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Sultan Moulay Slimane University

Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Department of English

Beni Mellal

The Use of Facebook in Promoting Foreign

Tourism in Beni Mellal Khenifra Region

A monograph submitted to the English department in partial fulfillment of the

requirements for the B.A degree in English literary and cultural studies

Submitted by: Supervised by:

Hamza Elwachwani Dr. Mustapha Zanzoun

Academic year: 2018/2019


Table of contents

Acknowledgment.…………………………………………………………………………….... v

Dedication……………………………………………………………………………………….vi

Abstract…………………………………………………………………………………………vii

Chapter 1: Theoretical part……………………………………………………………………1

General introduction……………………………………...............................................1
1. Background of the study………………………………………………………………..1
2. Objectives and goals…………………………………………………………………….3
3. Research problem………………………………………………………………………..3
4. Statement of the research questions……………………………………………………..4
5. Hypothesizes formulation………………………………………………………………..4
I. Literature review…………………………………………………………………………...5

Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………..5

I.1. Web 2.0…………………………………………………………………………………5


I.2. Social media…………………………………………………………………………….7
I.2.1.Defining social media….…………………………………………………………...7
I.2.2.Types of social media……………………………………………………………....9
I.2.2.1. Blogs …………………………………………………………………….10
I.2.2.2. Micro blogs..……………………………………………………………..10
I.2.2.3. Content communities…………………………………………………….11
I.2.2.4. Consumer review websites.……………………………………………...11
I.2.2.5. Wikis …………………………………………………………………….12
I.2.2.6. Internet forums…………………………………………………………..13
I.2.2.7. Location-based social media……………………………………………..13
I.2.2.8. Social networking sites…………………………………………………..14
I.3. Tourism ………………………………………………………………………………..15
I.3.1.Defining tourism…………………………………………………………………...15
I.3.2.Travel 2.0 ………………………………………………………………………….16
I.3.3.Facebook and tourism……………………………………………………………...17

Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………….18
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II. Methodology………………………………………………………………………………...19

Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………...19

II.1. Research design…………………………………………………………………………19


II.2. Population and sampling………………………………………………………………...20
II.3. Data collection methods………………………………………………………………...20
II.4. Data analysis methods…………………………………………………………………..21
II.5. Challenges and limitations……………………………………………………………....21

Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………….....21

Chapter 2: Practical part………………………………………………………………………22

Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………..22

I. Presentation and analysis of the findings……………………………………………..22


I.1. General information about the respondents………………………………….......22
I.1.1. Demographic information…………………………………………………...22
I.1.1.1. Gender distribution………………………………………………………22
I.1.1.2. Age demographic………………………………………………………...23
I.1.2. Respondents’ countries of residence and frequency of traveling abroad……24
I.1.2.1. Countries of residence of the respondents…………………………….....24
I.1.2.2. Respondents’ frequency of traveling abroad………………………….....25
I.2. Respondents’ use of social media………………………………………………….26
I.2.1. Frequency of the use of Facebook by respondents………………………......26
I.2.2. Respondents’ most used social networking sites for travel related purposes..27
I.2.3. Motivational factors behind visiting the region of Beni Mellal Khenifra
with regard to social media…………………………………………………..28
I.2.4. Facebook influence on travelers……………………………………………..30
I.2.5. Respondents’ use of Facebook during their trips…………………………....32
I.2.6. Respondents’ use of Facebook after their trip……………………………….33
I.3. The presence of Beni Mellal Khenifra tourism organizations on Facebook……35
I.3.1. Respondents’ exposition to travel related content on Facebook generated
by Beni Mellal Khenifra tourism organizations…………………………..….35

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I.3.2. Respondents’ sources of information about touristic places in Beni Mellal
Khenifra……………………………………………………………………...36
I.3.3. Respondents’ perspective towards the effectiveness of Facebook as a
destination promotional tool…………………………………………………37
I.3.4. Most attracting things in Beni Mellal Khenifra according to the travelers…..38

Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………………39

Chapter 3: General conclusion and recommendations………………………………………41

I. Summary……………………………………………………………………………41
II. Recommendations…………………………………………………………………..42
II.1. Recommendations for further researchers………………………………………42
II.2. Special recommendations.………………………………………………………42

Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………………….44

Webliography…………………………………………………………………………………...48

Appendix……………………………………………………………………………………......50

List of figures…………………………………………………………………………………...54

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Acknowledgment

We acknowledge Dr. Mustapha Zanzoun for his valuable methodological guidance, insights, and

comments that have not only greatly improved this paper, but also provided us with the basic

knowledge needed to conduct an accurate academic research.

Secondly, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to all the professors of the faculty who

provided us with beneficial lectures throughout these 3 years of study and which have greatly

enhanced our linguistic theoretical and practical capacities, and which will certainly have a

positive impact on our professional career.

Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to all the respondents who filled in the

questionnaire as it was impossible to answer the research problem without their cooperation.

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Dedication

This study is wholeheartedly dedicated to our beloved parents Khalifa Elwachwani and Touria

Elmaataoui who have been our source of strength and inspiration from birth to now, and who

have continually provided us with moral, emotional, spiritual, and financial support.

We also dedicate this work to our siblings especially to our older brothers Mohsin and Imad who

have always encouraged us and provided us with their moral and financial support.

Finally, we would like to dedicate this work and give special thanks to our best friends Walid

Benchagra, Ibtihal Annadiri, and Hajar Rissouni for being there for us and who have always

been our cheerleaders.

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Abstract

Nowadays, Social media is increasingly being adopted by destination marketing organizations.

In this connection, this study aimed at studying the use of Facebook in the promotion of tourism

in Beni Mellal Khenifra region. Hence, it was guided by two research questions: first, does

Facebook influence travelers’ decisions while considering a destination? Second, to what extent

are Beni Mellal Khenifra’s tourism organizations present on Facebook? Accordingly, in order to

attain the objectives of the study, the researcher used a descriptive analytical research design. In

this regard, in order to collect quantitative data, a questionnaire was administered to 250 travelers

who have visited the region of Beni Mellal Khenifra. However, the sample size comprised of

only 60 respondents because many travelers refused to fill it in, while others didn’t see the

messages at all for it was administered online through Facebook and Instagram.

The findings pointed out that Facebook significantly impacts travelers’ decisions while

considering a destination as 71% of the respondents use this social networking platform for

travel related purposes. Moreover, concerning the second research question, the results of the

study revealed that Beni Mellal Khenifra’s tourism organizations are not sufficiently present.

This was rationalized by the fact that 72% of the respondents stated that they have never been

exposed to travel related content on Facebook generated by these organizations. Ultimately, the

study recommended that tourism authorities must raise awareness towards the important role of

new technologies especially social media in the promotion of tourism. Moreover, the researcher

suggested that the government should provide tourism organizations with adequate tools and

training that enable them to accurately attract more visitors, and thus, promote the Moroccan

tourism industry which will positively impact the economical and social status of this country.

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Chapter 1: Theoretical part

General introduction

1. Background of the study

Today, social media is a part and parcel of the majority of people’s daily activities including

business, leisure, and travel. In a sense, thanks to the evolution of technology and Web 2.0,

social media has radically changed the process of tourism for both travelers from one hand, and

for touristic service providers such as tour agencies and guides from another.

In fact, tourism sector has known a continuous evolution in the last 60 years which made it one

of the fastest escalating economic industries in the world. In this regard, World Tourism

Organization’s latest statistics point out that international tourists’ arrivals increased by 6% in

2018, totaling 1.4 billion tourists. Similarly, the statistics about Africa show that it has also

recorded a notable increase by 7% in 2018, especially North Africa with over 10% and sub-

Saharan 6%, compassing around 67 million arrivals. (World Tourism Organization (UNWTO),

2019). More specifically, Moroccan’s 2018 tourism statistics display positive results since the

national borders have welcomed around 12.3m tourists during 2018, an 8.3 % increased rate of

tourists compared to the previous year. (Tourism Statistics in Morocco December, 2018).

On the economic level, tourism has an important role to play in terms of bringing the foreign

currency. In this connection, tourism domestic consumption increased 6% compared to the

previous year, reaching about Dh131.7bn divided as follows: Dh90.7bn total foreign exchange

receipts produced by inbound tourism, Dh73.15bn of them are from travel receipts. And Dh41bn

generated by domestic tourism revenue. (Tourism Statistics in Morocco December, 2018).

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As highlighted above, tourism acts significantly in the development of the world's economy in

general, and that of Morocco in particular. Thus, governments are working to find effective ways

to promote tourism industry. In this sphere, more researches are being done on the use of new

technologies including Web 2.0 and social media in the sector of tourism. Correspondingly, this

research paper seeks to investigate the use of Facebook in the promotion of tourism in Beni

Mellal Khenifra region since it is the most popular social platform worldwide currently as the

number of monthly active users (MAUs) reached over 2.32 billions according to the statistics of

December 31st, 2018. This is a 9 percent increase in Facebook MAUs year over year. This is

compared to 2.27 billion MAUs for 2018 (Newsroom.fb.com, 2019). Moreover, it is assumed

that social media in general and Facebook in particular impact significantly travelers’ planning

process through the user generated content published on social media platforms (Buhalis and

Law, 2008). In the same connection, because purchasing travel products can be risky, social

media is highly needed by travelers for searching for enough information about destinations, air

companies, and hotels before deciding on a trip. (Huang, Chou, & Lin 2010, p.515).

In sum, it is obvious that social media has a great impact on tourism sector. However, little

research has been done on behalf of this issue in Morocco in general, and in Beni Mellal

Khenifra more specifically. Therefore, this research paper aims at opening the door for research

about this issue by examining the extent to which Facebook can be used in the promotion of

tourism in this region.

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2. Objectives and goals of this paper

Beni Mellal Khenifra region is considered as one of the beautiful destinations that one can visit.

Therefore, this research paper from one hand serves as an initiative for further research on this

issue as no research has been conducted about it, and from another, it aims at drawing the

attention of tourism organizations towards the insertion of new technologies especially social

networks such as Facebook and Instagram for the crucial and efficient role they play in terms of

destinations promotion and marketing.

3. Research problem

According to the Moroccan government’s 2020 vision, one of the main objectives of this latter is

to make tourism the first industry in the country by doubling the size of this sector. (Tourism

engineering and investment (SMIT), vision 2020). This demonstrates the significance of tourism

as a pillar of the economic evolution of Morocco, and its impact on the social and cultural sides.

Therefore, this research paper seeks to draw the attention to the incorporation of social media

especially Facebook in the promotion of this industry.

In a point of fact, social media notably inspires future trips through the user generated content

published on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. In this connection,

according to MDG advertising, a Third of U.S travelers lean on social media when planning a

trip. In addition to that, more than 50 percent of travelers who use Facebook are affected by their

friends’ photos published on this social network. Furthermore, social media is where travelers

are most likely to be exposed to new brands and destinations content. Thus, travel marketing

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experts should take advantage of this in order to appeal for new tourists. (MDG advertising,

2018).

All in all, in relation to all what have been said above, this study intends to answer the following

research problem: to what extent can Facebook be used in the promotion of tourism in Beni

Mellal Khenifra region?

4. Statement of the research questions:

4.1. Does Facebook affect travelers’ decisions while considering a destination?

4.2. To what extent are Beni Mellal Khenifra’s tourism organizations present on Facebook?

5. Hypothesizes formulation:

In order to answer the two research questions which from one hand aim at investigating whether

Facebook affects travelers’ decisions when considering a destination or not, and examining the

extent to which Beni Mellal Khenifra’s tourism organizations are present on Facebook from

another, the research hypothesizes are formulated as follows:

H1: It is assumed that Facebook significantly influences travelers’ destinations choice.

H2: It is hypothesized that tourism organizations of Beni Mellal Khenifra are not sufficiently

present on Facebook.

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I. Literature review

Introduction

This chapter reviews the literature related to social media in tourism. Therefore, it aims at

familiarizing the reader with the key concepts of Web 2.0, social media, and tourism.

Additionally, it reveals the different theories and thoughts about the interaction and influence of

social media on tourism sector.

I.1. Web 2.0

Today, the second generation of web which is known as Web 2.0 dominates the world of internet

as it has become a part and parcel of not only social media ordinary users’ daily life, but also a

crucial factor in the world of online marketing. Therefore, the origins and conceptualization of

this term needs to be clarified.

According to Constantinides, and Fountain (2008) the term Web 2.0 is a contentious issue since

2005. Its contentiousness arises from the anonymity and lack of credentials of the large user

generated content. The controversy lays also in the fact that there is no general agreement on

what Web 2.0 exactly is. (Constantinides, and Fountain 2008, p232).

The term Web 2.0 originated from a conference brainstorming session between O’Reilly and

media live international in 2004, and which was about the discussion of the encouragement of

the internet as a business, social, and technical issue. O’Reilly himself recounted the ancestry of

the concept as: ‘’Dale Dougherty, web pioneer and O'Reilly VP, noted that far from having

"crashed", the web was more important than ever, with exciting new applications and sites

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popping up with surprising regularity. What's more, the companies that had survived the collapse

seemed to have some things in common. Could it be that the dot-com collapse marked some kind

of turning point for the web, such that a call to action such as "Web 2.0" might make sense? We

agreed that it did, and so the Web 2.0 Conference was born’’. (O'Reilly, 2005).

According to O’Reilly and Musser, ‘’Web 2.0 is a set of economic, social, and technology trends

that collectively form the basis for the next generation of the Internet—a more mature,

distinctive medium characterized by user participation, openness, and network effects.’’ (Musser,

and O'reilly 2007, p.5). In this connection, attempting to merge and bring the technological,

economical, and social elements of Web 2.0 together, Constantinides and Fountain (2008, p.232)

define it as: “a collection of open source, interactive and user-controlled online applications

expanding the experiences, knowledge and market power of the users as participants in business

and social processes. Web 2.0 applications support the creation of informal users’ networks

facilitating the flow of ideas and knowledge by allowing the efficient generation, dissemination,

sharing and editing/refining of content.”

In sum, the key element of Web 2.0 is that it changed the web from a ‘’one to many’’ to a

‘’many to many’’ communication vehicle, and concurrently to a ‘’one to one” contact channel by

allowing users to generate content, interact, and engage. Consequently, this transformation in the

web influenced the world of marketing as well as the behavior of the consumer. In other words,

Web 2.0 enables businesses to stay in touch with their markets as it gives the opportunity for

both customers and marketers to engage, share opinions, and interact in a direct way.

(Constantinides, and Fountain 2008, p233).

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I.2. Social media

I.2.1. Defining social media

Given the fact that the terms used to describe social media are various, there is a lack of a

comprehensive and formal definition. (Xiang, and Gretzel, 2010). Therefore, different scholars

defined social media in different ways.

Trying to define social media, Mangold and Faulds (2009) embrace Blackshaw and Nazzaro’s

(2004) definition of consumer-generated media. Thus, they define it as: “A variety of new and

emerging sources of online information that are created, initiated, circulated and used by

consumers intent on educating each other about products, brands, services, personalities and

issues.” (Blackshaw and Nazzaro 2004, p.2). However, this perspective to some extent is limited

because it equates social media only with a source of information regardless of its other

functions such as self-expression. In addition to this, this definition associates social media

solely with business environment as if the content exchanged in social media is all about

business and marketing.

From another point of view, Safko and Brake (2009) adopted a more generalized approach

defining social media as: “[...] activities, practices and behaviors among communities of people

who gather online to share information, knowledge, and opinions using conversational media.

Conversational media are Web-based applications that make it possible to create and

easily transmit content in the form of words, pictures, videos, and audios.” (Safko, and Brake

2009, p6). Alternatively, Xiang and Gretzel’s (2010) approach advocates that of Blackshaw’s

(2006) as they define it as: “Internet-based applications that carry consumer-generated content

which encompasses [as per Blackshaw (2006)] media impressions created by consumers,
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typically informed by relevant experience, and archived or shared online for easy access by other

impressionable consumers.” (Xiang, and Gretzel 2010, p180). Similarly to Blackshaw and

Nazarro’s (2004) approach, this definition is limited because it frames social media within a

marketing environment as if all the user generated content is only related to business and

consumption.

Additionally, Solis (2007) approached the concept of social media emphasizing on conversation

and interaction. Thus, he defines it as: “[...] online tools that people use to share content, profiles,

opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives and media itself, thus facilitating conversations and

interaction online between groups of people. These tools include blogs, message

boards, podcasts, micro blogs, lifestreams, bookmarks, networks, communities, wikis,

and vlogs.” (Solis, 2007). Correspondingly, Universal McCann suggests an approach which

places much more importance on interaction and collaboration, and which is adopted by Caputo

(2009) as well: “online applications, platforms and media which aim to facilitate interaction,

collaboration and the sharing of content.” (Universal McCann 2009, p10). While McCann

focuses on interaction and collaboration, Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) on the other hand stresses

on the platform and content describing social media as: “A group of internet-based applications

that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the

creation and exchange of User Generated Content.” (Kaplan and Haenlein 2010, p.61).

In a more recent definition, and in addition to software applications, Hoffman, Novak & Stein

(2013, p.29) draw the attention to the tools as well, without any illustration if they mean software

tools or hardware devices stating that social media is: “ The set of web-based and mobile tools

and applications that allow people to create (consume) content that can be consumed (created) by

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others and which enables and facilitates connections”. (Hoffman, Novak & Stein, 2013, p29). In

the same connection, Carr and Hayes (2015, p.49-50) define it as: ‘’ Internet-based, disentrained,

and persistent channels of masspersonal communication facilitating perceptions of interactions

among users, deriving value primarily from user-generated content.’’. Yet, they admit that this

definition is complex and technical. Henceforth, they provided a rephrased and more accessible

explication as follows: ‘’Social media are Internet-based channels that allow users to

opportunistically interact and selectively self-present, either in real-time or asynchronously, with

both broad and narrow audiences who derive value from user-generated content and the

perception of interaction with others.’’. (Carr, and Hayes 2015, p49-50).

Based on the literature reviewed about what social media is, especially Carr and Hayes’ (2015)

approach, and for the purposes of this study, we adopt McCay-Peet and Quan-Haase’s (2017)

approach which defines social media as: ‘’web-based services that allow individuals,

communities, and organizations to collaborate, connect, interact, and build a community by

enabling them to create, co-create, modify, share, and engage with user-generated content that is

easily accessible’’. (McCay-Peet and Quan-Haase 2017, p17).

I.2.2. Types of social media

In this study, we are going to focus on eight types of social media which are: blogs, micro blogs,

content community sites, consumer review websites, wikis, internet forums, location based social

media, and social networking sites.

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I.2.2.1. Blogs

According to Wikipedia, the term ‘’blog’’ is a meld of the term ‘’weblog’’ which was coined by

John Barger in 1997. (Blood, 2000). Then in 1999, Peter Merholz split the word into ‘’we blog’’,

and thereafter it has been used as ‘’blog’’.

According to Huang, Chou & Lin (2010) approach which adopts Eva’s (2005) definition, a blog

is: ‘’A new tool for corporate operation and identified several characteristics in business blogs: a

low-cost medium for information sharing in knowledge management and marketing; handy

software for users needing no special techniques; a venue for promoting corporate public

relationship and professional image; a means for rapid information sharing and sales tracking

among corporate employees; inner knowledge sharing for employees in relation to work

efficiency; and a way to help observe corporate policies or norms’’. (Huang, Chou & Lin 2010,

p.514).

I.2.2.2. Micro-blogs

Micro-blogs stand for ‘’ internet based applications which allow users to exchange small

elements of content such as short sentences, individual images, or video links” (Kaplan

and Haenlein 2011, p.106). Additionally, according to Kaplan and Haenlein (2011), micro-blogs

as a type of social media are positioned between traditional blogs and social networking sites as

they are identified by a ‘’high degree of self-presentation/self-disclosure and a medium to low

degree of social presence / media richness’’ (Kaplan and Haenlein 2011, p.106). Besides, micro-

blogging applications such as Twitter are different from social networking sites such as

Facebook in the sense that the relationship between the followers does not necessitate

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reciprocation. In other words, User X can follow user Y, but it is not necessary that user Y

follow user X. Ultimately, one of the advantages of micro-blogging is that they offer an

immediacy at the point of purchase and / or consumption: Micro-blogs when accessed through

mobile devices, enable consumers to provide immediate expressions or reactions even during the

purchase or the consumption process, thus providing feedback on the actual experience of the

product or service (Akehurst 2009; Jansen, Zhang, Sobel & Chowdury, 2009).

I.2.2.3. Content communities

Content communities are web-based applications that enable users to share media content such

as videos, photos, documents and presentations, music and web links. Indicative examples are:

YouTube, Vimeo and Dailymotion for video; Flicker, Picasa, Panoramio, SmugMug and Fotolog

for photos; Scrib, slideshare.net, docstoc for documents and presentations; lastfm, ilike, ping for

music; and delicious, dig for bookmarking (Fotis 2015, p.60).

I.2.2.4. Consumer review websites

Online consumer reviews can be defined as: ‘’peer-generated product evaluations posted on

company or third party websites’’ (Mudambi & Schuff 2010, p186). That is to say, consumer

review websites are online platforms which allow users to review and rate products, goods, or

services. Moreover, consumer review websites provide users with many features such as

comments and pictures upload, price comparison, multi-variable rating, price history charts,

buying recommendations, deals’ rankings, retailers’ evaluation, and other features. (Fotis 2015,

p.62).

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TripAdvisor is considered as one of the leaders of consumer review websites with over 760

million reviews and opinions covering the world's largest selection of travel listings worldwide,

covering approximately 8.3 million accommodations, airlines, experiences, restaurants and

cruises (TripAdvisor, 2019).

In sum, researches have proven that consumers’ reviews can have a positive impact on business.

In this connection, Clemons, Gao & Hitt (2006) proved that strongly positive ratings can

positively influence the growth of product sales.

I.2.2.5. Wikis

The term wiki originated from the Hawaiian word for ‘’quick’’ and which was referred to by

creating the first wiki in 1995 by Ward Cunningham. (Mattison, 2003).

Leuf and Cunningham(2001) defined wikis as: “A freely expandable collection of interlinked

Web 'pages', a hypertext system for storing and modifying information — a database, where each

page is easily editable by any user with a forms-capable Web browser client” (Leuf and

Cunningham 2001, p.14).

The most popular wiki in tourism context is Wikitravel which is a worldwide travel guide built in

collaboration by Wikitravellers from around the globe. As of 24 July 2013, Wikitravel has

reached 63617 articles, 187174 pages, 3260807 edits, 18539 photos uploaded, 131136 registered

users, and 350000 visitors per day. (Wikitravel, 2013). Accordingly, these statistics prove that

wikis play a significant role in tourism sector as they enable any internet user to create, update,

and edit any article on these platforms. Therefore, sharing travel related knowledge makes

travelling much more enjoyable.

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I.2.2.6. Internet forums

According to Pcmag encyclopedia, an internet forum is: ‘’a website that provides an online

exchange of information between people about a particular topic. It provides a venue for

questions and answers and may be monitored to keep the content appropriate. Also called a

"discussion board" or "discussion group," an Internet forum is similar to an Internet newsgroup,

but uses the Web browser for access. Before the Web, text-only forums were common on

bulletin boards and proprietary online services. However, Internet forums include all the extras

people expect from the Web, including images, videos, downloads and links, sometimes

functioning as a mini-portal on the topic.’’ (Pcmag encyclopedia, 2019).

Internet forums act significantly as an effective online word-of-mouth tool. In other words, the

similarity between the user’s interests and the forum’s topic, as well as the user’s attitude

towards the forum are found to have a direct relationship with the intention to purchase the

products discussed in the forum. (Prendergast, Ko & Siu Yin 2010, p.687).

I.2.2.7. Location based social networks

According to Zheng (2011), a location-based social network (LBSN) does not only mean adding

a location to an existing social network so that people in the social structure can share location

embedded information, but also consists of the new social structure made up of individuals

connected by the interdependency derived from their locations in the physical world as well as

their location-tagged media content, such as photos, video, and texts. Here, the physical location

consists of the instant location of an individual at a given timestamp and the location history that

an individual has accumulated in a certain period. Further, the interdependency includes not only

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that two persons co-occur in the same physical location or share similar location histories but

also the knowledge, e.g., common interests, behavior, and activities, inferred from an

individual’s location (history) and location-tagged data. (Zheng 2011, p.244).

From another point of view, location based social media (LBSM) are web, or mobile based

applications that allow users to articulate a list of other users with whom they share their

geographic location at a specific point in time (referred to as “check-in”) which is usually

associated with a specific venue or a place. In addition, comments, reviews, and

recommendations about the venue may also be included. (Fotis 2015, p.67). Facebook is one of

the most popular location based social networks as the number of check-ins in the period

between August and September 2017 surpassed 2.28 millions to New Delhi, India, 2.09 millions

to São Paulo, Brazil, 2.05 millions to New York, USA, and 1.36 millions to Paris,

France.(Statista, 2017).

In sum, location-based social networks are increasingly adopted in tourism sector because they

strongly influence travelers’ decisions since they enable users to review, rate, and share their

thoughts and opinions about products, services, restaurants, hotels, touristic destinations, etc, and

therefore, attract other users to visit such places. (Chong and Ngai, 2013).

I.2.2.8. Social networking sites

According to Boyd and Ellison, social network sites are defined as: ‘’web-based services that

allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2)

articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their

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list of connections and those made by others within the system. The nature and nomenclature of

these connections may vary from site to site.’’ (Boyd & Ellison 2007, p.211).

Similarly, Kaplan and Haenlein (2010, p.63) approached SNSs as: ‘’applications that enable

users to connect by creating personal information profiles, inviting friends and colleagues to

have access to those profiles, and sending e-mails and instant messages between each other.

These personal profiles can include any type of information, including photos, videos, audio

files, and blogs.’’. One of the most popular social networking sites is Facebook. This latter has

more than 2.32 billion monthly active users as of December 31st, 2018. (Newsroom.fb.com,

2019).

I.3. Tourism

Tourism is one of the world’s largest economic sectors as it supports one in 10 jobs (313 million)

worldwide and generates 10.4% of world GDP (WTTC, 2019). Therefore, it is vital to

understand the systems of tourism industry.

I.3.1. Defining tourism

Tourism is multidisciplinary as it cannot be studied from one single perspective or angle, but

rather, in order to understand what tourism is, different disciplines should be taken into account.

Tourism can be defined as: “the temporary movement to a destination outside the normal home

and workplace, the activities undertaken during the stay, and the facilities created to cater for the

needs of tourists” (Mathieson and Wall, 1982). According to Goeldner and Ritchie’s recent

definition, tourism is: ‘’ the processes, activities, and outcomes arising from the relationships and

the interactions among tourists, tourism suppliers, host governments, host communities, and

15
surrounding environments that are involved in the attracting and hosting of visitors.’’ (Goeldner,

and Ritchie 2012, p4). Therefore, it seems that Goeldner and Ritchie in their definition of

tourism focused on the different faculties intervening in the process of tourism. Yet, their

definition is not a comprehensive one to the extent that it doesn’t take into account the kind of

displacement. Thus, we are going to adopt the UNWTO’s definition in which it claims that in

order for tourism to happen there must be a displacement from the usual environment; usually,

the maximal duration of this displacement is one year. In this sense, it defined tourism as: ‘’A

social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or

places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes. These

people are called visitors (which may be either tourists or excursionists; residents or non-

residents) and tourism has to do with their activities, some of which imply tourism expenditure‘’

(UNWTO, 2008).

I.3.2. Travel 2.0

Travel 2.0 refers to Web 2.0 but in tourism context. (Ráthonyi 2013, p106). In this connection,

according to Zouganeli, Trihas, & Antonaki (2011, p.111), ‘Travel 2.0’ refers to any

communication platform that aims at creating an active online community built around a

destination or a tourism product/service and based on content flow and interaction between the

members of the community. Similarly, according to Ráthonyi (2013, p.106), Travel 2.0 describes

a new generation of travel websites with new technologies which enable social collaboration

among travellers where tourists can share their experiences with fellow travellers. In the same

sphere, Sigala, Christou, & Gretzel (2012) claim that ‘’Travel 2.0, describes a new generation of

travel websites encouraging and facilitating a higher level of social interaction among travellers’’

16
(Sigala, Christou, & Gretzel 2012, p.50). Moreover, Travel 2.0 consists of a range of the latest

technologies such as web forums, blogs, customer ratings, and evaluation systems. (Xiang &

Gretzel, 2010). TripAdvisor is one of the most popular travel platforms as it enables travelers to

explore more than 760 million reviews and opinions of 8.3 million accommodations, restaurants,

experiences, airlines and cruises. Therefore, it helps 480 million travelers each month to make

their trip the best one. (TripAdvisor, 2019).

I.3.3. Facebook and tourism

According to Facebook-commissioned research by Accenture, 67% of travelers across Europe,

the Middle East, and Africa make use of Facebook for travel-related reasons. Moreover, it

enables marketers to not only introduce their brands and target travelers similar to the existing

ones, but even connect with holidaymakers before they have chosen a destination. (Facebook

Business, 2019). In addition to this, it has been proven that social influence; family, friends, and

previous experiences significantly impact travelers’ booking decisions. In this connection,

according to a Facebook study, 76% of U.S travellers use Facebook for travel related activities,

87% of them are influenced by recommendations from friends and family when deciding which

option to book, 68% of them discover products online, 42% use messenger to chat with friends

about trips, 73% purchase travel online, and 59% of travellers desire post-purchase engagement

from brands. (Facebook Business, 2019).

In sum, thanks to Facebook, businesses and organizations can now introduce their brands and

products on this platform as well as maintaining relationships with their customers based on the

features of interaction that this platform offers. Moreover, Facebook acts as an electronic word of

mouth tool that facilitates travelers’ decisions concerning the choice of destinations. Therefore,

17
Facebook deserves a special mention with regard to the promotion of a tourism destination.

(Rahman, 2017).

Conclusion

The literature review section was aimed at introducing the key concepts related to the main issue

of this research which is the use of Facebook in the promotion of tourism. Thus, in this review of

literature we have tried to define social media and its types, conceptualize tourism, and

investigate the impact of social media in general, and Facebook in particular on the tourism

industry on the basis of different scholars, articles, books, and websites, etc.

18
II. Methodology

Introduction

This section discusses the methodology followed in this study. In more details, this part consists

of the research design, population and sampling, data collection and analysis methods, and

challenges and limitations of the study.

II.1. Research design

A research design is the structure, strategy, and plan followed to answer the research questions.

In this regard, Kothari (2004, p31) defined the research design as: ‘' the arrangement of

conditions for collection and analysis of data in a manner that aims to combine relevance to the

research purpose with economy in procedure.’’. Moreover, while conducting a research, there are

various methods that a researcher can use to obtain the required data. These methods can be

divided into two approaches; the quantitative and the qualitative. In this regard, this research is

approached following the quantitative method as it makes use of a survey research design so as

to collect data. The factor in this survey is social networking sites in general and Facebook in

particular, whereas the subjects were made up of tourists who have visited the region of Beni

Mellal Khenifra. Thus, since this survey aims at describing the frequency of the use of Facebook

by travelers as well as the extent to which Beni Mellal Khenifra tourism organizations are

present on Facebook, the technique followed to conduct this survey was a descriptive analytical

and non-experimental survey. We sought to choose a survey technique because it allows the

researcher to make generalizations from a small sample size to a larger one. (Connaway and

Powell, 2010). Additionally, the survey was structured online using Google forms feature.

19
Moreover, while collecting data on the use of Facebook by travelers regarding the topic of this

study, the researcher ensured the anonymity and confidentiality of respondents.

II.2. Population and sampling

The population acts significantly in terms of the validity of a research paper. In this connection,

because this study mainly intended to examine the use of Facebook in the promotion of tourism

in Beni Mellal Khenifra, the population consisted of different tourists who have visited this

region. Additionally, the population was targeted online through Instagram social networking

site. This is justified by the fact that there wasn’t enough time to visit all the touristic places in

the region of Beni Mellal Khenifra. Thus, in order to find the targeted population, the researcher

made use of the different features of Instagram since it allows users to explore places, hash tags,

and thus reach people who have posted their content in these places. Thereupon, the

questionnaire was sent to 250 different travelers. However, the researcher got only 60 valid

answers. Thus the sample of this study consisted of 60 travelers from both genders, and from

different ages.

II.3. Data collection methods

Researchers and scholars have identified different tools that can be used to collect data such as

questionnaires, focus groups, interviews, observations, etc. In this connection, and because the

research design is approached in a quantitative way, a questionnaire was used to collect data

regarding the subject of this paper. The questionnaire was constructed online using Google

forms. Moreover, it consisted of 18 questions which were the same to all the respondents.

Additionally, a pilot questionnaire was distributed to 12 random respondents to test the

20
questionnaire as well as to correct any mistakes. Besides, the questionnaire was administered

online via Instagram. The motivations behind choosing a questionnaire as a data collection tool

lay in the fact that it is not only easier to administer, but also less time consuming given the fact

that this study has limited time.

II.4. Data analysis methods

After we had received the responses, we organized the data and eliminated all the questionnaires

that were not filled correctly. In addition, we used excel sheets to organize the data into

descriptive statistics, and to create graphs so that the data can be easily analyzed.

II.5. Challenges and limitations

While conducting this study, various challenges and limitations were encountered. To begin

with, there were limited time and resources to conduct this research. Therefore, the research

problem was treated only from travelers’ perspective as there wasn’t enough time to look for the

touristic organizations in this region so that their perspective can be taken into account.

Additionally, we faced problems collecting data through Instagram because many travelers

didn’t respond to our messages, while others refused to fill in the questionnaire.

Conclusion

This chapter introduced the methodology followed in this study. Similarly, it was aimed at

defining and displaying the research design, specifying the population, the tools used to collect

data, data analysis techniques, and the challenges and limitations of the study.

21
Chapter 2: Practical part

Introduction

This chapter aims at presenting the findings generated by the data collected. Moreover, the

analysis will be provided alongside the presentation of the findings in order to avoid repetition as

well as to ensure coherence and clarity. Additionally, the data collected will be statistically

presented in graphs and charts.

I. Presentation and analysis of the findings

I.1. General information about the respondents

I.1.1. Demographic information

Seeking demographic information that may affect the topic of this study, respondents were asked

two main questions which are about gender and age. Each one of these two will be highlighted

and analyzed in statistical data presented in form of graphs below.

I.1.1.1. Gender distribution

Out of 60 respondents, there were 27 male with a rate of 45%, and 33 female respondents with a

percentage of 55%. Thus, it is clearly evident that the female gender overweighs the male one.

This may be attributed to two main reasons. The first one lays in the fact that females who visit

the region of Beni Mellal Khenifra are 10% more than males. Alternatively, the second reason

may be assigned to the presence of more females than males on social media. This claim is

advocated by the fact that user content generated by females on social media is larger than that of

males. The gender distribution of the respondents is clearly displayed in the following figure 1.

22
Figure 1: Gender distribution of the respondents.

Gender distribution

Male
Female
45% (27)
55% (33) Male
Female

I.1.1.2. Age demographic of the respondents

The respondents were from different ages. However, there was a dominance of travelers who are

aged between 25 and 34 years old. This category represents


represents 41.7% of the whole sample.

Similarly, those who are aged between 18


1 and 24 years old compose 40%, while
hile 15% were aged

between 35 and 44, 1.7% between 45 and 54, and similarly 1.7% were over 54. Thereupon, it is

obvious that there is a dominance of travelers


travelers who are somehow younger comparing to others.

This may be attributed to the fact that travelers who are over 34 years old aren’t sufficiently

present on social media in general, and in Instagram and Facebook in particular since this

questionnaire was administered through these social networking sites. The figure below

demonstrates the percentages of these age groups.

23
Figure 2: Age demographic of the respondents.

Age groups
1.7% 1.7%
under 18
15%
18-24
40% 25-34
35-44
41.7% 45-54
over 54

I.1.2. Country of residence of the respondents and frequency of travelling

abroad

I.1.2.1. Country of residence of the respondents

The results of the questionnaire point out that the majority of travelers who have visited this

region are respectively from England, France, Italy, USA, and Spain. While there are few

visitors from other countries such as Germany,


Germany, Portugal, Czech Republic, Poland, Belgium,

Netherlands, and few other countries. Thus, the dominance of countries such as Spain, France,

Italy, and Portugal can be attributed to the short distance between Morocco and these countries.

Additionally, the dominance of respondents from England and USA is probably caused by the

fact that the questionnaire was in English language. In this regard, many respondents couldn’t fill

in this questionnaire for linguistic circumstances, and this is also one of the lim
limitations of this

24
study. The statistics of countries of residence of the respondents are clearly displayed in the

following figure 3.

Figure 3: Country of residence of the respondents

Respondents' countries of residence


number of respondents
14
number of respondents

12
10
8
6 12
4 8 8
2 5 4 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
3 3 3 3
0

countries

I.1.2.2. Frequency of travelling abroad

In order to know the extent to which the respondents are familiar with travelling abroad, they

were asked about the frequency of traveling outside their countries of residence. Consequently,

the results exhibit that 34.4% of the respondents travel abroad more than 3 times per year, 24.6%

travel 3 times per year, 21.3% travel once per year, and 19.7% said that they travel twice per

year. The aim behind these statistics regarding the topic of this study is to examine the influence

of social media on traveling decisions. That is to say, respondents who travel more than 3 times

per year are more likely to be influenced by travel-related content generated on social media. The

frequency of travelling is demonstrated in the figure below.

25
Figure 4: Frequency of travelling abroad

Frequency of travelling abroad

34.4% 21.3%
once per year

19.7% twice per year


3 times per year
24.6% more than 3 times per year

I.2. Respondents use of social


s media

I.2.1. Frequency of the use of Facebook by the respondents

Since Facebook is the central factor of this research paper, it was crucial to know the frequency

of the use of this social networking site by the respondents. Thereupon,


T , the results show that

Facebook is most frequently used by 50% of the respondents,


respondents 26.7% of them said that they use it

frequently, 16.7% use it occasionally,


occasionally, while 6.7% said that they rarely use it. Consequently, the

statistics show that Facebook is used by the majority of the respondents. This fact from one hand

justifies the reason behind choosing Facebook as the main factor of this study, and from another,

it aims at drawing the attention of travel related organizations to this social networking site as a

significant destinations
ions promotional tool.

The statistics concerning the frequency of the use of Facebook by the respondents are

demonstrated in the following figure.

26
Figure 5: Frequency of Facebook use by the respondents

Facebook use frequency

6.7%
16.7%
50% Most frequently
Frequently

26.7% Occasionally
Rarely

I.2.2. Respondents’ most used social networking sites for travel related

purposes

In order to determine the use of social media for travel related purposes, respondents were asked

first whether they use social media for travel related purposes or not. Consequently, 98% of the

respondents responded positively. This


This fact highlights the importance of social media in tourism

industry. Moreover, in order to get more specific data, respondents were asked about the social

networking sites they use for travel related reasons. Thus, according to the results, Instagram

comes at thee first place with a rate of 95%,


95 Facebook second with a 71
71% percentage,

TripAdvisor third comprising 61%, YouTube fourth with a 36%


% rate, and other social

networking sites such as Pinterest, Wechat, and Airnb with a percentage


percentage of 22%. Accordingly,

Facebook
acebook and Instagram come at the first place. This may be attributed to the fact that these

social networking sites are the most commonly used by millions of users worldwide. In addition

27
to this, the results found advocate the findings of the study done by Facebook and which was

referred to in the literature review section, and which had found that 76% of US travelers use

Facebook for travel related activities. (Facebook Business, 2019).

The statistics discussed above are well presented in the following figure.

Figure 6: list of the most used social networking sites for travel related activities

60
56

50
42
40 36

30
21
20

10
1 1 1 1 1 1
0
Polish
Instagr Facebo Youtub TripAd couchs WeCha Pintere Google
Airnb travel
am ok e visor urfing t st Maps
blogs
Number of respondents 56 42 21 36 1 1 1 1 1 1
percentage 95% 71% 36% 61% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2%

I.2.3. Motivational factors behind visiting the region of Beni Mellal Khenifra

with regard to social media

In order to know what factors most influence travelers to visit Beni Mellal Khenifra region,

respondents were given a list of influencing factors to select from, and an alternative option to

add any other factors which are not listed there. Thus, 28% of the respondents said that they were

28
influenced by travel related content on Facebook, 53% of them stated that they were influenced

by travel related content on other social network platforms, 52% were influenced by their

friends, 8% were motivated by traditional media, 7% were influenced by their families, while

others added other factors such as the hotel where they were checking in, and another respondent

sorted Sygic travel online app as his motivational factor. A comprehensive presentation of these

statistics is provided in figure 7. In a word, if we had a look at figure 7 below, we notice that

nearly 52% of the respondents are influenced by their friends. Similarly, 53% are influenced by

travel related content on social media platforms. This reminds us of the study done by MDG

advertising which was referred to previously, and which had found that 50% of travelers who use

social media are affected by their friends’ photos on social platforms. Moreover, the same study

claimed that social media is where travelers are most likely to be exposed to new brands and

destinations content. This claim is advocated by the findings of our study since 53% of the

respondents were motivated by content that they saw on social platforms.

Figure 7: motivational factors behind visiting Beni Mellal Khenifra region

35 52% 53%
30
25
20 28%
15 31 32
10 7% 8% 17
5 2% 2% 2%
4 5
0 1 1
travel 1
travel
related
related Sygic
traditio content
content wattodo travel
friends family nal on other Hostel
on .ma online
media social
Facebo app
platfor
ok
ms
percentage 52% 7% 8% 28% 53% 2% 2% 2%
number of respondents 31 4 5 17 32 1 1 1

29
I.2.4. Facebook influence on travelers

In order to examine the influence of Facebook on travelers while considering a trip, respondents

were asked to state their degree of agreement with two statements: the first one claims that

shared photos and videos of a destination on Facebook attract them to visit this destination. And

the other claims that positive comments on Facebook about a destination influence their desire to

visit it. Thus, the results were positive for both statements as for the first one, 49.2% of them

strongly agreed, 34.4% agreed, 9.8% were neutral, 3.3% disagreed, and 3.3% strongly disagreed.

And for the second one, 41.7% strongly agreed, 36.7% agreed, 18.3% were neutral, 1.7%

disagreed, and 1.7% strongly disagreed. Thereupon, the first research question which

interrogated whether Facebook affects travelers’ decisions while considering a trip or not is

answered positively. Accordingly, the first hypothesis in which it was assumed that Facebook

significantly influences travelers’ destinations choice is confirmed.

The statistics given above are presented in graphs in the following figure 8.1 and 8.2

30
Figure 8.1: Shared photos
otos and videos on Facebook affect travelers’ decisions while

considering a trip

Degree of agreement
3% 3%

10%
49% Strongly agree
Agree

35% Neutral
Disagree
Strongly disagree

Figure 8.2: positive comments about


a a destination on Facebook affect travel
travelers’ desire to

visit it.

Degree of agreement
2% 2%

18%
41% Strongly agree
Agree
Neutral
37% Disagree
Strongly disagree

31
I.2.5. Respondents’ use of Facebook during their trips

In relation to the research question number one, respondents were asked whether they use

Facebook during their trips or not. Thus, 75% of them said that they do, and 25% said they don’t.

Moreover, those who answered positively were asked about the purposes for which they use

Facebook during their trips. Thereupon, according to the results, 73% of those who responded

positively said that they use it to post instant photos and videos, 58% use it to share their current

locations with their friends, 31% use it to search for destination’s information, 18% use it to

search for nearby accommodations such as hotels, restaurants, transportation, etc., while 7% use

it to compare prices, and similarly 7% use it to keep in touch with latest news and to chat with

their friends. These statistics are presented in figure 9.

In a word, we notice that Facebook is significantly used in tourism industry for different

purposes. This may be attributed to the different features that Facebook offers to its users.

Therefore, touristic organizations of Beni Mellal Khenifra should make use of these features by

setting up Facebook pages where they publish not only information about destinations, but also

about nearby accommodations so that they make it easier for travelers to access these services,

and consequently reach more customers.

32
Figure 9: Respondents’ use of Facebook during their trips.

Number of respondents Percentage


40
35 73%
30 58%
25
20
31% 33
15
26
10 18%
14 7% 7%
5 8
0 3 3
to post to search for
to share to read news
destination price instant nearby
location and chat
information comparing photos and accomodatio
with friends with friends
videos ns
Percentage 31% 7% 58% 73% 7% 18%
Number of respondents 14 3 26 33 3 8

I.2.6. Respondents’ use of Facebook after the trip

This section of the questionnaire sought to examine the respondents’ use of Facebook after the

trip. Additionally, it seeks to investigate the effect of respondents’ Facebook generated content

after their trip on their friends. In other words, it aims at highlighting whether Facebook is a

significant electronic word of mouth or not. In this regard, respondents were asked whether they

share their travel experience after the trip or not. As a result, 68% answered yes, 17% responded

no, and 15% said maybe. Accordingly, the results point out that the majority of travelers share

their experiences after the trip. Hence, this highlights the paramount role that Facebook can play

as an electronic word of mouth. This fact advocates Buhalis and Law (2008)’s thought which

claims that social media significantly impact travelers’ planning process through the user

generated content. Additionally, in order to determine the extent to which respondents’ after

trip’s shared content impacts their Facebook friends, the answerers who stated that they share

33
their travel experience on Facebook after the trip, were asked about their Facebook friends’

attitudes towards their travel experiences which they publish after their trips. As a result, 76% of

the respondents said that their friends just like their experience, 62% said that they show

curiosity about the destination they share, 52% said that their friends express their intention to try

the same experience, while only 4% said that their friends don’t interact with their shared

experience at all. (These results are demonstrated in figure 10). Thereupon, since 62% of

respondents’ friends show curiosity about the destination they share, and 52% express their

intention to try the same experiences of the respondents, we can say that Facebook is a

significant electronic word of mouth. Moreover, the results again advocate the study of MDG

advertising which claims that 50% of travelers who use Facebook are affected by their friends’

photos published on this social networking site.( (MDG advertising, 2018).

Eventually, the first research question which seeks to determine if Facebook affects travelers’

decisions while considering a trip or not is positively answered according to this study results

discussed above. And hence, the first research hypothesis is confirmed.

Figure 10: Respondents’ Facebook friends’ attitudes towards their shared experiences.

40
35
30
25
20 38
15 31
26
10
5 2
0
They show They express their
They just like my They don't interact
curiosity about the intention to try the
experience at all
destination same experience
number of respondents 38 31 26 2
percentage 76% 62% 52% 4%

34
I.3. The presence of Beni Mellal Khenifra’s tourism organizations on

Facebook

In order to examine the extent to which Beni Mellal Khenifra’s tourism organizations are present

on Facebook, respondents were asked two main questions; the first one concerns respondents’

exposition to travel related content generated by Beni Mellal Khenifra tourism organizations.

While the second one questions the respondents about the source of information from which they

got details about this region.

I.3.1. Respondents’ exposition to travel related content on Facebook generated

by Beni Mellal Khenifra tourism organizations

The respondents were asked a direct question whether they have ever been exposed to travel

related content which is generated by organizations of Beni Mellal Khenifra region or not.

Hence, the results point out that only 28% of the respondents have been exposed to such content,

while 72% stated that they have never encounter any travel related content which is generated by

these organizations. (These statistics are presented in a figure 11)

Accordingly, the second research hypothesis which assumes that Beni Mellal Khenifra’ tourism

organization are not sufficiently present on Facebook is confirmed. This fact may be attributed to

the lack of awareness of the importance of Facebook as an effective promotional tool.

35
Figure 11: respondents’ exposition to Facebook travel related content generated by Beni

Mellal Khenifra organizations

Number of respondents

28%

72% Have been exposed


Have never been exposed

I.3.2. Respondents’
ndents’ sources of information about touristic places in Beni Mellal

Khenifra.

In connection with the previous section, the respondents were asked about the sources from

which they have got information about Beni Mellal Khenifra.


Khenifra. Hence, the results were as follows:

50% of the respondents selected Instagram as their main source of information, 40% selected

TripAdvisor, 35% selected family and friends, 22% chose Facebook, 20% selected tour agencies,

6% said that they do research on Google, while 2% listed other


er sources. (The whole statistics are

provided in figure 12 below.

In the long run, we notice that the rate of Facebook as a source of information about Beni Mellal

khenifra is only 22%. This demonstrates that Beni Mellal Khenifra’s tourism organizations aare

not sufficiently present on Facebook. Consequently, the second research hypothesis is confirmed

36
again. Thus, in addition to the lack of awareness towards the importance of Facebook as a

promotional tool, this issue may be attributed also to the lack of knowledge about how to market

within Facebook, budgeting obstacles, and lack of training programs where travel tourism

organizations can learn about the incorporation of Facebook as a marketing tool.

Figure 12: respondents’ sources of information about Beni Mellal khenifra

35

30

25

20

15

10

0
A Riad Sygic
Family Tour Google GetYo
Facebo Instagr TripAd in Travel
/Friend agenci researc urGuid Flicker
ok am visor Marak Online
s es h e.com
esh App
percentage 35% 22% 50% 40% 20% 7% 2% 2% 2% 2%
number of respondents 21 13 30 24 12 4 1 1 1 1

I.3.3. Respondents’ perspective towards the effectiveness of Facebook as a

destination promotional tool

This section is aimed at drawing the attention of local travel organizations to the effectiveness of

Facebook as a promotional tool from travelers’ perspective. In this connection, the respondents

were asked to state their degree of agreement with the following statement: Facebook can be an

effective promotional tool for Beni Mellal Khenifra's tourism organizations. Hence, the results

were as follows; 35% o the travelers strongly agreed with the statement, 50% agreed, 11% were

37
neutral, 2% disagreed, and 2%
% strongly disagreed.(
disagreed.( These statistics are presented in figure 13

below).

Accordingly, it is clear that most of the respondents agreed that Facebook can be an effective

promotional tool. This may be attributed to the fact that Facebook is a worldwide social network

with millions of daily users. Therefore, travel organizations can reach more and more customers

every day if the incorporation of this social networking site is taken into account.

Figure 13: Facebook can be an effective promotional tool for Beni Mellal Khenifra's

tourism organizations

Respondents' degree of agreement with the


statement
2% 2%

11%
strongly agree
35%
agree

50% neutral
disagree
strongly disagree

I.3. 4. Most attracting things in Beni Mellal Khenifra according to the travelers

This section seeks to


o provide tourism organizations in Beni Mellal with the most appealing

things which attract travelers so that they can take these into account while marketing the

touristic places in this region. Thus, the results show that 93% of the visitors were attract
attracted by

38
the natural landscapes, 40% by the cultural assets, 38% by the weather, 17% by the Moroccan

food, while 5% were enchanted by the monkeys of Ouzoud waterfalls. (The statistics are

demonstrated in figure 14).

In a word, this section was done on purpose to serve as a recommendation for tourism

organizations of Beni Mellal Khenifra. In other words, this aims at drawing the attention of these

organizations to the factors that attract visitors to this region so that they consider them while

marketing their touristic products.

Figure 14: Beni Mellal Khenifra’s most attracting factors according to the respondents

60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Natural Cultral Monkeys
Weather Food
landscapes assets in Ouzoud
number of respondents 56 24 23 10 3
Percentage 93% 40% 38% 17% 5%

Conclusion

In this chapter, the researcher presented the findings in forms of graphs and figures.

Additionally, the interpretation and analysis of these findings were provided alongside the

description in order not to waste time. Moreover, the findings were categorized in three main

39
sections; the first one presented general information about the respondents including their age,

gender, country of residence, and frequency of travelling abroad. While the second section dealt

with respondents’ use and perception of social media in general and Facebook in particular in

travel related context. This was done as an attempt to answer the first research question as well

as to check the first research hypothesis which assumed that Facebook significantly influences

travelers’ destinations choice. Ultimately, the third section sought to answer the second research

question that is related to the extent to which Beni Mellal Khenifra tourism organizations are

present on Facebook.

40
Chapter3: General conclusion and recommendations

I. Summary

The main purpose of this paper was to study the extent to which Facebook can be used as a

tourism promotional tool in the region of Beni Mellal Khenifra. Hence, two main research

questions guided this study. Firstly, does Facebook affect travelers’ decisions while considering

a destination? Secondly, to what extent are Beni Mellal Khenifra’s tourism organizations present

on Facebook? Accordingly, in order to have a comprehensive idea about the topic of this study,

the researcher provided a review of literature about the different definitions and theories that

have to do with social media and tourism. Additionally, the researcher demonstrated the

methodology followed to conduct this research paper. In this regard, a descriptive research

design was used in the study. Besides, in order to gather quantitative data, a questionnaire which

targeted a population comprised from different travelers who have visited touristic places in Beni

Mellal Khenifra was designed and administered through Instagram and Facebook. The

questionnaire was sent to 250 travelers. However, only 60 people filled it in. Concerning the

analysis of the collected data, the researcher used Microsoft excel to calculate the different

numbers and percentages, as well as to make graphs and figures which present the findings of the

study.

The findings revealed that Facebook is respondents’ second most used social networking site for

travel related purposes with a percentage of 71%, while Instagram got the first place with 95%

rate. Thus, the first research hypothesis which assumes that Facebook significantly influences

travelers’ destinations choice was confirmed. On the other hand, the results pointed out that Beni

41
Mellal Khenifra’s tourism organizations are not sufficiently present on Facebook. This was

ratiocinated by the fact that 72% of the respondents have never been exposed to travel related

content generated by these organizations on Facebook. Additionally, only 22% of the

respondents said that Facebook is the source from which they had got information about this

region. Henceforth, this advocates and confirms the second research hypothesis which assumes

that Beni Mellal Khenifra’s tourism organizations are not sufficiently present on Facebook.

II. Recommendations

II.1. Recommendations for further research

The topic treated through this study is of a paramount importance. Thus, it needed sufficient time

to be well conducted. This was the thing the researcher lacked in this paper due to the constraints

of exams and preparations. Therefore, this research could be better if conducted earlier and had

enough time. Furthermore, because of the constraint of time, the research dealt with this study

from travelers’ perspective only. Additionally, since the questionnaire was administered online,

it was difficult to collect data because many travelers refused to fill in the questionnaire while

others didn’t see the messages at all. Henceforth, we recommend future researchers first to take

tourism organizations into account also so that the research would be comprehensive and second,

to visit touristic places to distribute the questionnaire so that they can get data from more people.

II.2. Special recommendations

Nowadays, the world has turned digital. Thus, the incorporation of the internet in general, social

media in particular in the world of marketing including destinations marketing has become a

necessity. In this regard, this study serves as a recommendation first for the government to not

42
only raise awareness towards the importance of these social networking platforms in tourism

industry, but also to provide tourism organizations with enough training about how to use these

platforms, and second, for tourism organizations of Beni Mellal Khenifra to make them

understand the business potential in social media so that they integrate these new technologies in

the destinations marketing process, and thus, target large numbers of customers. Henceforth, this

will not only boost the tourism industry in this region in particular, and in Morocco in general,

but also will have a great impact on the social and economical status of the country

43
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Appendix: questionnaire

The use of Facebook in The Promotion of Tourism in Beni Mellal Khenifra

Region (Moroccan region).

Dear participants,
This survey is a part of my Bachelor studies at the English department, Sultan Moulay Slimane
University. I'm conducting a study in the area of tourism. Therefore, in order to complete this study I'm
kindly inviting you to fill in this questionnaire. There are no right or wrong answers; you just need to
give your sincere responses. This questionnaire will take you approximately 5 minutes to fill in and all
your answers will be treated anonymously.
Thank you for your cooperation!

*Required

1. Gender *
Mark only one oval.

Female
Male
Prefer not to say

2. Age *
Mark only one oval.

Under 18
18-24
25-34
35-44
45-54
Over 54

3. Country of residence *

4. How often do you travel outside? *


Mark only one oval.

Once per year


Twice per year
3 times per year
More than 3 times per year

50
5. How often do you use Facebook? *
Mark only one oval.

Most frequently
Frequently
Occasionally
Rarely

6. Do you use social media for travel related purposes? *


Mark only one oval.

Yes
No

7. If yes, which of the following social networks do you use?


Tick all that apply.

Facebook
Instagram
YouTube
TripAdvisor

Other :

8. What did most attract you to visit Beni Mellal Khenifra region? *
Tick all that apply.

Weather
Natural landscapes
Cultural assets
Food

Other:

9. What did most influence you to visit this region? *


Tick all that apply.

Family
Friends
Traditional media
Travel-related content on Facebook
Travel-related content on other social platforms

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Other:

10. Please indicate your agreement with the following statement: Shared photos and videos of a
destination on Facebook attract me to visit it. *
Mark only one oval.

Strongly agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly disagree

11. Please indicate your agreement with the following statement: positive comments on Facebook
about a destination influence my desire to visit it *
Mark only one oval.

Strongly agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly disagree

12. Where did you get information about touristic places in Beni Mellal Khenifra region from? *
Tick all that apply.

Family/Friends
Facebook
Instagram
TripAdvisor
Tour agencies

Other:

13. Do you use Facebook during your trip? *


Mark only one oval.

Yes
No

14. If yes, for what purposes?


Tick all that apply.

Destination information

52
Price comparing
To search for nearby accommodations (Transportation, restaurants, hotels,...)
To share my location with friends
To post instant pictures and videos

Other:

15. After your trip, do you share your travel experience on Facebook? *
Mark only one oval.

Yes
No
Maybe

16. If yes, how do your Facebook friends interact with your shared content about the destination?
Tick all that apply.

They just like your experience


They show a kind of curiosity about the destination
They express their intention to try the same experience
They interact negatively

They don't interact at all

Other:

17. Have you ever been exposed to travel related content on Facebook generated by tourism
organizations of Beni Mellal khenifra
kheni region? *
Mark only one oval.

Yes
No

18. Please indicate your agreement with the following statement: Facebook can be an effective
promotional tool for Beni Mellal Khenifra's tourism organisations *
Mark only one oval.

Strongly agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly disagree

Thank you so much for your cooperation


Powered by

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List of figures

Figure 1: Gender distribution of the respondents………………………………………………..31

Figure 2: Age demographic of the respondents………………………………………………….32

Figure 3: Country of residence of the respondents……………………………………………....33

Figure 4: Frequency of travelling abroad………………………………………………………...34

Figure 5: Frequency of Facebook use by the respondents…………………………………….....35

Figure 6: list of the most used social networking sites for travel related activities………...........36

Figure 7: motivational factors behind visiting Beni Mellal Khenifra region…………….............37

Figure 8.1: Shared photos and videos on Facebook affect travelers’ decisions while considering a
trip………………………………………………………………………………………………..39

Figure 8.2: positive comments about a destination on Facebook affect travelers’ desire to visit
it………………………………………………………………………………………………….39

Figure 9: Respondents’ use of Facebook during their trips……………………………………...41

Figure 10: Respondents’ Facebook friends’ attitudes towards their shared experiences………..42

Figure 11: respondents’ exposition to Facebook travel related content generated by Beni Mellal
Khenifra organizations………………………………………………………………………...…44

Figure 12: respondents’ sources of information about Beni Mellal khenifra……………………45

Figure 13: Facebook can be an effective promotional tool for Beni Mellal Khenifra's tourism
organizations……………………………………………………………………………………..46

Figure 14: Beni Mellal Khenifra’s most attracting factors according to the respondents……….47

54