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TOURIST MOTIVATION AND SATISFACTION:

THE CASE STUDY OF TRANG PROVINCE, THAILAND


Wipada Thaothampitak1, Naree Weerakit2
1
Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism, Prince of Songkla University, wipada82@hotmail.com
2
Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism, Prince of Songkla University, naree@phuket.psu.ac.th

Abstract
This study aimed to investigate tourist motivation and satisfaction in Trang province,
Thailand. The target population of this study was tourists who traveled to Trang. Onsite survey
was conducted with convenience sampling method. This study found that “trying new food” was
the most important factor with respect to all the push factors, followed by “being physically
active” and “seeing as much as possible” whereas “reliable weather” was the most important factor
among all the pull factors, followed by “outstanding scenery” and “visiting natural attractions.
Additionally, “a variety of natural attractions” was considered to be the highest with respect to
satisfaction, followed by “a peaceful and restful atmosphere” and “security and safety”.
Furthermore, “ease of communication in your own language”, “friendliness of people”, “overall
value for money”, and a “peaceful and restful atmosphere” were strong indicators that tourists
intended to revisit Trang. The results of this study will have significant implications for destination
competitiveness and the type of product development and marketing that is undertaken to attract
tourists to Trang. Once the destination has identified the primary motivators that boost travel
demand, generate high satisfaction and an intention to return from both Thai and international
tourists, the destination is in a far stronger position to develop appropriate travel products and to
market these products and the images associated with them in a manner that maximizes the
destination’s appeal in targeted market.

Keywords: Motivation, Satisfaction, Tourist behavior, Intention to Return, Trang

1. Introduction Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi Museum) but


Thailand has been promoted as a tourist also a variety of festivals (e.g. Cake Festival,
destination for many decades, the result of this Roast Pork Festival, and Underwater Wedding
action being that Thailand is notorious and Ceremony). Trang has been promoted as a
visited by many tourists. One of Thailand’s tourist destination for many years, however,
biggest sources of income is tourism, and compared with Phuket, Phang-Nga, and Krabi,
perhaps this is one reason why Thailand is so (located on the same coastline, the Andaman
well known around the world ([1]). Tourism Sea), Trang is the least focused and least
contributes approximately 928,199 million baht successful in terms of revenue generated from
to the Thai economy ([2]). the tourism sector. Even though Trang has both
In the southern part of Thailand, Trang natural and cultural attractions, famous
is a coastal province which has a long, festivals and interesting activities, the number
beautiful coastline stretching along the Indian of tourists who traveled to Trang in 2006, were
Ocean. Trang has not only natural attractions in total 726,373: 656,007 Thai and 70,366
(e.g. Muk Island - Emerald Cave, Pak Meng foreign tourists, compared to 1,616,545 Thai
Beach, and Le Cave) and cultural attractions and 2,882,779 foreign tourists who traveled to
(Sino - Portuguese architecture, and Phraya Phuket in that same year. Psychology and
knowledge of tourists is crucial in determining destination. These destination attributes may
the success of any tourist destination. stimulate and reinforce inherent push
Unfortunately, current tourism literature has motivations ([6]). Prior researches are
mostly concentrated on reports about tourist generally accepted that push and pull
motivation and satisfaction in other motivations have been primarily utilized in
destinations and not in Trang. Therefore, the studies of tourist behavior ([7], [8]).
object of this study is to investigate tourist To market tourism services and
motivation and satisfaction in the Trang destinations well, marketers must understand
province. For this paper, researcher focused on: the motivating factors that lead to travel
(1) to identify tourist motivation and decisions and consumption behavior.
satisfaction with traveling to Trang, (2) to Motivation is only one of many variables (e.g.
investigate the relationship between pull perceptions, learning, and cultural condition)
motivation and satisfaction, and (3) to assess that may contribute to explain tourist behavior.
the relationship between satisfaction and It is an important variable because it is the
intention to return. driving force behind all behavior. In other
word, effective tourism marketing is
impossible without an understanding of
consumers’ motivations ([9]).
2. Literature Review
“Safety and fun”, “escape”, “knowledge
2.1 Tourist Motivation
and education”, and “achievement” were
Motivation is “the need that drives an
perceived respectively as important factors in
individual to act in a certain way to achieve the
push travel motivation whereas “cleanliness
desired satisfaction” ([3]). A review of
and shopping”, “reliable weather and safety”,
literature on tourist motivations indicates that
“different culture”, and “water activities” were
the motivation concept can be classified into
considered as important factors in pull travel
two forces which indicate that people travel
motivation ([10]). Additionally, the main
because they are pushed and pulled to do so by
motivators of the domestic traveler who visited
‘some forces’ or factors ([4]). These forces
Sabah in Malaysia were nature, followed by
describe how individuals are pushed by
friendliness, sea/island/beach, seafood
motivation variables into making travel
restaurant, culture, airline accessibility, safety,
decision and how they are pulled or attracted
adventure, accommodation and finally airport
by destination attributes ([5]). The push
facilities ([11]).
motivations are associated to the tourists’
desire whereas pull motivations are related
2.2 Tourist Satisfaction
with the attributes of the destination choices.
Satisfaction is a “tourist’s post-purchase
Additionally, push motivations are more
evaluation of the overall service experience
connected to internal or emotional aspects
(process and outcome)” ([12]). Without doubt,
while pull motivations are linked to external,
satisfaction has been playing an important role
situational, or cognitive aspects.
in planning tourism products and services.
The idea of the push - pull model is the
Tourist satisfaction is important to successful
disintegration of tourist’s choice of destination
destination marketing because it influences the
into two forces. The first force is pushes a
choice of destination, the consumption of
tourist away, it attempts to model the general
products and services, and the decision to
desire to go and be somewhere else, without
return ([13]).
specifying where that may be. The second
In tourism context, it is useful to
force is pulls a tourist towards a destination.
understand how motivation actually occurs and
This aspect comprises tangible characteristics
how those needs may be satisfied. Travel
or attributes of a destination that are primarily
satisfaction has been generally used as an
related to the perceived attractiveness of a
assessment tool for the evaluation of travel
experiences, products and services offered at 4. Results
the destination ([14], [15], [16]). Besides, The Demographic Profile of
satisfaction was described as the tourist’s Respondents
emotional state after experiencing the trip The demographic information of
([17]). Tourists express satisfaction or respondents was shown in Table 1. There were
dissatisfaction after they buy tourism products 194 (48.5%) males and 206 (51.5%) females.
and services ([18]). If tourists are satisfied with In term of age, 59.8% were in the ages of 25-
the products or service, then they will have the 44, 27% were in the ages of over 45, and
motivation to buy them again or they will 13.3% were in the age of below 25. The marital
recommend them to their friends. Then, status of the respondents was married (50.5%),
tourists’ satisfaction is a strong indicator of followed by single (44.3%), and divorced/
their intentions to revisit and recommend the widowed (5.3%). Educations of the participants
destination to other people. Additionally, it is were undergraduate (53.3%), diploma (24%),
generally believed that satisfaction leads to postgraduate or higher (16.8%), and school
repeat purchase and positive word of mouth certificate (6%). 75% of the respondents were
recommendation. Tourist’ positive experiences Thai, 12% were European, 8.5% were Asian,
of services, products, and other resources and 4.5 were American. In term of occupation,
which provided by tourism destinations could they were employee (48.3%), entrepreneur
produce repeat visits same as positive word of (16.8%), student (9.8%), and other (e.g.
mouth effects to such as relatives and/or friends housewife, retired, and unemployed) (25.3%).
([19]). Recommendations to other are also one
of the most often required types of information Table 1
for people interested in traveling ([10]). The Demographic Profile of Respondents
greatest effect on overall satisfaction was Demographic
hospitality, followed by accommodation, Items F %
data
service quality, food quality, and convenience Gender Male 194 48.5
([20]). Female 206 51.5
Age Under 25 years 53 13.3
25-34 years 138 34.5
35-44 years 101 25.3
3. Research Methodology 45-54 years 68 17.0
The target population of this study was 55-64 years 26 6.5
both Thai and foreign tourists who traveled to Over 65 years 14 3.5
Trang province. Yamane formula was applied Marital status Single 177 44.3
for this study, the sample size is 400. Married 202 50.5
Convenience sampling was applied. The pilot Divorced / 21 5.3
test with 20 tourists was conducted onsite of Widowed
destination. The questionnaire was initially Education School 24 6.0
developed in two languages: Thai and English certificate
version. A questionnaire consists of three Diploma 96 24.0
Undergraduate 213 53.3
sections: tourist demographics, tourist
Postgraduate or 67 16.8
motivation (a five point Likert - type scale higher
from (1) very unimportant to (5) very Nationality Thai 300 75.0
important was used), tourist satisfaction American 18 4.5
(ranging from (1) very dissatisfied to (5) very European 48 12.0
satisfied). Asian 34 8.5
Occupation Student 39 9.8
Entrepreneur 67 16.8
Employee 193 48.3
Other 101 25.3
Means Ranking of Motivation Table 3
Variables Mean Ranking of Pull Factors
Pull factors Mean Rank
1) Push factors Reliable weather 4.23 1
From Table 2, Trang respondents Outstanding scenery 4.18 2
perceived “trying new food” was the most Visiting natural attractions 4.05 3
important among all push factors (Mean = Variety of activities to see 3.99 4
Inexpensive restaurants 3.82 5
3.96), followed by “being physically active”
Interesting and friendly local
(Mean = 3.89), “seeing as much as possible” people
3.79 6
(Mean = 3.73), “feeling safe and secure to Local cuisine 3.69 7
travel” (Mean = 3.70), and “experiencing Cleanliness 3.26 8
new/different lifestyle” (Mean = 3.64). Different culture 3.24 9
Shopping 3.18 10
Table 2 Visiting friends and relatives 2.86 11
Mean Ranking of Push Factors Visiting historical places 2.69 12
Push factors Mean Rank Nightlife and entertainment 2.15 13
Trying new food 3.96 1 Note: Importance ranking was based on mean
Being physically active 3.89 2 scores measured on a Likert-type scale from
Seeing as much as possible 3.73 3 very unimportant (1) to very important (5).
Feeling safe and secure to
3.70 4
travel Table 4
Experiencing new/different Mean Ranking of Satisfaction Attributes
3.64 5
lifestyles
Satisfaction attributes Mean Rank
Meeting new people 3.48 6
Variety of natural attractions 4.26 1
Being free to act how I feel 3.46 7
Peaceful and restful atmosphere 4.14 2
Being entertained and having
3.39 8 Security and safety 4.10 3
fun
Friendliness of people 3.96 4
Getting a change from a busy
3.34 9 Quality of food and beverage 3.81 5
job
Variety of food and beverage 3.68 6
Being together as a family 3.22 10
Overall value of money 3.68 7
Rediscovering myself 3.02 11
Price of food and beverage 3.63 8
Going places friends have not
2.86 12 Quality of restaurant 3.58 9
been
Quality standard of
Doing nothing at all 2.64 13 3.56 10
accommodation
Rediscovering past good times 2.60 14
Wide selection of
Note: Importance ranking was based on mean 3.52 11
restaurant/cuisine
scores measured on a Likert-type scale from Price of accommodation 3.43 12
very unimportant (1) to very important (5). Cleanliness 3.32 13
Easy to access tourist
3.31 14
2) Pull Factors destinations
From Table 3, among the pull factors, Reasonable price of sightseeing 3.30 15
“reliable weather” was the most important Wide choice of accommodation 3.30 16
factor for Trang respondents (Mean = 4.23), Ease of communication in your
3.12 17
followed by “outstanding scenery” (Mean = language
Variety of historic/cultural sites 2.80 18
4.18), “visiting natural attractions” (Mean =
4.05), “variety of activities to see” (Mean = Note: Satisfaction ranking was based on mean
3.99), and “inexpensive restaurants” (Mean = scores measured on a Likert-type scale from
3.82). very dissatisfied (1) to very satisfied (5).
Mean Ranking of Satisfaction historical places”, “visiting natural attractions”,
Attributes “visiting friends and relatives”, “outstanding
Table 4 illustrated the mean ranking of scenery”, and “shopping” factors were strong
satisfaction attributes. The most satisfactory indicators of tourists’ overall satisfaction with
attribute was the “variety of natural attractions” their traveling Trang. The “outstanding
(Mean = 4.26). Moreover, Trang respondents scenery” and “visiting friends and relatives”
were satisfied with “peaceful and restful had the greatest impact on the overall
atmosphere” (Mean = 4.14), “security and satisfaction, followed by “visiting historical
safety” (Mean = 4.10), “friendliness of people” places”, “shopping”, and “visiting natural
(Mean = 3.96), and “quality of food and attractions”. It can be suggested that the overall
beverage” (Mean = 3.81). In contrast, “easy to satisfaction with their trip will be increased
access tourist destinations” (Mean = 3.31), when tourists are satisfied with these five
“reasonable price of sightseeing” (Mean = factors. But “variety of activities to see”,
3.30), a “wide choice of accommodation” “reliable weather”, “different culture”,
(Mean = 3.30), “ease of communication in your “interesting and friendly local people”, “local
language” (Mean = 3.12) and “variety of cuisine”, “inexpensive restaurants”,
historic/cultural sites” (Mean = 2.80) were “cleanliness”, and “nightlife and
perceived as being the least satisfactory entertainment” did not have any impact on their
attribute for Trang respondents. overall satisfaction.

Post-Trip Behavior Table 6


As shown in table 5, Trang respondents Factors Affecting Respondents’
perceived “overall satisfaction” being most Overall Satisfaction
satisfactory (Mean = 3.85). Moreover, Trang Independent t- p-
Beta
respondents perceived that “intention to return” variables value value
was likely (Mean = 4.05) Lastly, Trang Visiting historical
0.152 3.109 0.002*
respondents would recommend the destination places
to others (Mean = 4.17). Visiting natural
0.107 2.341 0.020*
attractions
Visiting friends
Table 5 and relatives
0.216 4.631 0.000*
Post-Trip Behavior Variety of
Post-Trip Behavior Mean SD 0.063 1.340 0.181
activities to see
Overall satisfaction 3.85 0.65 Reliable weather 0.065 1.217 0.224
Intention to return 4.05 0.85 Outstanding
Recommendation to others 4.17 0.68 0.184 3.984 0.000*
scenery
Notes: Overall satisfaction ranking was based Different culture 0.003 0.061 0.951
on mean scores from 1 to 5 (1 = very Interesting and
dissatisfied to 5 = very satisfied), intention to friendly local 0.021 0.432 0.666
return was based on mean scores from 1 to 5 (1 people
= unlikely to 5 = very likely), and Local cuisine 0.057 1.178 0.239
recommendation to other was based on mean Inexpensive
0.046 0.973 0.331
scores from 1 to 5 (1 = strongly not restaurants
Cleanliness 0.069 1.308 0.192
recommend to 5 = strongly recommend).
Shopping 0.132 2.664 0.008*
Nightlife and
Results of Regression Analysis 0.101 1.940 0.053
entertainment
between Pull Motivation and Overall Notes: Dependent variable: overall satisfaction,
Satisfaction R2 = 0.212, F = 22.525, and * indicates
Table 6 gave the results of the analysis statically significant difference between groups
to explain overall satisfaction. The “visiting
Results of Regression Analysis tourist’s intention to return to Trang. The “ease
between Satisfaction and Intention to of communication in your language” had the
Return strongest impact on the intention to return, and
Table 7 “friendliness of people”, “overall value of
Factors Affecting Respondents’ money”, and “peaceful and restful atmosphere”
Intention to Return came next. This suggested that the probability
Independent t- p- to return will be increased significantly when
Beta
variables value value tourists are satisfied with these four attributes.
Quality standard of
0.017 0.358 0.720
accommodation
Quality of restaurant -0.049 -1.012 0.312 CONCLUSION
Quality of food and
0.033 0.729 0.467 This study found that “trying new food”
beverage
Price of
was the most important factor with respect to
-0.025 -0.550 0.582 all the push factors. This was followed by
accommodation
Price of food and “being physically active”, “seeing as much as
0.017 0.358 0.720 possible”, “feeling safe and secure to travel”,
beverage
Wide choice of and “experiencing new/different lifestyles”.
-0.062 -1.252 0.211
accommodation “Reliable weather” was the most important
Wide selection of factor among all the pull factors, followed by
-0.084 -1.688 0.092
restaurant/cuisine “outstanding scenery”, “visiting natural
Variety of food and attractions”, “a variety of activities to see”, and
-0.021 -0.443 0.658
beverage “inexpensive restaurants”.
Variety of natural
0.022 0.441 0.659 In addition, “a variety of natural
attractions
Variety of
attractions” was considered to be the highest
-0.048 -1.023 0.307 with respect to satisfaction, followed by “a
historic/cultural sites
Reasonable price of peaceful and restful atmosphere”, “security and
-0.022 -0.492 0.623 safety”, “the friendliness of people”, and “the
sightseeing
Peaceful and restful quality of food and beverage”. Additionally,
0.103 2.064 0.040*
atmosphere “outstanding scenery”, “visiting friends and
Cleanliness -0.039 -0.769 0.442 relatives”, “visiting historical places”,
Security and safety 0.022 0.432 0.666 “shopping”, and “visiting natural attractions”
Friendliness of were strong indicators of the overall
0.138 2.846 0.005*
people satisfaction of tourists who travel to Trang.
Ease of
Furthermore, “ease of communication in your
communication in 0.329 7.007 0.000*
your language
own language”, “friendliness of people”,
Easy to access “overall value for money”, and a “peaceful and
-0.059 -1.116 0.265 restful atmosphere” were strong indicators that
tourist destinations
Overall value of tourists intended to revisit Trang.
0.128 2.660 0.008*
money
Notes: Dependent variable: intention to return,
R2 = 0.205, F = 26.717, and * indicates DISCUSSION
statically significant difference between groups The results of this study confirm
previous research, especially Yoon and Uysal
The results in table 7 were shown that (2005), Chan and Chang (2003). The
“peaceful and restful atmosphere”, motivators that pushed tourists away from their
“friendliness of people”, “ease of home were “feeling safe and secure to travel”,
communication in your language”, and “overall “meeting new people”, “seeing as much as
value of money” was strong indicators for a possible”, and “being physically active”
whereas the motivation which attracted tourists
to visit were “reliable weather”, “different Authority of Thailand (TAT), local governor,
culture”, and “visiting natural attractions”. The and private sectors should be concerned about
reason for this may be that the average natural resource conservation so as to preserve
temperature of Trang is from 20-36 Celsius all the natural resources for sustainable tourism.
year round. The best time to visit Trang is from This could be one of the most important factors
December to May, it is not the monsoon to attract tourists to visit Trang. In addition, the
season, so tourists prefer to visit Trang in this Tourism Board should create an appropriate
period. Moreover, Trang has a variety of tourism policy, support private operators, and
natural attractions which are beautiful and consider capacity at tourist attractions to
peaceful. On the other hand, not surprisingly, preserve the natural environment.
“visiting historical places” and “nightlife and Furthermore, this study found that
entertainment” were not important factors to visiting historical sites was not perceived as a
pull tourists to visit Trang. Trang is famous for pull motivator to visit Trang. In fact, there are
its natural attractions and festivals, not many cultural attractions in Trang such as
historical/cultural sites. Additionally, there is Sino-Portuguese architecture, Khao Sam Bat
very little nightlife and entertainment activity Cave, and Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahison
in Trang. Phakdi Museum. Additionally, visiting
Yuksel (2001) found that the greatest historical sites played an important role in a
effect on overall satisfaction was hospitality, visitor’s overall satisfaction. Historical places
followed by accommodation, service quality, might attract more tourists especially
food quality, and convenience. In contrast, this international tourists from western cultures, so
study found that “outstanding scenery”, the local governor and tour operators should
“visiting friends and relatives”, “visiting not only promote natural attractions and
historical places”, “shopping”, and “visiting festivals but also historical/cultural sites. This
natural attractions” were indicators for tourist’s action may well attract more visitors to Trang
overall satisfaction when traveling to Trang. province.
This suggests that the overall satisfaction for Moreover, the Tourism Authority of
Trang visitors is increased when tourists are Thailand (TAT), local governor, and private
satisfied with these five factors. Besides, “ease sectors should pay serious attention on crucial
of communication in your language”, problems that occur in Trang i.e. cleanliness of
“friendliness of people”, “overall value of tourist attractions, the English skill of the staff,
money”, and “peaceful and restful atmosphere” the price of sightseeing and accommodation,
were strong indicators that tourists’ intended to variety of accommodation, and tourist
revisit Trang. This suggests that the probability destination accessibility. To solve these
for tourists to return to Trang will be increased problems the Tourism Authority of Thailand
when they are satisfied with these four (TAT), local governor, and private sectors
attributes. should follow these suggestions:-
Cleanliness: The Tourism Authority
of Thailand (TAT), local governor, and private
RECOMMENDATION sectors should encourage local people and
As mentioned previously, the results tourists to participate in taking care of the
show that the most important push factor for environment. Additionally, they should provide
Trang tourists was trying new food, so the more garbage and clean toilet facilities at
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), local tourist attractions.
governor, and private sectors are correct to The English skill of staff: They
promote the cuisine festival. Additionally, should improve the English skill of staff.
outstanding scenery and visiting natural Institutions in Trang should provide better
attractions were important factors to attract training in English and courses directed at the
tourists to Trang. Subsequently, the Tourism tourist industry so as to improve the language
skills of the staff who work in the field of a manner that maximize the destination’s
tourism. This will make it better to appeal in targeted market.
communicate between staff and tourists.
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