions, transportation, environment and safety and foods. Unlike tangible goods or pure services, most travel related experiences are an amalgam of different goods and services. However, since tourists spend most of their times either in their hotels, resting, sun bathing or in restaurants, eating or drinking, therefore it is possible to say that satisfaction with a lodging experience and/or a restaurant meal are the main determinants of the total destination satisfaction (Chen and Gursoy, 2001). Changes in satisfaction with the meal experience may result from changes in the perception of the actual quality of outcomes received, or from changes in the expectations against which these outcomes are compared. Alterations in the expectations can result from change in needs (i.e. hungry versus full; tired versus rested) change of objectives (i.e. business trip vs. leisure trip), new personal or vicarious experiences (i.e. recently had a superb hospitality experience at another hotel) and any other influences that make salient a particular quality of outcomes (i.e. it's a very hot day and the restaurant is not air conditioned) (McCallum and Harrison, 1985). Czepiel et al. (1985) on the other hand, suggest that satisfaction meal experience is a function of satisfaction with two independent elements. The functional element, i.e. the food and beverage in a restaurant, and the perfonnance-delivery element, i.e. the service. Finally, Pizam and Ellis (1999) measured meal experience with 26 items including and concluded that factors like spaciousness of establishment, accuracy of bill, litter outside restaurant and noise level can also be very important in the assessment of overall quality of meal experience. Reisinger and Waryszak (1994) examined eight areas of service at shops, namely the shop assistants' friendliness, politeness, helpfulness, ability to provide tourists with infonnation, being concerned about customer needs, ability to speak the foreign language, ability to wrap purchased goods and being financially exploitative. They concluded that for a shop serving to tourists all these factors have significant positive affect on the tourists' perceived destination satisfaction (Reisinger and Waryszak, 1994).


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Chu-Mei (2001) defined attractions at the destinations as the things for tourists to see and do, they may provide the incentives to travel (e.g. sun, sand, sea). According to Kandampully (2000, p. 10), "the future trends for tourism seem to suggest that travelers will be especially concerned with not just being 'there', but with participating, learning and experiencing the place they visit". In this sense successfully promoted, planned tourist attractions can take the travelers one step beyond just "being there". The importance of nature-adventure trips, history, culture, education and health tourism are increasing constantly. Countries, using their unspoiled resources wisely, are most likely to be the trendy destinations of future. This brings out the need for carefully planned and administered attraction management program, to maximize the travel experience those tourists get from the destination. Transportation can be seen as the services that take the tourist to the destination regions, from airports, seaports, railway stations to their destination accommodation, ,!nd from that to attractions, to shopping and information services. Lack of transportation support make

accessibility to other destinations difficult and costly (Chu-Mei, 2001). Transportation services both to and from the destination and their embedded service qualities will be perceived, evaluated and judged by tourists in terms of both globally shared values and standards (Weiermair, 2000). Especially dimensions like convenience of travel, punctuality of travel schedules and customer orientation of service personnel. Hankinson (2004) studied transportation under the accessibility dimension and concluded that it is one of the significant factors that determine the destination choice of the travelers. He also assessed the transportation in terms of the easy of access, quality of the service, closeness of the airport and the motorways (Hankinson, 2004). Environment is a vital ingredient in the tourism product since it is a powerful pull factor. The relationship between tourism and the environment tends to be symbiotic in the sense that conservation of natural areas, wildlife and scenery and preservation of sites and monuments of archaeological and historical interest are often a response to tourism demand, but have the effect of stimulating and maintaining a flow of visitors to the region (Curry and Moutinho, 1992). Baloglu and Uysal (1996) listed some of the environment related pull factors as, wilderness and undisturbed nature, outstanding scenery, reliable weather, beaches for swimming and sunbathing. Kaynak, Bloom and Leibold (1994) analyzed the environment by categorizing it in to two as

natural and artificial and they concluded that to enhance the travelers' destination satisfaction, both environments must be carefully planned, promoted and preserved. Poon and Low (2005), in their recent study on how western travelers' satisfied with Malaysian hotels, stated that western travelers regard security and safety as an important factor for them to revisit the country. Zhang (1998) expressed that concern for traveling safety reduces destination satisfaction and thus tourism demand for future. Moreover, the crime rate is found to have a negative effect on demand for Hong Kong as a tourist destination (Zhang, .1998). In addition, Law, Cheung and Lo (2004), found that Hong Kong travelers viewed safety as the most important attribute during their trips. Sparks, Bowen and Klag (2003, p. 7) noted that "restaurants are an important factor in the choice of a holiday destination for some tourists, further more, can enhance the guests' overall satisfaction with the destination". Their findings provide support for the proposition that tourists perceive restaurants as an important attribute of tourist destination (Sparks, Bowen and Klag, 2003). Pratten (2004) highlighted the importance of quality and presentation of food for the success of a restaurant. Soriano (2002) claimed that fresh ingredients and cost/value of the food items play an important role in satisfaction of customers and can be a reason to return to that restaurant. Andaleeb and Conway (2006, p.7), in their recent study, added that "for the restaurant industry, reliability translates into the freshness and temperature of the food (the promise), and receiving the food error-free and as ordered the first time (dependably and accurately)". Finally, Imram (1999) claims that the role appearance plays in influencing consumer perception and subsequent acceptance of a food product. Given the significance of such relationships between these dimensions and tourists'

satisfaction from the destination, assessment is needed and can contribute to the development of the destination's positioning strategy. Therefore, it is proposed that the measurement these dimensions can effectively help all tourism related parties in a destination that will be able to benefit while building their marketing and management strategies. Based on the preceding discussion, the following model and hypothesis are proposed: HI: The lodging and restaurant facilities have a direct significant effect on tourists' satisfaction from the tourist destination.



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H2: The shopping and tourist attractions have a direct significant effe.ct on tourists' satisfaction from the tourist destination. H3: The transportation facilities have a direct significant effect on tourists' satisfaction from the .tourist destination. H4: The foods have a direct significant effect on tourists' satisfaction from the tourist destination. H5: The environment and safety have a direct significant effect on tourists' satisfaction from the tourist destination.

Figure 1 Conceptual Model


Destination Satisfaction

Methodology The sample for study consisted of the international travelers who had spent their holidays

III North Cypms. Travelers requested to participate in the present study by filling out the
questionnaire in a self-administrative manner. Out of 350 questionnaires printed and distributed 251 usable ones returned with a response rate of 71.7 percent. Data is collected by a group of Cypms International University students, in order to accomplish their research methods course project, through convenience sampling, at the Ercan Airport departure hall between January and March 2006.

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Table 1

Demographic Breakdown of the Sample (n=251) Frequency Percentage

As demonstrated in Table 1, more than seventy percent of the respondents were between the ages of 18 and, 37. The majority of the respondents (63.3%) were male. More than sixty percent of the respondents had high school or vocational school education and thirty-three percent of them were bachelors. Additionally, more than sixty percent of the respondents reported that their monthly income is above 1.500 US dollars. Finally more than half of the respondents' purpose of visit was vocation.
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Table 2

Scale Items, Reliabilities and Corrected Item-Total Correlation Corrected Item0.79 0.71 0.77 0.70 0.72 0.73 0.87 0.80 0.84 . 0.75 0.74 0.76 0.78 0.94 0.88 0.82

19.7 Variance 11.2 % " Scale Items 8.4 ,!Cronbach Explained Alpha





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A safe place for tourists

0.71 0.78 0.77 0.75 0.73 system 0.70 0.71 0.76 0.75 0.72 0.86 0.83 I am more ... 0.78 0.74 Coefficient Alpha scores for all 3.6 % 7.1 %

Transportation (TRANS)
Service of transporters Price of the local transportation Convenience of system

Types of transportation

Food (FOOD)
Quality of foods Type of foods Food prices

Destination Satisfaction (DESAT)
In general, I am satisfied ... Compared to destinations,

Leaving happy and relaxed ... Notes: Each item is measured dimensions on a five point Likert-scale.

exceed 0.70. Total scale reliability is 0.91. and reliability scores and percentage of

Table 2 shows the scale items, their correlation variance they explained. Reliability coefficients aggregate coefficients level. Alpha coefficient

were computed for each study variable and at the level and all reliability ranged from 0.71 to exceeds the cut-off

was found to be 0.91 at the aggregate Specifically, reliability coefficients


were deemed acceptable.

0.94 for study variables.

Overall, these findings show that each coefficient

value of 0.70 as recommended Quand Mongknonvanit Multiple dimension dimensions Rittichainuwat, (2002).

by Nunnally (1978), and similar to the findings of Rittichainuwat,



was used to detennine namely destination (2002). destination

the impact

of each independent The and independent utilized by

on the dependent were five scales

dimension, of the

satisfaction. developed


Qu and Mongknonvanit



can be defined

as "the

technique used to derive an equation that reveals the criterion variables to one or more predictor variables; it considers the frequency distribution of the criterion variable, when one or more regression

prediCtor variables

are held fixed at various levels" (Churchill,

1979). The proposed

equation of the study is as follows;


y= a + blX)

+ b2 (X) + b] (X) + b4 (X) + bs (X) + E

= Dependent variable, destination satisfaction (DESAT)

= Intercept = Coefficient

or constant value (slope) of the independent variable one


Xl = Independent
B2 X2

variable one, lodging and restaurant facilities (LORE) (slope) of the independent variable two

= Coefficient = Independent

variable two, shopping and tourist attractions


B3 X3 B4 X4

= Coefficient (slope) of the independent variable three

= Independent = Coefficient
= Independent

variable three, transportation (slope) of the independent

facilities (TRANS)

variable four

variable four, foods (FOOD)


= Coefficient (slope) of the independent variable five = Independent
variable five, environment and safety (ENSA)


= Standard Error


+ 0.34(LORE) + 0.22(SHATT) + 0.15(TRANS) + 0.03(FOOD) + 0.20(ENSA) + 0.654

Table 3 Results of Multiple Regression Analysis

Multiple R = 0.70


= 0.49



= 0.48

Standard error =


F = 46.87


Independent Variables: Lodging and restaurant facilities (LORE), Shopping and tourist attractions (SHATT), Transportation

facilities (TRANS), Foods (FOOD), Environment 0.03 0.15 0.34 Beta 0.22

and safety (ENSA)

0.440.660 3.020.000 6.010.000 4.380.000 t-value p Dependent Variable: Destination satisfaction (DESAT)

Independent Variables

Environment and safety (ENSA) Notes: 'Standardized coefficient Assumptions: - bp<0.05




Nonnality: Kolmogorov-Smimov Statistics 0.10 < 0.12 at a significant level of 0.001 Linearity: Confinned by the analysis of partial regression plots Homoscedasticity: Confirmed by the analysis of partial regression plots Independence of Residuals: Durbin-Watson test, score = 1.573

0.110.03TT Statistics: 0.02 0.01 15.57 TRANS SHA LORE 0.240.01 17.65 0.09 0.29 0.02 12.69 0.77 0.17 0.05 0.85 0.06 0.02 0.69 0.01 0.16 0.03 0.58 0.01 0.66 ENS FOOD Constant 14.78 Mu1ticollinearityAIndex Condition

Variance Proportions

Notes: There is no evidence of Multicollinearity problem since each conditioning index is lower than 30, and at least two variance proportions are lower than 0.50 (Tabachnick and Fidell, 1996, p.87). Multiple regression analysis was carried out by taking lodging and restaurant facilities

shopping and tourist attractions (SHATT),

transportation facilities (TRANS),


(FOOD), environment and safety (ENSA) as the independent variables and destination satisfaction (DESAT) as the dependent variable. The results in Table 3 demonstrates that regression analysis

was· first confinned by testing the assumptions of nonnality, linearity, homoscedasticity, and independence of residuals, revealing that "the residuals are nonnally distributed about the predictor dependent variable score, residuals have straight line relationship with the predicted dependent variable scores, the variance of residuals about predicted dependent variable scores is the same for all predicted scores" (Tabachnick and Fidell, 1996, 136). In addition, there is no


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evidence ofmulticollinearity problem, meaning that each conditioning index is lower then 30, and at least two variance proportions are lower then 0.50 (Tabachnick and Fidell, 1996, p.87). The results also demonstrate that there was also a positive correlation with a R2 of 0.49 a~d an "F" value of 46.87 and a significance level of p<O.OOl. Lodging and restaurant facilities (P=0.34) exerts a significant positive effect on destination satisfaction, shopping and tourist

attractions (P=0.22) exerts a significant positive effect on destination satisfaction, transportation facilities (P=0.15) exerts a significant positive effect on destination satisfaction, foods (~=-0.03) exerts a non-significant positive effect on destination satisfaction, and environment and safety (P=0.20) exerts a significant positive effect on destination satisfaction. Overall, the results of the multiple regression analysis show that the four hypotheses (HI. H2, HJ' and H) are supported where hypothesis 4 is rejected. Moreover, the independent variables jointly explain 49 % of the variance


destination satisfaction, which is considered to be high value but can be increased by adding other variables such as; destination image, competition, accessibility (Gursoy, Spangenberg, and Rutherford, 2006) to achieve better results.

Discussion and conclusion This paper aimed to investigate the effects of environment and safety, lodging and restai:trant facilities, shopping and tourist attractions, transportation facilities and food on international travelers' satisfaction perceptions from North Cyprus as a tourist destination. The result of the regression analysis revealed that the services of lodging and restaurant facilities are perceived to be the most important determinant of their satisfaction from the destination. In other words, when they stay in a high quality hotel and eat quality food with reasonable prices, they are likely to be satisfied from the tourism destination that they visited. In other words, satisfaction with lodging is the main determinants of the total destination satisfaction. This supports to findings of those Chen and Gursoy (2001) and Rittichainuwat, Qu and Mongknonvanit (2002). Shopping and tourist attractions are reported to be the second important determinant of the destination satisfaction. It means that the respondents consider they satisfied when they find convenient shopping with reasonable prices and accessible tourist attractions. This finding is


• -








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consistent with the existing literature (Reisinger and Waryszak, 1994). Also, it shows that travelers want to go one step beyond just "being there" by visiting the tourist attraction, learning about the history and culture of the host community (Kandampully, 2000; Chu-Mei, 2001). If North Cyprus uses its unspoiled resources wisely, it is likely to be the trendy destination of future. This existing literature reveals that the security and safety viewed as the important criteria for the destination choice (Poon and Low, 2005; Zhang, 1998; Law, Cheung and Lo, 2004). However, the respondents of this study gave the third ranked to security concerns after lodging and restaurant facilities and shopping and tourist attractions. Existing safe and secure destination image of North Cyprus may explain this. Environment is an important ingredient in the tourism product since it is a powerful pull factor. North Cyprus is blessed with unspoiled natural environment, due to lack of developed manufacturing industry, and rich cultural and historical heritage, due to being located in the crossroad of three ancient continents. Transportation is an important component of the tourism activity. Lack of transportation support make accessibility to other destinations difficult and costly (Chu-Mei, 2001). Perhaps for this reason transportation in this study perceived as a significant dimension. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing embargoes on transportation, all international flights have to touch down to one of the Turkish airports, which create inconvenience for international travelers. Since it is a

significant factor in determination of destination (Weiermair, 2000; Han}-Jnson, 2004) a political solution is needed that removes embargoes, if North Cyprus want to exist in the Mediterranean tourism market. Finally, findings of this study contradict with the literature in the sense of the importance of local cuisine in destination satisfaction. Sparks, Bowen and IGag (2003) summarized that food is an important factor in the choice of a holiday destination for some tourists, furthennore, can enhance the guests' overall satisfaction with the destination. Although, food and destination satisfaction positively correlated, but the link between these two dimension is found to be statistically insignificant. This may either be because of similarity between Mediterranean countries' cuisines, not having radically unique food or respondents might perceived the

restaurant related questions to be too close to the food related ones. It should be noted that there are some limitations to the current study. Firstly, due to the limited resources, this study employed convenience-sampling approach. Future studies may


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employ one of the probabilistic sampling approaches to increase the generalizibility of the findings. Secondly, inclusion of the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot tourists to the sample may enhance the conclusions that can be derived from the findings. Third, this study used the dimensions proposed by Rittichainuwat, Qu and Mongknonvanit (2002) and their effect on destination satisfaction, the inclusion of other constructs to the model such as word-of-mouth (Davidow, 2000) and revisit intentions (Tax, Brown and Chandrashekaran, 1998) would provide further insights to understand the post-holiday behaviors of the tourists. Until further studies are conducted, the present study findings and the strategies based on them should remain tentative. As a closing note, replication studies with large sample size elsewhere would be fruitful for further generalizations of the study findings.


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of Destination Satisfaction in North Cyprus: Perceptions ofIntemational

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